Political Themes in BioShock Infinite Mirror OWS, Tea Party

October 28, 2011 -

Irrational Games’ creative director Ken Levine spoke to the Washington Post recently about the political themes behind the game and how the two opposing factions in the game share similarities with real-world movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. While there are similarities it should be noted that these groups didn't exist when Levine and company started working on the third BioShock title.

In BioShock Infinite a fight has erupted between two factions: the Founders and the group Vox Populi. Levine claims that the Vox Populi is based loosely on the Baader-Meinhof Group, a left-leaning German student movement that devolved into extremism in the mid-1970s to become the RAF (Red Army Faction).

“I initially based the Vox Populi on this German student movement, the Baader-Meinhof Group. I’ve been looking at how people evolve into extremism: They start in a peaceful, understandable place and end up somewhere very different,” said Levine.

“What’s really interesting, what’s most interesting to me, is how the movements reflect movements that have come before. That’s either reassuring or concerning when you look at what’s going on now. Some of those movements, dating back to the French Revolution, have had similar complaints to what Occupy Wall Street has. It’s interesting to watch how they evolve. They tend to reflect each other, and for the game you can look at what’s happening in real time, but you really see what could be happening in the future by looking at history.”

Levine notes that some of the problems the Occupy Wall Street protesters are facing are similar to the core problems with Vox Populi. The main problem, he says, is messaging:

“I’ve been spending a lot of time watching Occupy Wall Street. The complaint is that they don’t have a consistent message. You can watch that, and this is a challenge I’ve had writing [the Vox Populi]. Leftist movements are always less organized. There’s a messaging machine on the right, where they’ll come up with something and the next day you have 10, 20 people out on the news using those points,” he explained.

“Leftist groups tend not to like authority; nobody in them tends to listen to it. So Occupy Wall Street has been helping me because I’ve been struggling to figure out how the Vox Populi get to the point in the demo. Throughout the game, you’re actually watching them — you see in the beginning of the game that they’re a dead movement and a movement that really fails, and it picks up steam based upon your actions.”

Levine says that he prefers the gray areas between the two ideologies in the game.

“So I start [Vox Populi leader] Daisy Fitzroy and [Founder leader] Comstock on opposite ends of the spectrum. Maybe that’s what the study of these movements is: The movement becomes about the ideology and not about reality. The reality starts to change, and it becomes that people would rather give up reality than ideology.”

“From where I sit, people think it has to be one or the other and there’s no middle ground. Personally, that tends to scare me,” he continued. “What’s the point of having something that’s about people shutting down ideologically, intellectually? People are using these movements to pose questions. If you look at Occupy Wall Street, it’s opened up dialogue, and you can say the same about the tea party. Hopefully, they don’t become extensions of parties, they will open up the conversation.”

Source: IndustryGamers


Comments

Re: Political Themes in BioShock Infinite Mirror OWS, Tea Party

Founders > Vox Populi. Definitely.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which Feminist Frequency video are you looking forward to most?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
MechaTama31Goth_Skunk: It's not too late for CiVIlization... ;)01/28/2015 - 12:40am
MechaCrashI thought one of its other big issues was all the "quality" of phone games with all the portability of your television.01/27/2015 - 11:34pm
E. Zachary KnightApparently, people did not want a $100 console, they wanted a $200 one for a $100 price tag.01/27/2015 - 11:18pm
E. Zachary KnightI remember when people were demanding Ouya used the new and untested Tegra 4 processor rather than the tried and true Tegra 3, increase the RAM to 2Gigs and various other expensive addons.01/27/2015 - 11:17pm
ConsterCraig: perhaps I should've used the word "unreasonable", as in people clamoring for stretch goals that would guarantee they lose money on each deck.01/27/2015 - 10:04pm
Andrew EisenIt's my favorite movie. I'm looking forward to it as well.01/27/2015 - 9:16pm
Goth_SkunkI grew up idolizing Ghostbusters. I'm extremely excited to see another film.01/27/2015 - 8:52pm
Goth_SkunkEscapist -- via Hollywood reporter -- gives us a glimpse at the probable cast of the new Ghostbuster's movie: http://ow.ly/I3GyZ01/27/2015 - 8:51pm
Craig R.Nearly $4.2m in a week for Exploding Kittens. Can anything truly be unrealistic at this point?01/27/2015 - 8:50pm
prh99I am sure. Just have no interest in tropes in general or her take on gender portrayal.01/27/2015 - 7:44pm
Goth_SkunkI personally enjoy replacing letters with numbers in titles of movies and games. I think Firaxis missed out on a huge chuckle by calling it "Civilization V" and not "CiVilization."01/27/2015 - 7:20pm
Andrew EisenI bet I can guess how you voted!01/27/2015 - 7:02pm
prh99Never actually watched one, probably won't start.01/27/2015 - 6:15pm
E. Zachary KnightConster, when are unrealistic stretch goal demands anything new? They happen in every Kickstarter I have seen.01/27/2015 - 5:58pm
E. Zachary KnightAE: You forgot the "The video that conforms to my preconceived ideas about gender in games" option.01/27/2015 - 5:56pm
PHX Corp@Conster ok, randomly put 5 golden tickets into the boxes and anyone who gets a golden ticket gets to go and visit Willy Wonka's chocolate factory!, is a ultra-ridiculous stretch goal suggested by a backer01/27/2015 - 5:53pm
ConsterApparently they're unaware that unlike with video games, card games have a large constant factor in cost-per-unit.01/27/2015 - 5:24pm
ConsterIn other news, Exploding Kittens (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/elanlee/exploding-kittens) has over 100k backers now, a few of which are calling for unrealistic stretch goals.01/27/2015 - 5:23pm
ConsterIt's cool in Numb3rs, but not really anywhere else.01/27/2015 - 5:20pm
james_fudgeI hate that style of naming too01/27/2015 - 4:34pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician