Ken Levine Discusses Game Design With Amy Hennig

Irrational Games boss and BioShock Infinite creative director Ken Levine has discussed game design with Uncharted writer, Amy Hennig, via an in-depth podcast.

The long conversation between the BioShock creator and Uncharted creative director discussed a variety of intriguing aspects pertaining to game design with another Irrational interview.

"How does a writer create a complex narrative for a big budget video game? How does one drive the creative process of a large, intricate game development team? In this episode of Irrational Interviews, listen in while Ken Levine — Irrational Games’ own Creative Director and writer – has a reflective conversation with Amy about the unique challenges they both face in their individual, yet strikingly similar roles," said the website.

The focus of the conversation is the writer’s process. "It’s not the way films are made," says Amy. "I’ve described this to friends of mine who are screenwriters, and they just think we’re insane." The two also dig into their personal process — the act of faith involved in embarking on the journey of writing for a game. As Ken says, "Part of that act of faith is the faith that you have to put in yourself."

Also discussed in the interview is the challenge of managing "complicated production realities while maintaining the flexibility to take creative risks".

"We just sort of loosely plan what we’re doing, because that’s the best you can do with something that’s as iterative and experimental as what we do," explained Hemmig. "We adapt, and we trust each other’s experience – to know that we’re going to make the wisest, most pragmatic decisions we can, while still trying to keep the quality of the product and stay inspired."

One segment from the discussion which particularly stood out for me was the writers stating "there's no such thing as a great game idea" - it's all about execution.

Levine's BioShock Infinite is due for a release on October 16th in North America and 19th in Europe. Hemmig's team at Naughty Dog, meanwhile, are working on PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last of Us, which remains undated.