Friday, April 5, 2013

Game Design: The Evolution of Elizabeth's powers

When a game has as long of a development cycle for Elizabeth, we can see how she evolves.  From
To This:
To the end result, this:
In addition, We also watch her evolve with her powers.

She started off as telekinesis:
then she grows more powerful by creating things out of thin air:
Later on, they introduce the tear idea,  but have it include allies and the horse scene.  (Neither of which happen in game)
And then her in the final game, where tears are to an alternate reality, but are in black and white. (No gameplay due to spoilers)

It's interesting to see how much has changed.  The tears are a nice touch, and help make the game more interesting.  The telekinesis version probably comes from the "Techie vs luddites" version of the game which was scrapped for not being interesting enough.  It is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure you can extend the idea throughout the game.  You could put in elements of notoriously depressing Cyberpunk, but there shouldn't have been much in 1912 US. 

The tears themselves are more interesting.  While they accomplish the same fact as the "Creation from their air" Aspect of Elizabeth's powers, it instead gives her a distinct otherwordly (Literally) quality.  Especially because not everything from Columbia that exists in that world is from that world. It also turns her from a "Mysterious Waif" (think Namine from Kingdom Hearts) to a expertly limited powerhouse.  Instead of explaining why Elizabeth can't summon thunderclouds each time you get into a fight,   they basically just say "She's accessing an alternate reality where there was a water puddle there and nothing else."  Which does make more sense, especially with a comment early on where she explains most realities she looks into are the same as our own, with very minor exceptions.  (One example she gives is the cup has coffee instead of tea.)

Some of the realities do lead to interesting complications.  (for example, a plot important building has a freight hook in it in an alternate reality.  It could be in a different place, or the building may not exist.)  but the idea gives a definite shape, control, and limit to her powers and prevents excessive wondering about why things aren't there and keeps the game from breaking wide open.

 (In all seriousness,  if you could access a reality where you could summon Subject Delta, Eleanor Lamb, and Jack Ryan at the same time, you would.  The game would have to come up with an idea why you couldn't and... yeah.)

So, as I head off to finish the game and deal with, er, the subtle and excessive foreshadowing.  (Seriously, I checked the Bioshock Wiki on what I thought was a minor character only to read a rather spoilery sentence.  ugh.)  I leave you with watching how our  Elizabeth grew up. 

No comments:

Post a Comment