If you glance over the reviews for the first Bioshock, it’s easy to see a lot of people liked it. And, as often happens with critical darlings, the gaming community as a whole developed a possessive view of the game. Bioshock was viewed by many as our game, made for us, and not the casual consumer. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that negative reactions started popping up in regard to the game’s boxart.
Many criticized it as generic, lazy, and as possibly unrepresentative of the game as a whole. After a week of this talk, creative director of Bioshock Infinite Ken Levine explained in an interview with Wired magazine that the box art isn’t for you, it’s for the uninformed.
Levine talks of tours the team undertook, interviewing various groups of people at frat houses and the like, to see what non-enthusiasts knew of Bioshock. Results showed that most didn’t even know what Bioshock was, let alone that a new entry in the series was forthcoming. He then makes the jump to salad dressing, in an attempt to differentiate the enthusiast from the average consumer.
Our gaming world, we sometimes forget, is so important to us, but… there are plenty of products that I buy that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. My salad dressing. If there’s a new salad dressing coming out, I would have no idea. I use salad dressing; I don’t read Salad Dressing Weekly. I don’t care who makes it, I don’t know any of the personalities in the salad dressing business. For some people, [games are] like salad dressing. Or movies, or TV shows. It was definitely a reality check for us.
So, long story short, Levine and the team behind Bioshock Infinite desgined the box art to attract the uninformed consumer. It’s there to make someone, “pick up the box and say, okay, this looks kind of cool,” in the hope that it will lead to a purchase. Big budget games need to make money, and the correct marketing efforts are needed to be financially successful. Different box art will be provided by Irrational, which fans will be able to print out on their own, if they find the current art too unappealing.
Hopefully this means we can stop spending so much time discussing something as asinine as box art. Bioshock Infinite is scheduled to release March 26th, 2013.
Does the Bioshock Infinite box art bother you as much as it did others? Let us know in the comments below.