Ken Levine is responsible for some of the most celebrated narrative-driven games of all time, and his next venture could change how we think about inconsequential moments in games.
A month after revealing his new studio Ghost Story, BioShock creator Ken Levine made his first public appearance in roughly two years at EGX Rezzed 2017. On stage, Levine teased details on Ghost Story’s maiden voyage.
While we already knew that Ghost Story was dedicated to ambitious story-driven experiences that link gameplay and narrative in thought-provoking ways, we learned that Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is an inspiration for the project.
“The game that inspired me most — that we were maybe onto something, on the right track — was Shadow of Mordor with the Nemesis System,” Levine said.
Shadow of Mordor‘s Nemesis system used a dynamic cause and effect approach for enemy encounters, which made certain characters interactions have reverberating effects throughout the course of the game. The system was procedurally generated, meaning that each playthrough yielded different types of critical encounters.
Levine claimed that Ghost Story’s currently untitled game will be “much more ambitious.” In essence, the game seeks to respond to all player inputs to show that it cares about each decision the user make. He referred to this concept as “Radical Recognition.”
“The heart of that is something that’s central to our game,” he explained.
Ghost Story previously stated that its first project would encourage multiple runs through the game, and Radical Recognition appears to be a vital component of this vision.
We don’t know any concrete details at this time, but we do know a bit about its scale. It will be set in a highly detailed world, but it won’t have the scope of open-world games like Fallout 4. Despite the consequences of player actions and the steadfast devotion to storytelling, Levine said that the game won’t appear or act like Telltale’s episodic adventures. “Our game is a deeply systemic game, underpinning everything from gameplay to narrative,” he said.
Instead, the game will tell a more traditional science fiction video game narrative, like his most well-known series BioShock, but will have the ability “react and comment on much more small-level actions the player takes.”
We still have no idea when to expect Levine’s next game, but even from the little details we’ve learned so far, it’s safe to say that expectations are high.