There’s been a lot of talk recently over BioShock: Infinite’s cover art, or perhaps the lack of expression on it. In a recent interview with Wired Magazine, Irrational Games Director Ken Levine explains that the cover isn’t for people like us. Now, I don’t think that’s quite as bad as some people are going to make it sound. If you’re reading this, then you probably have at least some notion of BioShock: Infinite, the franchise, and it’s development.
“And we live in this very special… you know, BioShock is a reasonably successful franchise, right? 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.”
He goes on to explain that the idea behind the cover is to lure in new fans, specifically the casual gamers, away from their Halos and Call of Duties and into BioShock: Infinite. Specifically, he wants them to pick up the box and flip it over to read more. To be fair, everyone reading this has probably also made up their mind whether or not they’ll (pre)order the game already, either for loving the original, or hating the first sequel.
This isn’t just for retailers either, digital download services such as Steam still use cover art. Think back on how many times you’ve clicked on a game in the Steam store because that first image drew you in. That’s exactly what Levine is looking for, that next step where his sale time goes from a split second, to just a minute to read into the game a bit. Will it expand the BioShock fanbase? Only time will tell, if Irrational Games ever stops delaying it, that is.