Now the other big issue has been the copy protection, what can you tell us about that?
Basically the copy protection, everything about how it works is exactly what you'll see in other titles like Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Command & Conquer 3, Harry Potter
. The only thing we have is online activation now. But that just does a check with a server and validates the installation. Right now we have a set number of installs and, frankly, it's too low. We screwed up. We analyzed where we were and we'll up the number of installs. We've also had a bunch of screw-ups along the way, I won't mince words -- these are real screw-ups. We had the activation server crash and we didn't have a proper procedure to be notified by it to fix it. So we've had meetings all week on how to fix these screw-ups. And we're fixing them. People can't activate their key, I dig that people are pissed off, and I understand it. Here we are day one of the European launch and day four of the American and we're working every single day working on these issues. I believe people deserve to play the game.
Now putting this PC issue to rest. Is there anything you'd like to add that we wouldn't know to ask you or you'd like to add?
There have been some concerns that the copy protection was something nobody had ever seen before, except for the online procedure, there's nothing different. There's nothing wacky going on there, at some point we'll move back from online activation. If people want to play BioShock
ten years from now, they'll be able to play it. We have a commitment from 2K that that is going to happen and we'll hold them to that commitment and they're serious about it, we'll make that happen.
Considering it's quite, quite, obvious the Patriot-Ledger reporter never actually played the game... Sometimes you're going to have to respond to people who know nothing about the title, but latch on to the most disturbing part. What's your response to people who will call BioShock a little girl murder simulator.
Um, I think they just need to look at the sequence. Even if you want to take the whole game out of context, I'm happy I can say this, not just for myself, but from the dozens of reviews and thousands of internet posts. This is a game about making your own choices and consequences. It doesn't take things lightly. Somebody should just sit down and observe the sequence of harvesting a Little Sister. It is about the most thoughtful presentation and most carefully executed presentation of the subject. It is strictly about getting the emotional content across without unnecessary violent content. There are people on the flip side who want to chase down a Little Sister with the gun, if they want that, they're playing the wrong game.
Do you harvest the Little Sisters?
Honestly, I -- can't. [Laughs] That's what I liked about it. I had a journalist talk to me yesterday who said his fiancé saw him harvest a Little Sister and now he's sleeping on the couch. I'm glad that people take it seriously. They can immerse themselves in the experience. I'm not one of the people who does, I know there are people who do, but they have to live with that choice.
It must be hard to be humble with all this critical praise, was this success expected, at the level it's hitting?
The one thing I'll say is that we didn't expect the level of commercial success. That's why you've seen the screw-ups we've had over the week. It's because: "Oh my god, our server crashed because all these people are trying to activate. Oh my god, we've got no plan to upgrade the server to allow more activation." Those are the things you see in massively multiplayer games. You know, we weren't expecting the response we got, that's part of the reason we've had these problems. We weren't expecting people to not like the game, but it's kinda surprising, the reason we've had so much reaction to what I perceive are little things is because the game has this high profile. Now you used the Unreal Engine 3, any issues?
[Laughs] One thing the Unreal Engine is, it's kinda hard to explain to someone who isn't a game developer. Engines aren't monolithic things. Like our version of the Unreal Engine are things we put in with our own work. It's turned into this Frankenstein monster ... people did some amazing things to the render and performance. Of course, it's an engine, engine's are always a bear. Developing games is really hard, I think the mistake that a company like Epic might make is to say, "Oh yeah, it's simple, we give you the engine and you go do it fellas, it'll be a breeze." Development is hard, it gives you a leg up, but if you don't have a great technology team you're going to run into trouble. Even if you have a great technology team you can run into trouble. An engine is a starting point, and you always have trouble, always have trouble, whether it's our engine or someone else's engine. Life is very difficult for a game developer to make games. Can you please explain what the PS3 mention is in the PC code?
That would require me to know about gaming development code. For all I know that is some random reference some guy typed in a comment line. I promise you, there is no secret plan about the PS3 that we're keeping from people. There's no PS3 development going on that we're hiding. There's lots of stuff that gets into game code, plans change over time and we got an exclusive deal with Microsoft. We were keeping our options open, maybe it comes from back then? I'd have to talk to the [code] guys to see where that came from. That's not a Rosetta Stone discovery. Direct question, are you, or had you been, working on a PS3 version?
We are not currently. People were a little here and there at the launch party about Toys R Us selling the game early, what's your take, did it help or hurt?
All things being equal, some people got it before other people and that's frustrating. I know I'm one of those guys that will wait outside a game store waiting for something to come ... so I understand the frustration of waiting for a game. I don't understand how street dates work, why they're there, I'm not saying they are wrong or right. It made some people happy, it pissed some people off. It's a trade-off really.
Do you have any preliminary number on how you've sold so far?
I don't, and even if I did, I'd be shot against the wall if I told. How many do you expect to sell?
53 Trillion is my expectation, that's my expectation -- and if that doesn't happen, I'll be upset.
Who's keeping the giant Big Daddy from the party?
I don't know where that's going, we were getting one at the office. I may even get one to lurk over my wife at home. How long was BioShock in active production?
No comment [laughter]
Will there be a sequel?
Did you ask if BioShock 2
is in production? No, no, I said will there be a sequel?
Before that. No, I asked, how long was BioShock in production?
Oh, oh, oh, no, no sorry. I didn't mean to no comment that one. I thought you asked if BioShock 2
was in production and I said "no comment." How long? Man, it's hard to say. I think I first started coming up with the ideas for it about three and half years ago. Full production about two years. So, what's next and is it in active production?
No comment on if BioShock 2
is in active production. What's next? Earns you an equal "no comment."