Irrational Games' new community-oriented website continues to impress us with its candid peeks at the inner workings of the studio and interesting developments that may have eluded the public eye. In an update posted today, Shawn Elliott examines five features that were cut from Irrational's beloved pair of 'Shocks.
"In one fell 30-second swoop, we could have prevented about 80 percent of the complaints, or at least redirected them toward Xerxes and the Many, and away from the development team," says designer Dorian Hart on the infamous ire directed at System Shock 2's degrading weaponry. And how would said swoop combat arguments about the unrealistic, accelerated rate of weapon malfunction? An in-game audio log "would have explained that as part of their takeover, the Many had released a special corrosive gas into the Von Braun that damaged weapons but was harmless to organic creatures."
If that seems maddeningly simple, consider "Nav-Bot," a mechanical fellow intended to guide lost players through BioShock's city of Rapture. Designers had several concerns -- what happens if the helpful bot gets stuck in a scrap with enemies? -- but the player's familiarity with a plain ol' map dealt the death blow. "In the end, someone (maybe Jon Chey at Irrational Games Australia) made the executive decision that we needed to suck up the extra work and make a map," notes technical director Chris Kline. "Thus died Nav-Bot." May he rust in peace.