BioShock 2 Q&A: the trick to creating a critically acclaimed sequel

The first BioShock game surprised gamers when it debuted on the Xbox 360 in August, 2007. It was a horror-shooting game with mature themes and an imaginative story set in an underwater paradise gone bad. Today, Take-Two Interactive’s 2K Games division is launching the sequel, BioShock 2. The first game sold more than 3 million copies and got an average review rating of 94 out of 100 on the review aggregator Metacritic. Jordan Thomas, creative director at 2K Marin, had the task of heading the design of BioShock 2. We talked with him yesterday about the challenge of creating a brand new studio and creating a major sequel to a hit game at the same time. Here’s an edited transcript of that interview.

How do you rate Google's Super Bowl commercial debut?

Google made its Super Bowl commercial debut with its “Parisian Love” 30-second spot. Did the company get its money’s worth from the $2.5 million or so it spent? The ad is cute and does make a good point about how you can use Google to find out so many things that are important to you in life. It is focused on the product itself, not silly humor like the Doritos or Bud Light ads. And I think that’s an intelligent approach to brand marketing. What do you think?

Kaspersky Labs uses graphics chips to speed virus sorting (video)

Roel Schouwenberg is a senior antivirus researcher at Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based antivirus company that has grown into the fourth-largest in the business. Kaspersky, which entered the U.S. market in 2005, protects 250 million users from cyber threats. It has to analyze tens of thousands of files each day to figure out if they’re variants of known computer viruses.

Check out the latest new speakers and new site for GamesBeat@GDC

We’re excited to unveil our latest speakers for GamesBeat@GDC, our executive game conference that takes place at the Game Developers Conference on Wednesday, March 10, at the Moscone convention center in San Francisco. We’ve created a Facebook group for the conference where you can chat with fellow attendees and see who’s attending. We welcome your suggestions on that page. And we’ve created our own GamesBeat 2010 dedicated web site. Look for more details to be posted on these sites in the coming days.

Oracle kills Project Darkstar; adios to virtual worlds

Oracle decided to pull the plug yesterday on Project Darkstar, a Sun Microsystems project aimed at creating the backend infrastructure for virtual worlds. It was the labor of love of Chris Melissinos, the chief gaming officer at Sun who announced on his Facebook page that he was leaving Sun after 16 years.

Interview with Tim LeTourneau on 10 years of making The Sims

Game designer Will Wright has moved on to new things. But Tim LeTourneau has been with The Sims game development teams since before the first game launched a decade ago. Now he is the vice president and general manager of The Sims Studio at Electronic Arts. EA says that the video game franchise has now sold more than 125 million units across 60 countries. Like a machine, EA has produced 45 different versions of the game, launching The Sims 2 in 2004 and The Sims 3 in 2009 as base games for expansion titles. We caught up with LeTourneau for an interview about the occasion.

The Sims celebrates 125 million games sold across 10 years

When Electronic Arts launched The Sims on Feb. 4, 2000, nobody knew if it would sell. But on its tenth anniversary, The Sims has become a blockbuster franchise in video games, with more than 125 million copies sold worldwide. It has had a profound influence on game design, broadened the definition of a game, and become embedded in pop culture.