2K Wanted BioShock on Phones, Here's How One Dev Team Pulled it Off - IGN

www.ign.com
7 min read
fairly easy
The original BioShock was eventually ported to mobile devices, but years before that, a from-the-ground-up mobile BioShock port was developed on a very short schedule. Here's the story of how Tridev made some inventive moves to bring Rapture to mobile.
The mid to late 2000s featured a particularly prevalent trend of extending a game's reach by porting it to as many platforms as possible, regardless of whether or not those platforms were a good fit. Games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted, 007: Quantum of Solace, and Cars 2, alongside so many more, saw releases on consoles and PC, as expected, but also saw downgraded or drastically different versions hit handhelds like the PSP, Nintendo DS, and even mobile phones.

The trend hit a number of major console and PC games of the era. Perhaps, most surprisingly, the acclaimed first-person adventure BioShock saw the release of a mobile port known as BioShock 3D . Though there's a tendency to wave away the handheld or mobile versions of console games like BioShock, its mobile development is a fascinating example of the work that went into such an adaptation. According to Tridev, the developers of BioShock 3D who spoke to IGN about its creation, such a port included any number of technical, creative, and bureaucratic challenges that demonstrate the difficulties of making a triple-A game run on a phone barely able to play Brick Breaker.

And no, this is not the port of BioShock to mobile, nor the infamous Bioshock game announced exclusively for the PS Vita at Sony's 2011 E3 press conference, which was never officially cancelled (but was absolutely cancelled). This is a remake of the first Bioshock game designed to run on Javascript-capable flip phones, and its developers offered us a glimpse of what it's like to bring one of gaming's most beloved stories to a platform it was never originally intended for.

Have you played BioShock? YES NO

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Expectations vs. Reality

The first challenge Vijay Venkatramani, Tridev's studio manager at the time, told us the team faced was deciding what the actual scope of BioShock 3D should be compared to the original game.

"This was hard considering all the limitations we had to work with back then," he said. "In the end, we decided…
Issy van der Velde
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