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Ken Levine 'put a premium' on a strong story in BioShock Infinite

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

BioShock Infinite creative director Ken Levine believes that video game creators should be able to explore whatever issues they want, and if publishers are reluctant to allow it on big-budget titles, it's because they're underestimating their audience, according to an interview with Joystiq.

"For my own personal tastes," he said, "I'm not afraid of any topic, or I wouldn't walk away from any ... controversial topic."

When it comes to making big-budget games, Levine realizes it's vital for a higher-up official at the studio to have the clout that allows them to argue in favor of spending as much time and money on story as on gameplay elements. "Unless you have somebody very senior at the company who's really passionate about it, story sort of gets short shrift a lot of times," he explained.

He also understands that he's fortunate to be in that position as president of Irrational Games: "I can help determine how resources are spent, and I can put a premium on making sure the narrative is what I think the audience for BioShock wants." It's not just figuring out which issues to tackle, either. "You could do all those [BioShock] themes," he explained, "but how you do them is almost ... is way more important than what you decide to do."

BioShock Infinite is set for release on March 26, 2013, on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more details, check out our hands-on preview from last week.