2K talks about PS3's Bioshock survivor mode

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Attention PS3 owners-

Those of you waiting for the month of October to roll around so you can get your hands on Bioshock are in luck, sort of. The 2K Marin crew have detailed a new mode that’s exclusive to the Sony platform and you can either listen to the podcast, read the transcript or check out the Q&A (after the jump) to find out all about it. From the brief glossing over I did of the the Q&A it seems like “Survivor Mode” is exactly what the name implies. Not that you had any other choice to begin with, but things are a smidgen more difficult.

What exactly is survivor mode?
It’s a new, highly challenging difficulty mode exclusive to the PlayStation 3 version of BioShock.

How does this differ from Hard Mode?
You’re more vulnerable, enemies are tougher, every resource is more precious.

Why did you guys decide to make this?
When we designed the original three difficulty modes of BioShock, we tried to define a spectrum encompasses as much of the shooter audience as we could, balanced as optimally as possible. However, we know there are gamers out there – ourselves included! – who are after a greater challenge than is provided by Hard difficulty. Besides that, a lot of Bioshock’s game mechanics become more interesting when the player is under pressure to use their abilities in a creative and efficient manner. So the impetus came just as much from the desire to highlight a less obvious dimension to the game’s mechanics, as to cater to the upper echelons of player skill.

How will my play style change when I decide to play on this mode?
You won’t be blazing through spaces. You won’t be flush with resources. Every fight is a decisive, life-or-death struggle.

So what’s different? Do enemies have more health, are there more enemies, what am I up against?
The enemy population numbers haven’t changed, but every single enemy is tougher and deals more damage to you. Additionally, if you die and resurrect at a Vita-Chamber, you get less EVE back, so death has a real sting to it.

Technically, how did you make this work? What did you change in the code to create this mode?
Our “Mod Effect” system for tuning damage, resistances and overall difficulty is flexible enough that only a few code changes were necessary. The rest was simply tweaking numbers based on testing feedback.

What was the most difficult aspect of designing this mode?
Definitely the biggest challenge was dialing down from “too hard” but keeping as close to it as possible. The best pieces of combat design always leave you with a sliver of life left and the feeling that it was your skill and strategy that made the difference.

Will I be able to use Vita-Chambers in this mode? Can I also turn them off?
Yes, and yes. Disabling Vita-Chambers changes how you progress through the game pretty fundamentally, and we wanted to keep that as a separate option. Of course, the ultimate challenge is still to beat Extreme difficulty with them disabled – a true old school “iron man” play experience.

How can I get ready for this challenge?
Get to know some of the more indirect plasmids like Target Dummy and Enrage. Learn how to formulate plans, set up and manipulate the world. A good challenge is to see how quickly you can reduce a Big Daddy from full strength to dead, by setting traps and picking just the right fighting area before launching the attack in earnest. In Extreme mode, the fewer hits you take from Daddies the better.

What tips and tricks do you have for beating this mode?
See above. Experiment with tactics that get you a lot of damage for as little risk and resources (EVE, ammo, or money) as possible. Learn to think on your feet and recognize opportunity everywhere around you. Use your abilities in combination, simple direct offense rarely works.

Is this really any harder than hard mode? I’m pretty good at BioShock, will this challenge me?From the first fight in the “Welcome to Rapture” level onward, I don’t think anyone will have trouble distinguishing this from hard mode!