In part two of our look at the career of BioShock Infinite Creative Director Ken Levine, we talk underrated PC titles Freedom Force and Tribes: Vengeance. You can find part one here.
Freedom Force, released in 2002, is a real-time tactical RPG and quite a departure from Levine’s body of work. Having always cited his love of comic books as an inspiration on his work, Freedom Force was a loving homage to them. You control a team of superheroes as they defend Patriot City from super-villians and other threats. While most of the game is set in and around Patriot City, the game’s plot explores a number of locations and time periods, something that is consistent with other games from Levine. Magic and science-fiction are also at the forefront here as the titles comic book trappings allowed Irrational Games to explore different themes and ideas. After being well received by critics and gamers alike, the title received a sequel Freedom Force vs The 3rd Reich in 2005.
Tribes: Vengeance was released on PC in 2004 as a prequel to the existing Tribes series (developed by Dynamix). A sci-fi FPS, Irrational took the opportunity to flesh-out and build upon the existing Tribes lore while bringing in new concepts and story-lines of their own. While well received by critics and fans alike, publisher VU released the game with little to no marketing and right in between the release dates of Doom 3, Far Cry, Half Life 2 and Halo 2. Predictably, the game was a flop – the first real set back in Levine and Irrational’s career. The series has never recovered and the rights have been bought and sold by a variety of companies since.
– Dave Green. Follow him on Twitter @davidpgreen83