Before the studio began work on BioShock, and as it wrapped production on its PC shooter, SWAT 4, Irrational wondered, “What next?” Publisher Vivendi proposed another SWAT sequel. Creative Director Ken Levine “wanted the money really badly.”
But while the serial killer’s unsettling hideaway in SWAT 4 suggested what Irrational hoped to one day accomplish with mis-en-scene techniques, another straightforward cop sim wouldn’t provide the canvas that Ken and co. wanted to paint on. Instead, the studio would attempt to wed SWAT with parts of a pre-existing pitch for a shooter set in a zombie apocalypse. While it won’t hurt to have a SWAT team’s skills when the dead walk, the SWAT series’ signature features aren’t necessarily suited to the task. Reading the original pitch posted below, I’m reminded of a guy in grad school who tried to use literary language to get course credit for the fantasy tales he’d write about a barbarian who punched holes through the heads of his foes. My classmate wanted to make up names with apostrophes and assorted consonants; he liked the time that Th’thoth – or whatever idiotic thing the character was called — cut off a lot of ork limbs. He had less use for metaphor then a monster-hunting po-po has for pepper spray. The fact that Vivendi found the idea just as silly allows to me to say as much and not fear for my job.