"Details seem like the hard work, they seem like they important part, but they're not your friend. They really just drag you down."
It's a surprising message from BioShock developer Ken Levine, who spoke this morning at the GDC. But despite how intricate his game was, he said that plotting details are (with a few exceptions) best left out. He says that the best storyteller is the one that might seem the most benign: The world.
"What is he engaged in all of the time? What's right there in his face? He's engaged in the world," he said.
He shows, to illustrate his point, an early demo from mid-2006. It's still strikingly similar to the final product, but the world feels hollow, with few of the details that set the game apart.
"What's wrong with this world is that it's not saying anything to you," Levine said. "We basically decided to scrap the whole thing and start again."