The cover art for the original BioShock was gorgeous, a fact that Ken Levine himself admits to. But there was a problem: outside of the "hardcore gamer" crowd, not many people bought it. The game was too hard to sell on its own merits. Well, too hard to sell to the "fraternity" crowd.
While speaking with Destructoid, Levine mentioned he went to frat houses and asked if anyone's heard of the original BioShock. It turns out, they hadn't, despite being impressed with the game's footage. Speaking on the matter, Levine mentioned an interesting tidbit: "They don't follow the same channels that we do of information." He's correct. Most gamers don't necessarily spend all day on Reddit, browse various gaming blogs, and research upcoming footage.
When looking at the box as someone who's never heard of BioShock, Levine mentioned that it appears that the game is about a robot and a little girl. Infinite's cover gives the appeal that the game is about a badass soldier who shoots things. Yes, that might mean it looks like boxes that stand next to it, Levine feels that it'll help out the games sales. That's important, because BioShock Infinite was an "expensive game to make."
It should be noted that the game's quality, obviously, won't be sacrificed. While the game might be hard to sell outsiders at a GameStop or a Best Buy, there was no issue selling the title to publishers.
BioShock Infinite, controversial cover and all, is due out March 26th for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.