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BioShock Infinite: What We Know

August 16 2010


BioShock Infinite: What We Know
by TartDarling

Hear any strange noises in the afternoon of Thursday the 12th? Don’t be too worried, that was just the sound of a few hundred thousand nerds needing new pants as Irrational Games announced their newest game in the BioShock franchise; BioShock Infinite. BioShock Infinite promises to be just as creepy as BioShock 1 and 2, but in an entirely different way.

Infinite is a sequel without being a sequel. You are no longer in Rapture, but in a whole new world; Columbia. Columbia is essentially Rapture’s opposite; bright, colorful and public as opposed to Rapture’s dark, dreary secret lab. Columbia is a city in the sky, floating on airships, meant to be a public display of America’s technology in 1912.  It’s kind of a steampunk paradise, and it looks cool as hell. Rather than playing on the fear of drowning and suffocating like Rapture, Columbia preys on a fear of heights and vertigo. There seem to be plenty of chances to screw up and go plummeting to your death if you aren’t careful. As Ken Levine from Irrational Games says:

“This world of Columbia presents radical differences in scale from what you are used to. You’re not crawling through corridors on the ocean floor, claustrophobic with the weight of the ocean bearing down on you.  Instead you find yourself navigating through huge environments, zipping around on Sky-Lines at eighty miles per hour and getting into firefights at ranges of two thousand yards.”

Ziplines in my FPS Bioshock game? Yes please. Though the design of Columbia and it’s wide open spaces makes me wonder if Irrational is going to make this one an open world game as opposed to the linear style of Bioshock 1 and 2.

In BioShock Infinite, you play Booker Dewitt, a former Pinkerton agent sent to Columbia to find a missing girl, Elizabeth. This is also a huge departure from Bioshock 1 and 2. No longer a character with no memories thrown into the world and trying to find a way through it, you are a man with a plan and a background, who knows (somewhat) what he’s getting into.  This allows Irrational to have a character who responds and reacts to things with a distinct personality.

The combat sounds a little different this time around as well, as you are able to team up with Elizabeth and combine powers. However there’s been no mention of how the combat systems will work just yet or how the partnering will effect things. There was also this interesting quote from Ken Levine to PC Gamer:

“When designing BioShock Infinite, we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if you walked into a room in this game and you didn’t necessarily know the dispositions of the people in it? Are they going to sit there? Are they going to attack you? What might set them off?’ We really wanted to have a notion that not everyone in the city was automatically hostile towards you. Instead it has more of that “Wild West” feel where you walk into a bar with your hand on your pistol and you’re not sure what’s going to happen to you.”

Personally, I think that’s a creepier feeling in a game than flat out hostility. It creates more of a sense of paranoia, which is essential to any horror game. It’s one thing to know that whatever jumps out at you will try to kill you, but it’s another to walk through a room full of NPC’s and not know if some of them will try to attack you, or if one misstep can turn the whole room against you.

Levine has also said that he felt the final battle at the end of Bioshock was a mistake, and that “It was something that was against my better judgement.” Revealing that he hates boss battles, it could be interesting to see a Bioshock game (or any game for that matter) without a huge ending boss, but I think Irrational can pull it off.

Over all, there isn’t a ton of information available yet, just the promise on the Irrational Games site that these changes are just the start of what they plan on doing with the franchise and there are still many more surprises with Bioshock Infinite. The community itself seems split on the game, and a bit upset that it’s not the dark world of Rapture again. I, for one, am excited to see them relaunch the series in a different world.

There is also a side by side of the Bioshock and Bioshock Infinte trailers up on G4 if you are interested to see how the two compare. There are some definite similarities in the styles of the trailers, though you feel the horror aspect more in the original Bioshock one as opposed to the slightly creepy what-the-hell-is-this-feeling of Infinite. G4 also has an interesting analysis and speculation of what the story arch might be.

All I can say after watching the trailer and reading through the release info is: Is it 2012 yet?



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