A Look Ahead To: BioShock Infinite

With a release date still roughly a year away, it's still not too early to get anxious about a new setting and story in the up and coming BioShock game from Irrational Games™

That being said, veering away from the setting and atmosphere the previous BioShock games offered may cause some secularism amongst its diehard fans. From the material that Irrational™ has released throughout the creation of this game, a collective sigh of relief can be heaved from those diehard BioShock fans.

BioShock Infinite is an upcoming first-person shooter, and the third game in the BioShock series. Previously known as "Project Icarus", it is being developed by Irrational Games for a 2012 release on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. BioShock Infinite is not a direct sequel or prequel to previous BioShock games, taking place in an earlier period and different setting, though it features similar gameplay concepts and themes. The player controls a former Pinkerton agent, Booker DeWitt, as he attempts to rescue a woman trapped aboard the collapsing air-city Columbia in 1912.

Since this is a game that completely puts aside everything that was so great in the series, the main question that everyone is asking is, is the change for the better? Fear not my friends, according to several sources this is one of the most anticipated titles to be released in 2012. This may be easier said than done since the standards were set so high after the first BioShock. A teaser trailer/demo was released a few months ago, you can make a judgement call yourself here below.

The trailer teased the return to the underwater failed Utopia of Rapture, first seen in 2007's BioShock. In the demo, we saw BioShock Infinite in action, nothing like the 2007 release. This next big thing from Ken Levine's Irrational Games is something different. This is the BioShock of a floating city, of America in 1912, of a helpful damsel in semi-distress and of something called the Skyline.

What I saw — and what you can see in the trailer here — was the first glimpse of a game shrouded in years of secret development and now scheduled for a 2012 release on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Ken Levine was the mastermind behind the creation of this game. Levine's team is one of the most acclaimed and secretive in game development. Since the '07 BioShock, which they made in partnership with 2K Australia, Irrational gave no hint about what they were working on, no clue that they were making another BioShock. They were not involved in last year's BioShock 2, which was created by several sister studios and was set in that undersea city of Rapture.

Their trailer begins with a camera swoop across what appears to be ocean bottom, past an iconic BioShock Big Daddy. But that's just a trick, a look inside the fish tank of a man on the place where BioShock Infinite is really set, the early-20th century airborne crumbling metropolis of Columbia. The world of Columbia presents the same eerie feeling that was felt in Rapture; the mental stability of the inhabitants of this world is, well, not so stable. That sense of BioShock, by no means, is lost. The feelings and emotions that the atmosphere drew out of the player really made the experience of BioShock worth while.

BioShock Infinite Goes Beyond The Sea & Into The Skies

The trailer signaled that Infinite is a first-person return to the style of idea-driven historical science fiction of BioShock, but set in the skies. Later, Levine would state that the game is thematically tied to the work he did in first BioShock in that it is another game about a strange and yet strangely familiar place as well as about expressive, variable gameplay. He doesn't call it prequel though and drew no narrative connections between the BioShocks we have played and the one his team is making. "I don't want to think about that," Levine said in an interview. "I don't think it's particularly constructive to have that conversation."

After the trailer unfurled Infinite's world, Levine began explaining the game to an audience in New York. Infinite is set in the early 1910s. Its main setting is Columbia, a city that floats on balloons and drifted across an ascendant United States, showing the accomplishments of a post-Civil War American ready to express its idea of excellence.

"Something terrible happens," Levine said, establishing the stakes and the mystery. Columbia proves to be something worse than a beacon of prosperity. "This is not a floating world's fair. Columbia is a Death Star." In the lead-up to the events of Infinite, Columbia is embroiled in an international incident of unspecified horror and then disappears into the clouds. Our character, a "disgruntled former Pinkerton agent" named Booker DeWitt, is contacted by a mysterious man who knows where Columbia is. In that city, DeWitt is told, is Elizabeth, a woman who has been raised there and who the man wants rescued. DeWitt accepts the mission, which will be ours as a player: to rescue Elizabeth and, with her super-powered help, get out of the patriotic-turned-violent Columbia.

BioShock 2 was released in early 2010, and it had a major component to the game that it's predecessor did not: multiplayer. Many people (as well as myself) believed that BioShock (1) would have flourished from an addition of multiplayer to its game. BioShock 2's multiplayer was fun and addicting. It may not have been as popular as Call of Duty or Halo, but it does an outstanding job of drawing players back wanting to play more. It is sometimes uncommon that developers listen to critics and fans and make adjustments based on their suggestions. Most developers stay strictly to their ideas and completely block out public opinion. I'm sad to say that BioShock Infinite will not have multiplayer. Most critics say the story in BioShock 2 doesn't compare to the story in the original BioShock, but what made BioShock 2 slightly better was the muliplayer and it's add-ons. It is concerning about the quality of this game without this component.

If this is the same team that gave us the original BioShock, there really should not be any worries. Personally, I found myself with the original BioShock in my system for months. I replayed the game to justn dig deeper and discover items and areas I missed my first  go-arounds with the game. The single player in BioShock 2 was the same exact way, even though it wasn't quite as good as the first. I do not believe that diehard fans have anything to worry about with Infinite. G4's XPlay also had their own personal take on what they observed with all the materials that have been released from the game so far.

From the appearance of this game, BioShock Infinite should not be overlooked by anyone, even the most devoted fans to the original games that might not respect the change. Single player campaigns define a game for the most part; games don't need to add multiplayer. I think Infinite would completely flourish from adding multiplayer though, since the last game had multiplayer that was fairly successful. We're still looking at a 10 month span until we can expect this to hit the shelves, but rest assured BioShock fans, this will be a title that you will NEED to own.

pfro's picture

This game will be great and it is good to see a sequel that completely evolves everything.

Reid Wildenhaus's picture

Rapture has pretty much lost most of it's luster. This is one of those things where the game is taken in a very different direction, and it will either be good or bad. Let's hope the devs keep things fresh and stay to the roots. 

Erik Den Roda's picture

This will be a great revive for the series.  Underwater did get boring after awhile.

John Tarr's picture

Excellent preview Nightmare. Well written, tons of great info, and excellent use of images and video to keep the page colorful. I just featured your post on the homepage. 

najb9876's picture

This game looks awsome

RPGeesus's picture

I'm really keen on seeing what this is like. It's been in development for quite a while now, so hopefully Irrational has been using that time to put a really nice shine on the game. A good article, too, a good read.

nightmare_onbroadstreet's picture

Thanks for all the positive feedback guys.

Beer_Baron - Can't even tell you how much I appreciate it.

Josh Kowbel's picture

Good preview. Granted I knew all this information already, but it's always a great change of pace to read a blog when the author uses correct grammar and punctuation. Keep up the good work. It would be interesting to see more of these on the site too.

iWINuFAIL's picture

I have to disagree with you regarding the multiplayer.  Quite a few people, including myself, agree that Bioshock not only did not need multiplayer, but it was better without it.  The original game was 12+ hours long based on how much you did, and had quite a bit of replayability.  

A multiplayer component would have required taking people away from the singleplayer, and resulted in what Bioshock 2 had: a shorter and less interesting story, uninspired locations, and a general decrease in quality.  And for what?  Just a reskined CoD-style game but with plasmids added in.  It was fun for a few hours, and perhaps extended the games value, but was certainly not worth the dropoff in quality.

Solifluktion's picture

Great Article.

Now I've got a huge boner for the game again :)

FratasticVoyage's picture

The studio that makes this game is only 20 minutes away from my house. 

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