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BioShock Infinite - Xbox 360

Game Description:BioShock Infinite is a first person shooter set in 1912 where players assume the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the flying city of Columbia on a rescue mission. His target? Elizabeth, imprisoned since childhood. During their daring escape, Booker and Elizabeth form a powerful bond -- one which lets Booker augment his own abilities with her world-altering control over the environment. Together, they fight from high-speed Sky-Lines, in the streets and houses of Columbia, on giant Zeppelins and in the clouds, all while learning to harness an expanding arsenal of weapons and abilities.
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BioShock Infinite First Look Preview
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Article_71765

BioShock Infinite First Look Preview

By John Teti - Posted Aug 12, 2010

BioShock

When members of the gaming media went into an Irrational Games press conference Wednesday night to hear a major announcement from BioShock auteur Ken Levine, we were expecting the unexpected. Which was stupid. Expecting the unexpected is impossible, after all, but we tried.

Levine came out on stage, he gave some perfunctory greetings, and the lights dimmed for a trailer. We’re underwater, and there’s a Big Daddy. Cute. The view pulls out—the water was just a fishtank, and we’re in a first-person point of view, inhabiting the body of some poor schmoe as a very angry machine-man rearranges his bones for him. Our protagonist gets tossed out the window into the void of a flying city, plummeting into an early-1900s skyscape. A woman reaches out to save him, showing off some serious telekinetic chops. Then, the logo: BioShock Infinite.

The common refrain in the room after the presentation: “I didn’t expect that.”


 

Nobody figured that Ken Levine had called the press to The Plaza in New York last night to announce the most obvious move possible: a BioShock title. Here was the man, or so the mythology went, that had struck a blow against the industry’s sequel-itis by declining to work on BioShock 2. He had clout, truckloads of it, and the closest thing to carte blanche that anyone gets in this business. And yet he chooses to make another BioShock game?

Well, yes and no. It depends how you define a BioShock game, because the world Levine unveiled last night had little resemblance to anything that’s borne the BioShock name before.

First and foremost: We’re not in Rapture anymore, Toto. Infinite takes place during the early 1900s, in Columbia, a utopian sky city built on massive airships. Levine explained that Columbia is constructed “as an example to the world of the success of the American system.” It isn’t a secret project like Rapture—it’s an international P.R. stunt.

But then, the story goes, something goes terribly wrong. Levine didn’t get too specific, but he did say that Columbia is also “a Death Star,” so let’s assume that the disaster involves Columbia raining murder down from the sky. Then the city vanishes, and nobody down below knows where it went.

BioShock

This is about where your character, Booker DeWitt, comes in. It’s another split from BioShock tradition, as the hero has a name, a history, and even a voice—during a quick gameplay demo on Wednesday, he occasionally piped up with some hard-nosed private-dick dialogue.

DeWitt is a disgraced former agent for the Pinkertons (a corporate police agency that saw its real-life heyday in the late 19th century). A mysterious client comes to DeWitt with a job: Retrieve Elizabeth, a woman who has been trapped on Columbia for years. As it happens, Elizabeth is the telekinetic wonder who appears at the climax of the Infinite trailer, and her powers are the topic of ongoing conflict among the residents of Columbia.

What’s most striking about Elizabeth in the preview footage—aside from the whole moving-things-with-her-brain deal—is her look. The humans in Infinite are rendered with bold features and a bright color palette. They look more like people from a Fable game or a Pixar film than the shadowy, tarnished characters that featured in BioShock. Likewise, Columbia itself is a sparkling burg with the atmosphere of a World’s Fair. The ambience couldn’t be further removed from the mildew of Rapture.

It’s all the result of a development-team mantra that Levine repeated throughout the night: “There are no sacred cows.” Levine didn’t want anyone on his crew feeling beholden to what had come before, and he claims that Infinite doesn’t borrow a single line of programming from the BioShock codebase. But just because Levine declared open season on cattle doesn’t mean that Infinite is an entirely new beast.

BioShock

The old BioShock DNA was most evident in the gameplay demo. There was DeWitt slugging down a bottle of mysterious goo, and within seconds, his left hand went into a painful spasm. They might not call it a “plasmid” in Infinite, but there’s no mistaking the symptoms. The original game’s first-person-shooter model—weapon in the right hand, quasi-magical powers in the left—is intact.

Near the end of last night’s combat demo, as if to drive the point home, sidekick Elizabeth trapped a gang of angry barflies in a pool of water, and DeWitt zapped them with a bolt of lightning from his hand—the quintessential BioShock force multiplier. Trapped amid another mob, Elizabeth offered up a huge hunk of metal for DeWitt to fling, with nothing but an extended hand, at the attackers. It looks like Elizabeth isn’t the only one who drank the telekinesis plasm—er, mystery juice.

Still, the differences from Rapture in BioShock Infinite are so drastic that it’s fair to ask: Why that title for this game? What makes a BioShock game, anyway? Levine said that it’s defined by a setting like “nothing you’ve ever seen before,” but that’s PR pablum. As far as I can tell from these early previews, a BioShock game is one that explores the American identity through the lens of Levine’s visionary historical sci-fi. That’s the common thread.

Infinite is exploring a chapter of American history—the turn of the 20th century—that doesn’t get a lot of play in modern fiction but has clearly captured Levine’s fascination. During his presentation, he read from a speech that William McKinley gave in justification of the Philippine-American war. “We could not leave [the Filipinos] to themselves,” McKinley was purported to say. “They would soon have anarchy and misrule…. There was nothing left for us to do but to take them all.” Levine hit that line a little harder than the rest.

BioShock

It appears that passions of racial superiority will play a part in the cultural fabric of Columbia, and more specifically “purity.” That word kept popping up in the Infinite art that was on display last night: “purity,” drenched in flags and George Washington and Lady Liberty and any other patriotic imagery the talented Irrational artists could dig up.

The inspiration for Infinite may be antiquated, but with fights raging over gay marriage, Arizonan immigrants, and a Muslim group’s right to worship near Ground Zero, the question of what constitutes “pure” America is as current as ever. If Levine’s past work is any indication, Infinite will explore that rich vein of American identity in surprising, thought-provoking ways. We can expect at least that much.

Comments are Closed

  • DFool

    I can only hope they but in a power to really teleport and not just show a sign of what could been, Bioshock 1.

    Posted: August 14, 2010 5:50 PM
    DFool
  • Keendew

    Main Character has my last name. Cool beans.

    Posted: August 14, 2010 3:43 PM
    Keendew
  • dedman12

    looks beautiful but 2012??? will the world survive?

    Posted: August 14, 2010 8:24 AM
    dedman12
  • AWESOMEgamer875

    This looks like nothing the BioShock team has ever done before. The hand of the Big Daddy didnt look like it even had a hand in it. They might be like auto big daddys.

    Posted: August 14, 2010 7:07 AM
    AWESOMEgamer875
  • ForgottenRotten

    @colffenstein..."I loved the mystery of rapture, this is something Colombia lacks."
    Dude......how can you say that from just seeing a trailer???? You can't top what you experienced in Bioshock one. The mystery of Rapture is familiar now. Bioshock one was a great game, I also enjoyed Bioshock two. But the problem with mainstream media these days is the constant beating of a concept or story so far in to the ground that it's kicking it with Mole Men. We are a smart enough consumer basis to elaborate on a story ourselves, in our minds; In turn we don't need over explanation. I for one am anxious to see where Levine takes this title. It makes me feel just as excited as I was for the first one. And by God I want to save the rose chick in the window from the killer robot......because that is where most of my skill sets lie.

    Posted: August 14, 2010 2:55 AM
    ForgottenRotten
  • BlackOpsSoldier

    Bioshock: Infinite looks awesome! It looks like u will be able 2 go outside and not only be inside of Rapture. Good Graphics; hope it comes out soon!!

    Posted: August 13, 2010 6:36 PM
    BlackOpsSoldier
  • yairnv

    I almost cried when Bioshock 2 ended. Not because I was sad, but because they managed to ruin the sequel to one of my favorite games.

    I'm glad this game doesn't take place underwater because after the last game this franchise really needed a major change

    Posted: August 13, 2010 9:15 AM
  • Tactless_Ninja

    Beneath the sea, in the sky... What's next, SPACE?!? Oh wait that was System Shock wasn't it. :|

    Posted: August 13, 2010 4:00 AM
    Tactless_Ninja
  • Geomancy

    Can't wait to see Ken Levine's mirror-house take on that era. It's really a fascinating period. That it will have Bioshock gameplay as well is only a plus. Very excited.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 11:02 PM
    Geomancy
  • adriangalvan74

    i think a lot more people (there are alredy a lot) would be excited for this game if 2K never made Bioshock 2. Dont get me wrong, Bioshock 2 was awsome but it lacked the story and discovery that Bioshock thrived in. Now Infinity looks reall awsome. New setting means more mystry and Levine is making "story" the number one priority. hes making a point with the games he makes and thats what i loved about Bioshock. Cqnt Wate!!!!!

    Posted: August 12, 2010 9:50 PM
    adriangalvan74
  • jkjkjkjkjk123

    This game seems like it'll be pretty cool but what i dn't get is this. Why is this before the other two? I dn't get that.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 9:28 PM
    jkjkjkjkjk123
  • JoshuaCorning

    Perhaps Ken's unrelenting attack on the roots of libertarianism is what makes a bioshock game a bioshock game.

    First he takes on Ayn Rand and now he goes after the classical liberals of the gilded age. Not to say that the philosophy of Ayn Rand is without flaws or that the gilded age was a utopia, she got many things wrong and Jim Crow and Eugenics was an abomination and a national tragedy. Still it would be nice if his critical deconstructions were accurate.

    Paring up the ideals of classical liberalism with the purity charge is a non sequitur. The eugenics of the late 1900's were the bastard child of the left and progressives, It was Woodrow Wilson who kicked Black Americans out of the White House and it was progressive Democrats who dominated the Jim Crow south.

    The fact is the bone grinding racism found in the late 1900s is a bug of the rise of progressivism and a relic of the civil war not a feature of the prosperity and optimism brought by the Laissez Faire economics of the gilded age.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 8:32 PM
    JoshuaCorning
  • Gman1317

    seems to me like the bioshock franchise will be alot like the Final Fantasy franchise, a lot of different games with different plots, people, and places all bearing the same name people know. (bioshock 2 not included because it was not made by the orignal creators.)

    Posted: August 12, 2010 8:00 PM
    Gman1317
  • Flynfsh

    i would like to be the first person to say this (and i'm probably wrong, but...)

    COLUMBIA SINKS AND BECOMES RAPTURE

    nah probably not

    Posted: August 12, 2010 5:16 PM
    Flynfsh
  • krispybacon2010

    I'm glad bioshock is moving into different time periods and covering different controversial issues. I think it would be nice to have some kind of tie-in to the original bioshock. If it has something like plasmids cool, but if it has something better or something reviolutianry with the same interactive nd attention grabbing story with multiple endings I'm all for that. A "would you kindly" plot twist like that would be awesome. I'm only thinking that is possible because the first one started with your character trygin to save a family instead it's a little girl in this addition. (maybe a future little sister) the more i think about it the more i get pumped... can't wait

    Posted: August 12, 2010 5:12 PM
  • Bryanesie

    Well that was an interesting trailer and the article sparked a bit of curiosity in me for the is game.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 3:34 PM
    Bryanesie
  • colffenstein

    I feel like such a biggot right now. Here is everyone so excited but... I don't know. I'm sure Ryan will be in the game but... It will be a good game but I loved the mystery of rapture, this is something Colombia lacks.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 2:31 PM
    colffenstein
  • gamermaster123

    so now we dont have to go under the sea so now we have to go up in the sky i no its the future and everything but y cant it just be on ground

    Posted: August 12, 2010 2:27 PM
    gamermaster123
  • somniphobiac

    Haha release date december 31st 2012! Isn't the world suppose to end right before that... lol

    Posted: August 12, 2010 2:13 PM
  • NUKEMANN1995

    Looks awesome, but I always think of what they can come up with after this... space, oh I'm sold.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 1:46 PM
    NUKEMANN1995
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