BioShock Infinite Trailer: Pretentious Analysis Time!


Posted August 12, 2010 - By Stephen Johnson


In spite of the slightly mixed reviews of our site's commenters, G4's reaction to the Bioshock Infinite reveal trailer can only be described as a "Nerd-gasm." We're very into this game, and very impressed with the trailer. Below please find some pointy-headed analysis and speculation about this upcoming game. First, watch the trailer again:

BioShock Infinite Reveal Trailer »

Main Themes: The floating city of Columbia seems the polar opposite of Bioshock's Rapture. Obviously, it's floating as opposed to sunken under the sea, but it's also a city that is obviously in good repair (at least in the trailer) and functioning. Rapture is more like a tomb, waiting to be washed away. Where Rapture was started by a single individual, there is a definite theme of collectivism/Nationalism in Columbia, as evidenced by the American flags everywhere and the red, white and blue bunting. Overall, it seems like a cautionary tale of American Exceptionalism run amock.

Except it's obvious that something has gone horrible wrong. We see in the trailer's propaganda poster an exact opposite of the Statue of Liberty. Lady Liberty implores the world to send their huddled masses to our shores, where Lady Columbia implores the scum to stay away.

Bioshock Infinite Trailer: Pretentious Analysis-Time!

Another theme we may see coming up is light vs. darkness. Rapture was so far under the sea, no natural light could penetrate, so environments were murky and dark. Columbia, I think, will have the opposite problem. No shade anywhere. Light blindness from the constantly beating sun illuminating everything. Could be very, very cool and very, very different.Check out the transitions between "scenes" in the trailer to see what I mean.

Influences: One main influence of the game seems to be The Chicago World's Fair of 1893. The World's Fair was also known as "The World's Colombian Exposition" (Columbia? Get it?) and is referenced in the snow-globe in the beginning of the trailer. This was America's symbolic "coming out" as a world power, with our nation's greatest architects and artists combining power to build the legendary "White City" erected to hold the fair. The same "We can do anything!" spirit that might lead to, say, a city floating in the sky. Anyway, you should read The Devil in the White City. It's a really good book about the fair, and one of the nation's most notorious serial killers, H.H. Holmes. Holmes is right out of a steampunk nightmare, and I can only imagine Ken Levine is very familiar with him and the socio-political milieu of the World's Fair. If the spirit of Holme' is evoked by the game's enemies, I predict terror.

Also: The Wizard of Oz. The guy with the twirly mustache looks both like Uncle Sam and reminds me of the Wizard leaving Oz on his hot air balloon. See?


Wizard of Oz Balloon

The mechanical monster chasing the player has a fully visible human heart -- shades of the Tin Man, am I right?

Bioshock Infinite Trailer: Pretentious Analysis-Time!

Returing Characters: I think Andrew Ryan is in this game. First off, this guy:

Bioshock Infinite Trailer: Pretentious Analysis-Time!

looks a like Ryan. And secondly, the scale-model of The World's Fair and the Big Daddy that opens the trailer indicates that someone in Columbia has already envisioned a massive city under the sea patrolled by metal monsters. That's got to be Ryan. The time-frame works out too -- this is set in 1912, and Rapture was built sometime before 1929.  Here's a wild pitch -- let's say Ryan was a resident of Columbia who became disillusioned by the city's jingoism, and decided to deflate the city's balloons while it was over the ocean and sink it into the sea... could it be that Columbia becomes Rapture at some point in the future? And you make it happen? Could it be that Infinite is essentially Andrew Ryan's origin story?

Notice anything that we missed in the trailer? Feel free to share it in our comment section below.

BioShock Infinite Trailer: Pretentious Analysis Time!


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