BioShock Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock franchise and is the first one to not take place in the underwater metropolis of Rapture. Instead, Infinite is set in the all-new city of Columbia, a creation of an America transforming from a regional agrarian collection of states into a world power with global reach. The game is also primarily set in 1912; this is in contrast to the much later dates of the previous two games which took place during the '60s. Despite the departure from the series' usual setting, the game still retains some of the previous games' gameplay hooks, such as super human powers and first person shooting.
The game was released on March 26 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC via Steam. A Mac version of the game is set to be released via Steam later in the year.
BioShock Infinite takes place in the majestic floating city of Columbia, circa 1912. Engineered by the American government, Columbia was initially intended to be a floating symbol of American ingenuity and ideology at a time when the United States was just emerging as a prominent "world power." After being developed and completed the floating city was subsequently dispatched to distant shores with great admiration by a beguiled public as a herald for the new technological age.
Notwithstanding, what began as a groundbreaking venture to promote prosperity and goodwill suddenly and abruptly goes horribly awry, after a major international incident within China affects the floating city profoundly. In addition to the international incident's already profound effects, it also reveals to the citizens of Columbia and to the rest of the world the floating metropolis' true nature: that in contrast to its Utopian exterior, the interior contains a heavily armed aerial warship of massive proportions.
The incident also created a rift between leadership in Columbia and the United States, which causes it to be immediately disavowed and subsequently leads to the city's disappearance shortly thereafter; it vanished among the clouds in a world that wasn't equipped with the modern technology to track it.
Since its disappearance, civil war has suddenly erupted within the city, which split its citizens into two prominent factions with drastically different ideological beliefs. The more prominent of the two, The Founders, are a group of ultra-nationalists, religious fanatics and xenophobes who believe in American Exceptionalism and very little else outside of the concept. The opposition to The Founders' ultra-nationalist ideals is the internationalist, anti-capitalist, Marxist group coined only as the Vox Populi, Latin for "the voice of the people." The game echoes the conflicts in BioShock 2 between Ryan (who was a hard boiled capitalist similar to the Founders) and Lamb (who had communist ideals much like the Vox Populi).
Players take on the role of Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent who ended up deep in debt to the wrong kind of people. In order to wipe his debt clean, he is given the task of retrieving Elizabeth from Columbia and bringing her back to New York.
Finding Elizabeth will be easy enough, but escaping from a city ten thousand feet in the air won't be quite as simple. Players travel throughout Columbia with the goal of seeking out the residence of Z.H. Comstock, leader of The Founders, who Elizabeth must see before they can escape (Comstock is the only person in all of Columbia that can help Elizabeth realize and take control of her powers fully). In the process, their secondary goal is to find a viable escape route from the warring floating city. Elizabeth acts as a companion to the player, providing support during combat, as well a helping to progress the story as DeWitt's relationship with her deepens. This is another departure from traditional BioShock gameplay, as the player took on the role of silent protagonists that discovered their history as the game progressed.
Elizabeth is also being chased by the Songbird, a mysterious monster hell-bent on keeping her from escaping. It is unclear why the Songbird wants to keep her imprisoned; it seems that this was what it was initially tasked to do when it was brought to Columbia.
Allusions to Other Media
The floating city of Columbia is regarded as steampunk, and has been compared to Gulliver's Travels, Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky, and Steamboy. Elements of the city have also been compared to Star Wars (Bespin cloud city and Death Star) as well as the airships of Final Fantasy settings.
As well as this, the game shares many overt resemblances to The Wizard of Oz (both the novel and the movie). This is outlined in an article by Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Just like previous games in the franchise, the game is played from a first person perspective, with the right hand firing guns and the left hand firing powers. These powers are referred to as "Vigors", and are the equivalent of Plasmids from the previous games in the series. Continuing BioShock 2's improvements on the Plasmid system, Infinite allows players to fire guns and powers simultaneously, without having to switch between them. Players can make use of powers such as fire, lightning, and even a murder of crows to attack enemies.
Elizabeth has the power to manipulate "tears" - windows in space and time. DeWitt can ask her to open these tears at any time during battle; these tears can bring in objects & weapons in from another dimension.
Columbia also features an intricate series of "Sky-Lines," a rail system that connects the different pieces of the city. Players can leap onto these rails using the Sky-Hook, a magnetized tool that allows for quick travel around the environment. These rails can also be useful in battle, as players can perform jumping melee attacks onto enemies.
Creative Director Ken Levine announced during Sony's 2011 E3 conference that the game will offer optional Move support. Players can play through the entirety of the game using the PS Move and Navigation controller.
Upon completion of the game for the first time, 1999 mode is unlocked. This mode emphasizes player choice and almost turns Booker into a class-based fighter instead of free-wielding. Players will have to "specialize" with certain weapons. The game's resurrection system has also been tweaked for the mode; if players do not have the required death penalty fee, the player will be reverted back to a previous save game.
This mode can also be unlocked without completing the game by entering in the Konami Code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A).
During Sony's 2011 E3 conference, Jack Tretton announced that every PlayStation 3 copy of BioShock Infinite would also come with a copy of the original BioShock on the same Blu-ray disc. It was later revealed that this would only be the case in North America.
There are also three DLC packs planned post-release, with a Season Pass available for players to purchase all of it at a discount. Three different packs will be released, at $10 each, with the season pass costing $20. The DLC packs are purported to add new stories, new characters, and new items.
Development and Pre-Release
"Name in the Game" contest
On April 8, 2011, Irrational Games' Community Manager Chris Remo posted a contest on the Irrational website, titled "Get Your Name in the Game," offering fans the opportunity to have their name in BioShock Infinite. Fans simply had to enter their full names and email addresses for a chance to appear as the "namesake of a building, a character, a business–whatever [their] artists come up with" in the game. Touted as the "ultimate bragging right," the Get Your Name in the Game Contest entry period ended on April 13.
The lucky winner of the contest was Payton Lane Easter, and Irrational's Mike Swiderek created an advertisement for Payton Lane Easter & Sons Premium Automated Stallions.
E3 2011 demo
The demo of the game shown at E3 2011 was shown to the public during an episode of GTTV, featuring a lengthy interview between Creative Director of Infinite Ken Levine and GameTrailers intrepid Geoff Keighley. Subsequently, the 15-minute demo was made available to the rest of the media. Ken Levine later revealed that the demo was not from the actual game but a general target for how the team envisioned the entire experience. This forced them to raise the bar in terms of their ambitions and, according to Ken, ultimately pushed them to create a better game.
At Sony's E3 Creative director Ken Levine appeared on stage and announced that there would be a Playstation Vita version of Bioshock Infinite that mirrored the experience of the console and PC version. This version of the game was also supposed to feature cross play. In an interview with Joystiq in 2013 Ken Levine said that the deal with Sony still had not been worked out with publisher 2K Games. He also stated that it was something that he was still interested in doing but needed money to be started.
Industrial Revolution is a standalone browser-based puzzle game that was made available exclusively to players that pre-ordered BioShock Infinite. The game was developed by Lazy 8 Studios, and features gear-based puzzles, similar to those found in Lazy 8's previous game, Cogs. Industrial Revolution was first made available on October 21, 2012, and will remain playable until August 26, 2013.
The game yields rewards that can be unlocked in BioShock Infinite - these include extra money, extra lockpicks, and additional gear. As well as this, the game rewards players that complete all puzzles with images that can be used on Facebook and Twitter.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows Vista Service Pack 2 32-bit
- Processor: Intel Core 2 DUO 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
- Memory: 2 GB
- Hard Drive: 20 GB free
- Video Card: DirectX10 Compatible ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT / Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Video Card Memory: 512 MB
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
- OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64-bit
- Processor: Quad Core Processor
- Memory: 4 GB
- Hard Drive: 30 GB free
- Video Card: DirectX11 Compatible, AMD Radeon HD 6950 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560
- Video Card Memory: 1024 MB
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible