I was dreaming (or half-awake, really) when I wrote this, so please do forgive me if I go astray.
Upon waking this morning, BioShock fans were greeted with a new tidbit of information regarding Irrational's upcoming continuance of the series, BioShock Infinite. Specifically, Irrational unveiled a brand new mode for the game, one steeped in heavy challenge and permanent consequence that's designed to give the more hardcore fans a more intense overall experience.
Titled "1999 mode," this new addition exists wholly separate from the normal story mode, and allows players to experience an environment in which their weapon specialties, upgrades, and moral decisions will have extremely specific, and extremely rigid consequences on how the player is able to progress within the game. Even respawning will be tied to resource management in this mode, and if you run out of the resources necessary to come back to life, your game will officially be over.
The mode is, of course, not actually a direct reference to a Prince song, but rather a hearkening back to the days of System Shock, a mode that Ken Levine describes as something for the old school Irrational fans.
We want to give our oldest and most committed fans an option to go back to our roots,” said Levine. “In 1999 Mode, gamers face more of the permanent consequences of their gameplay decisions. In BioShock Infinite, gamers will have to sweat out the results of their actions. In addition, 1999 Mode will demand that players pick specializations, and focus on them.
The idea for 1999 mode came from player surveying. According to Levine, more than half of the players surveyed wanted permanent consequences to their decisions made in-game.
94.6 percent of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8 percent indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.
1999 mode is, of course, completely optional, and anyone who just wants to sky-hook their way around the city of Columbia all willy-nilly without worrying about consequences will have the ability to do so. For those who like a bit more in the way of serious business when they play their games, 1999 mode sounds like a perfectly reasonable, if also slightly daunting-sounding option.
So, who among you will take the 1999 challenge? Are you looking to party? Or are you ready to fight?