Irrational Anthem: Their New Game, Unveiled

By Kieron Gillen on August 12th, 2010 at 7:00 pm.

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It’s rare as a games journalist that you find yourself sitting in a hall, knowing you’re there for an announcement, without a single clue what the game actually is. You’ve always got theories. And – yeah – I had some, but none that I’d dignify with a word like “theory”. “Guesses” would be as far as I’d go. So when the trailer rolls, it’s a surprise in all sorts of ways. And since there’s a chance this is the first place you’ve heard about the game, we’ll like to recreate the experience for you guys. So, head below for the video they unveiled the game with…

I’d imagine that your responses are complicated. I moved from a smile at the opening references mixed with a slight disappointment that it was going to be something so similar, before switching to excited bewilderment, thinking about how tired I am with steampunk before realising the visual style wasn’t actually steampunk at all, which all rapidly escalated into a cheery WTF?-ness. I scribbled Rainbow Islands vs Bioshock in my notes, later adding Lynch, The Wicker Man, Skies of Arcadia, Pre-War WWI American Triumpialism/Utopianism and all other sorts of fun stuff. The only real disappointment comes with the name: BioShock: Infinite.

Talking to Ken Levine later reveals that there’s a reason for the title, which will only become apparent with play, but it doesn’t seem to initially fit. At first, I thought it was a little like an attempt to do a Final Fantasy. As in, recreate the franchise to mean, “every game in Bioshock can have a totally different world”… but at the moment it’s deliberately foggy whether this is the same universe as Bioshock. I suspect yes, but buried. As such, it seems more like what Assassin’s Creed does. Presently, Bioshock means Rapture and its certain spread of mechanics. By doing this, they’re trying to make Bioshock an approach, with each game offering you some insanely baroque new world, perhaps with something connecting them all. So in the same way that the Assassin’s Creed games can move from Crusades-era Middle East to Renaissance Italy, Bioshock can move from the depths of Rapture to the sky-challenging glory of…

Okay, what the game should be called is Columbia, in the same way that Bioshock should have been called Rapture.

Nice 'tasche.

Columbia is the city of the future circa 1900, created as a sort of moving World’s Fair, travelling the world to show the sheer power and majesty of the rising newly technological America – the Moon Landing of its day. Levine argues that between 1880 and 1900 America transformed from this Agrarian backwater to a rising technological power that ended up claiming the 20th century as its own.

Inevitably, it goes wrong. The World’s Fair was secretly weaponized, covered in cannons which go and do what cannons are made for. It goes rogue, causes a terrible international incident and disappears into the clouds never to be seen again.

Skip forward a few years, where in a Chandlerian move, ex-Pinkerton, strikebreaker and general low-life Booker DeWitt is hired to find a woman. This Elizabeth is missing. DeWitt can handle this. It’s what he does. The only problem is that she’s apparently in Columbia… and the mysterious figure hiring you says he can get you there.

Arriving, you discover that she’s not exactly a pure victim. She’s enormously powerful, and she’s caught in the middle of the storm which is tearing apart Columbia. You have to escape, together, and combine your abilities to do so.

Obvious changes first. You aren’t the blank cipher. This time around, you’re playing a character with a distinct personality. Secondly, you aren’t alone. This isn’t the lonely isolation of System Shock 2. This is a game where much of the time you have an equal partner in surviving this crazed world. In fact, it’s not about lonely isolation full stop. The inhabitants of Columbia seem as wired and demented as the Splicers of Rapture, but it’s a different sort of dementia.

The actual walk-through demo of the game – highly choreographed, as they always are at this stage – shows sections which make it clear. A lot is about trying to create the idea of horror and tension in broad-day light. For example, there’s a section where you walk into a bar. Immediately, every eye in the packed place turns to you. The seconds stretch out. You get to move and interact a little – then an inhabitant pulls a gun, and it all kicks off. It escalates into an enormous mob, hunting you down and cornering you. And it really is a mob, with far more enemies converging on you than I saw in Bioshock. Electricity blast after electricity blast fells them, but it’s clearly not going to be enough as they move with measured pace towards you.

At which point the demo actually introduces Elizabeth, who summons a storm cloud above the gathered hordes’ head. Water lashes down… and since they’re wet, the whole crowd are electrocuted. The demo continues, with her making an enormous projectile out of all the bits of cutlery in a passing cart and ending with you taking a whole bloody bridge out between combining your powers. All the while, the characters talk to one another and do some lovely, relatively subtle storytelling. The take-away moment is when you realise that Elizabeth’s nose is bleeding after a particularly telekinetic display. These exertions aren’t easy for her.

Columbia is basically Britannia, but for yanks. In case you didn't know.

The second thing to catch the eye is – to use the true technical phrase – full on proper mentalisms which make Columbia unlike any game environment I’ve ever traversed. My favourite is an early moment where a robotic horse drags a carriage with no wheels along the floor, which is a fantastic sight gag on the horseless carriage. A woman, on the porch of a burning house, silently and solemnly sweeping up. The man covered in ravens. The odd collision-style of the whole world, as if it was made by the most over-literal architect in the world. Make a flying city you say? Well, take a normal building and stick a load of balloons on the side, yeah? The floating islands are connected by grandiose sweeping tracks you attach yourself to and fly along, in either direction – which, with the grand blue skies above you, did make me think of Sonic of all things.

And then the heavyweight creatures which are pursuing Elizabeth. You see a little of one in the trailer – the heart floating in the water chamber, a bearded head attached with wires. The one which ends the playthrough is far larger, a creature which looks like some kind of sadomasochistic take on a giant raven and a gargoyle. And the key element is the array of colour. When, near the conclusion before the arrival of the last creature, the winds pick up and the sky darkens, it’s actually a little disturbing and shows what you gain by using the full array of the palette. It’s not a game about sitting in a closet, covered in grime any more.

But it is a game about a lot of stuff. It’s a game people are going to end up spewing a grand torrent of exciting wank about. It’s got ideas.

The 1880-1900 gap is key. “This isn’t a game about history – but it is a game set in the context of history,” as Levine puts it. In 1880, the US was a country tired and broken by war, having experienced massive casualties. In 1900… it was having different sorts of urges. Levine talks about President McKinley questioning whether they should annex the Philippines, just freed from Spain. At which point Levine reads a full quote from McKinley on the issue, as he tossed and turned whether he should do this potentially horrible thing…

I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way – I don’t know how it was, but it came: (1) That we could not give them back to Spain – that would be cowardly and dishonorable; (2) that we could not turn them over to France or Germany – our commercial rivals in the Orient – that would be bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to themselves – they were unfit for self-government – and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow men for whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed and went to sleep and slept soundly.

That’s what Bioshock: Infinite is about.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to deliver crates to your FPS. This is how it's done.

When the demo finishes and Levine leaves the stage, and an enormous image appears on the background. A presidential figure with the bell of liberty in one hand, surrounded by crude stereotypes of immigrants of all stripes. The legend beneath it screams: “It is our holy duty to guard against the foreign hordes”. Repurposed period propaganda posters set the tone. “Her eyes.. so blue! Her skin… so white!” asks one poster “… or are they?” before warning about hidden genetic purity. They permeate the game – “FOR FAITH! FOR RACE! FOR FATHERLAND!” caught my eye along with warnings about the ever-elusive “they” taking your gun, wife and just about everything else.

The fascinating thing about Columbia is that while it’s a failing utopia of some sort, it’s far more functional than Rapture. It’s a game set in the period before World War I has reshaped and coloured this kind of thinking. It’s a game that feels set on the brink of disaster – there is some WWI propaganda starting to creep in, and quiet talk about “The Siege of Columbia”, but the whole mood of the game seems triumphal – the pre-WWI utopianism I was talking about earlier. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s a city in the skies. It’s worth remembering that the game has been teased as “Icarus”. Icarus would have been a little too on the nose, I suspect, but there’s no doubt that Columbia is going to come crashing down.

Let’s cut to the chase: at this point, it appears the game’s major themes are American Imperialism and fear of immigration. By its simple existence, it’s drawing lines between what happened at the start of the last century and the start of this one. It is, at least potentially, about as political as it gets.

With the game tentatively scheduled for a 2012 release, I can’t wait to see more.

Expect stupid linking to Guru Josh and/or the xx by the time the game comes out.

And come back tomorrow for us talking to Ken Levine. The only Bioshock: Infinite interview, I strongly suspect, to mention anarchist Emma Goldman.

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256 Comments »

  1. teo says:

    Ugh

    The written reactions to the trailer were spot on. Total turnoff for me

    Shame =( was hoping for something exciting

    • Premium User Badge

      Shakermaker says:

      You were not excited by the trailer? Odd. I don’t like the franchise at all, but the video made me all giddy.

    • Premium User Badge

      Morph says:

      Looks and sounds pretty good to me.

    • Nallen says:

      I loved it.

      I played about 45 minutes of Bioshock 2 but I loved Bioshock 1 and was very happy to see another chance for it to be done right, then the change of location…I love Rapture and probably would have recoiled at the prospect of moving Bioshock anywhere else, but having seen it I’m just as excited about this different kind of crazy world.

    • Robert says:

      I am sooooo puzzled by you people.

      There are a gazillion WW II FPS’s/Middle-Earth RPG’s/etc,, but now there’s a trailer for an fps/rpg hybrid with quite an original setting and we have 2 pages about how much it looks like Bioshock.

      I wish we had a Call of Duty in the air. I wish we had more games with a slightly more interesting setting than WWII/Tolkien/Crusades/Bat City. I wish we had more games with a slighty more interesting story than “LOOK ZOMBIES, RUN!” or “Your parents got kiled by Evil. No worries you are the prophesized messiah, gogo kill it!”. I wish we had more games with a more diverse politcal imagery than the same old “commies/nazis/iraqis/viet cong are bad”, which actually accurately describes the main antagonists of most shooters nowadays. (apart from zombies/demons ofc.)

    • SanguineAngel says:

      @ Robert

      I’m with you a bit here but I definitely understand people’s problems. While yes, the setting is different I think there was quite a strong negative reaction (as well as a positive one) to Bioshock. Tagging this game, despite the location, is a clear indication that this game should be associated with Bioshock 1. As Kieron said, it is entirely likely that, despite the change of location, the rest of the game will have a very familiar feel to it, probably gameplay-wise.

      Personally I did not like Bioshock very much. It was ok, the setting was interesting but I thought the game itself was bland and failed to push the bounderies in many areas where it very much could have. The gameplay left me pretty cold, the “RPG emlements” were a joke and, whilst there were some great characters it is true, I do think that the story could have been more interesting and told better.

      This is where I am excited and Robert echos my feelings. Not only is the change of location interesting to me here but also a new direction in hopefully character driven storytelling and a genuinely interesting premise as far as games go. To be honest I am struggling to think of an action game centered around resuing the girl this decade besides PoP. That could be my brain failing me though!

      Anyway, this is coming from someone who loves Mirror’s Edge partly because the story grabbed me and the story telling was, to my mind, extremely well handled and perfectly paced. So take that as you will.

      I would say I am cautiously interested to see where this goes.

  2. Ben Leggett says:

    Um.

  3. The Hammer says:

    …interesting.

  4. tomwaitsfornoman says:

    Kill me with a shoe.

  5. Brian says:

    I vaguely remember Shawn Elliot on the Games For Windows Magazine podcast jokingly musing thusly:

    “You know the sequels to Bioshock are going to be Geoshock and Aeroshock?”
    “Really?”
    “No, but doesn’t that sound plausible?”

  6. Ben Leggett says:

    That gentleman in the screenshot must be VERY bald…

  7. Bhazor says:

    Dude! Spoilers! For a trailer we haven’t seen yet but still.

    I’ll wait for the play through demo before I comment. Or read the rest of this article.

  8. Vinraith says:

    I’m intrigued, but then I’m a sucker for dystopian alternate universe settings.

  9. Tei says:

    o7

    Great design. Reminds of of Wizard of Oz.
    Nice “we are not a kansas anymore” trick to reinvent bioshock. I applaud this.

  10. Xocrates says:

    I’m… divided. Part of me says “Yay! Bioshock.” while other goes “Nooo! Bioshock.”, then the part that says “Yay! Bioshock” is divided between “Yay! Different setting” while other says “Nooo! Different setting”

    I’ll keep an eye out, but so far it’s on the “Steam Sale” category as opposed as “Day one”

  11. Daniel Rivas says:

    Ooh, imperialism.

    I like how bright it is, after the oppressiveness of Bioshock, though I’m sure there’ll be indoor and night sections.

    Really hope this doesn’t come with a lot of potential falls. Tumbling to my death because I wasn’t looking is about my least favourite activity, in-game or otherwise.

    Oh, also. Bioshock: Infinity? Really? Bit rubbish.

    • Monkeybreadman says:

      And where do they go with a sequel?

      Bioshock : Really Quite Big,

      Bioshock : Bigger Than Your Puny Mind Can Comprehend

      Bioshock : Another Bioshock

    • Jack says:

      BistemShock.

    • Bret says:

      Bungie already did this bit, and, coincidentally, gave an answer.

      Aleph One.

    • Urthman says:

      Bioshock 4: On the Moon!

  12. Meat Circus says:

    I’d always thought, “oh if only Bioshock were in the sky”.

    Well NOW MY SKY-BASED DREAMS ARE ANSWERED.

    • Primar says:

      If only we could talk to the Splicers.

    • RQH says:

      @Primar: I don’t know if you mean that jokingly or not (I know it’s often meant as a joke), but yes? I would like to talk to people. More than just the three scattered crit path people in a sea of crazies. For one, it makes the world more believable, and the Bioshock games are almost exclusively about world-building. For another, it might sell the dystopian idea just an itty bit better. Of course any attempt at utopia will collapse if everyone goes psycho. But the reality is our current world can be a bit of a dystopia and it’s built up mostly of mostly reasonable people. It really doesn’t take everyone being batshit crazy all the time. It only takes one person doing something slightly wrong once. But then I guess all the world-building and ideas in Bioshock are really just the dressing for a slightly-smarter-than-average horror game, and they really aren’t as ambitious as they want to appear.

  13. Ricc says:

    I was expectying a totally new IP, so the Bioshock name was a bit of a suprise. The article is spot on, though. This could have been called a spiritual successor as much as a sequel, which is an interesting approach. They will have to do some convincing, I guess, but I’m ready to listen and get excited. :)

  14. Jools says:

    I feel like a troll or something, but that was honestly one of the most boring trailers I’ve seen in ages. I’m so sick of feeling like I’m watching a poorly shot movie trailer when I should be watching a trailer for a game. I have no idea why I should be excited about this, because the trailer says nothing to me about how it will play other than that it’s going to be first person and it has some interesting art direction – and I can probably infer it’ll be similar to Bioshock, I guess. Maybe I’m just getting old, but it’s so hard to care about something like this at all.

    • Ozzie says:

      I had totally the opposite reaction. Also, seeing that whole thing was don in 1st person, it felt quite game-y to me.

  15. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    +like

    The thing I liked about the original Bioshock was Rapture, a fantastic place to explore, and one with true atmosphere. Bioshock 2 never grabbed me, as Rapture was no longer this unexplored territory, and early reviews were suggesting that it didn’t take us anywhere particularly new in Rapture, of cast particularly novel insights onto its function. As I’ve never been one for FPSs on there own, Bioshock 2 had little attraction.

    Here though we have another world to explore, one which appears to be quite distinct from Rapture, but shows the same sense of the importance of place as the first game had.

    I’ve got my eye on this one.

    • Anthony says:

      Bioshock 2 is not a Bad Game.

      It’s just more of the same, really. Except without the good writing, or memorable locations. Yeah, you’re a Big Daddy, but you’re not any different from nameless dude from the first one when it comes down to it, especially when you find that other Big Daddies are just as deadly as they always were until you get better guns. It never feels like you’re actually a badass in a diving suit despite the big drill and being able to shoot plasmids and guns at the same time.

      It’s a game I really want to like, but can’t find anything specific to actually hinge the desire on. Call it the first vaguely disappointing sequel to a new IP for these next-gen times.

      You could almost pull a Caruso and say its… ‘treading water’. YEEAAAAAAH, etc.

      But despite all of the above, you couldn’t call it bad. Just unsatisfying. I enjoyed returning to Rapture as a location, but the reunion rang hollow. Unfortunately.

    • Red Scharlach says:

      BioShock 2 was a step-up from the original in almost every single way.

      Was still mediocre.

    • Walsh says:

      I don’t know, towards the end I felt pretty invincible with my maxed out powers spewing death and destruction everywhere.

      The story was more touching to me than the first one, then again I never finished the first one but I finished the second one. The first one I got to the you know what part and a little bit afterwards kind of lost interest.

    • Red Scharlach says:

      I don’t know, towards the end I felt pretty invincible with my maxed out powers spewing death and destruction everywhere.

      Compared to a tacked on escort mission finale and a sub-par end boss, this is actually, a step up.

  16. Serenegoose says:

    That was really interesting, actually. I’m more interested in it than I ever was in Bioshock 1 and 2. I worry that it’ll take itself too seriously though. Would that there was a true pulp adventure game somewhere on this earth. Curious as to why you’re tired of steampunk? Are you talking exclusively about games (the only steampunk game outside of the japanese market I’m familiar with is Thief 2) or all media?

  17. Meat Circus says:

    So, no new Syndicate then?

    Thank fuck. My childhood memories are saved.

  18. Brumisator says:

    Irrational, you used to make great, varied games….

    I blame 2K…

    • Ozzie says:

      This doesn’t look different enough for you, save for the title?
      I think they do themselves a disfavour by calling it Bioshock: Infinity

  19. A-Scale says:

    OH. MY GOD. TODAY IS A GREAT DAY.

  20. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    I think this would be more interesting if it wasn’t just going to be more bioshock. Bioshock was pretty good but not in the way that I’d want more of it with some name changes.

    I wish someone made a game about flying cities and stuff without all the baggage of Bioshock.

  21. Anthony says:

    My first reaction at the name of the game was “Can Levine actually do that?”

    I mean, it’s a 2K property. I figured they would withhold all rights to Bioshock in order to drive it into sequel mediocrity and make bank.

    Colour me intrigued.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Pretty sure Irrational are still owned by 2K.

    • Anthony says:

      I get that, I just figured 2K was going down the Activision route of mercilessly flogging a good idea until it had no soul left. Obviously Levine still has pull with the guys who hold the purse strings.

    • Taillefer says:

      Perhaps that’s why it’s Bioshock: Inifinite. I.e, you can’t do any more after this one, stop making sequels for my game.

      Unless it’s “Bioshock Infinity + 1, no returns”

    • TheTingler says:

      I think you just hit the nail right on the head there, Taillefer.

    • Taillefer says:

      I should learn to read.

  22. Monkeybreadman says:

    Bioshock in the sky, who’d have thunk it?!

    Bet you a squadrillion pounds the next trailers detail “how this is different to the previous bioshocks, etc etc blah blah blah”

    • jeremypeel says:

      Judging from what we’ve seen and heard so far, they won’t need to spin that hard to convince us it’s different.

  23. manintheshack says:

    I’m still waiting for the twist.

  24. Freud says:

    Colour me intrigued. Much more exciting than a Bioshock 3 has any right to be.

  25. Xercies says:

    I think the reason there using the name is money which is a shame to be honest..kind of says that there is no originality and we must use existing names before we can make these games because we want money. other then that i am intrigued…and the aesthetic i am already liking to be honest.

  26. Spliter says:

    Awesome trailer.
    It does to you precisely what a trailer should.
    cool… another bioshock.
    oh HAHA! It’s just a reference!!
    Oh wait… It’s still a bioshock…
    oh HAHA! It looks so gorgeous, and it’s in the clouds! it’s not bioshock afterall!
    Oh , it is Bioshock afterall! But in clouds!

  27. Atalanta says:

    “Bioshock: Infinite”? Oh dear.

    Terrible name aside, this looks awfully neat. I like the setting (both the “in the sky!” bit and the historical bit) and I like how bright the whole thing is.

  28. DiamondDog says:

    Well, the original Bioshock was a massive disappointment for me. Partly my own fault for getting far too excited about it.

    So, the only reasonable response to this news is…. hmmmm, alright….

  29. Red Scharlach says:

    Now they have even less of an excuse to make a dull corridor-shooter. Let’s hope they take it to heart.

  30. Vague-rant says:

    After watching about 2/3s of that trailer I was going to say something like “It’s Bioshock but in the sky!”. Then I realized that that’s what it actually was…

    I shall give it exactly half of ein chance.

  31. Ian says:

    Oh cripes, I’ve not even finished the first one yet.

  32. blindpsychic says:

    They really love rubbing the water+electricity bit in our faces

    • Xercies says:

      Hmm which worries me a it to be honest..its not one of the most original combinations and it showed in bioshock that that was the only combination they had really thought of lol. Hopefully they can show us something else because there obsession last time made the plasmids a bit to meh for my liking.

  33. Al3xand3r says:

    How about a new Dungeon Master?

    • Red Scharlach says:

      You really want them to do that when they’ve already got X-COM and Syndicate on the chopping block?

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Wrong topic :)

    • Red Scharlach says:

      If the title is anything to go by, not particularly: Still in it for the scratch, originality be damned.

  34. terry says:

    I’m giving this one a cautious “WTF” until I see some more.

  35. Al3xand3r says:

    It looks cool, I just hope they don’t try to connect it to Bioshock 1 & 2 in any way other than the name (sales power I understand). It seems like it should be its own thing, and hopefully offer fresh gameplay, a more open structure, etc. Maybe an RPG-like with adventure elements as you converse with people and solve crimes or something (why not start the game as you try to solve the murder of the guy in the intro?), rather than merely try to escape a place gone horribly wrong. Something like a serious take on Anachronox. I mean, give us a fully realised world, not a paper cutout backdrop for lots of shooting.

  36. laikapants says:

    The only thing that I have a bigger irrational fear of than the deep open ocean is falling from a great height. Seriously, my palms clam up thinking about it. This will not be good for my sanity.

    • subedii says:

      Mirror’s Edge was particularly good (bad) for that effect.

      After the first time I fell off a building, I tended to instinctively look away after that.

    • terry says:

      The Half Life 2 bridge scared the piss out of me. There weren’t even any zombies :(

    • Fumarole says:

      There’s nothing irrational about falling to your (presumable) death from a great height.

      Oh I see what you did there…

    • Atalanta says:

      @terry — at one point the HL2 bridge terrified me so badly I started crying. I had to stop the game and sit quietly on the floor for a little while before I could continue.

      Video games don’t usually trigger my fear of heights (as in, nothing in Mirror’s Edge or Assassin’s Creed bothered me), and I kind of hope they do include some truly terror-inducing views.

    • Sarlix says:

      @Atalanta I’ve been immersed in a computer game before but never to that extent. I think I’m kind of envious lol…

    • Jad says:

      I became so immersed in Stalker once that after I quit the game, a minor bug in Steam (I think the games list suddenly scrolled to the bottom without my input) induced actual blind-fear panic because I thought something malevolent and supernatural was fucking with me.

    • Sarlix says:

      @Jad Haha good one.

    • Forceflow says:

      To quote Douglas Adams: “It’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the sudden stop at the end.”

  37. Jason Moyer says:

    That large round thing about to smack you in the face isn’t the ground, it’s a tactless political metaphor wrapped around one of the worst ideas for a game ever.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Oh, my.

      Not a fan, then?

    • Jason Moyer says:

      The idea of a hybrid fps/rpg where you’re running around a series of floating islands with Bioshock-y mechanics is awesome, I’m just not really a big fan of political wank in my videogames.

    • subedii says:

      So you just didn’t like the implementation in Bioshock, or you just don’t like the idea in general?

      The former I can sort of understand, the latter… well…

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Bioshock 1 and 2 were tearing into political philosophy whereas the setup for BS Infinite seems ripe for some completely generic contemporary political commentary.

    • subedii says:

      till not sure what you mean by “tearing into” there.

      I mean, if you’re saying that thematically this has less potential to look at politics than Bioshock does, then I think that all comes down to how it’s implemented.

      Personally speaking, whilst I was interested in the idea of a game that addressed Randian thoughts and followed through on them, I don’t think the game fully succeeded in doing so. It presented an interesting setting in any case, so I guess I didn’t mind as much.

    • LintMan says:

      @subedii:

      I think what Jason meant is that while Bioshock goes after a political philosophy, it’s not tied to current politics. He’s afraid this new game is being set up to be a thinly veiled metaphor for some current political situation as a way to make political commentary on it. I’m not sure what – perhaps something along the lines of a mataphor for US imperialism in the Iraq War or Afganistan.

    • subedii says:

      I’d actually disagree there. Because a bit like Imperialism, something like absolute, Laissez Faire capitalism (which is largely what people take from objectivism today) is something that while a philosophy in itself, is very much present in modern day politics. Not just in the US, but especially any place where there’s a heavy corporate influence on politics.

      As an, the recent US healthcare bill. Whether any US visitors to this site agreed or disagreed with the push for healthcare in the US, an extremely large part of the dissent was voiced in forms like “you’re using MY money to pay for other, lazy people who aren’t willing to work for it themselves”. There was an inherent fear that this meant a slide into the dreaded communist socialism, that a privatised and completely free-market healthcare system was the ONLY system that could possibly work for the US, and that it was the only just system. The market would regulate itself. That’s pretty much Objectivism any way you slice it. Heck, in Andrew Ryan’s opening speech, one of the first things he says is “Is a man not entitled to the Sweat of his brow? No says the man in Washington, it belongs to the poor”. He could have just as easily been talking about the healthcare debate in the US today. :P

      People can draw the parallels with modern politics, but I suspect that the only real reason it won’t be difficult to draw those parallels is because those philosophies are still prevalent today. With regards to this one, Manifest Destiny didn’t disappear, it just took on different forms.

    • Raum says:

      Why is that a bad thing, though?

    • Raum says:

      That it’s current I mean (directed at Jason).

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I just find the whole “OMG WE’RE BEING SUPER F’ING SUBVERSIVE” (thanks Harvey) thing to be incredibly tired and overused. If I wanted to critique imperialism I’m pretty sure that instead of going for some clumsy Star Wars prequel-ish clumsy metaphorical cleverness I could find plenty of examples from the actual era the game is set in. Maybe I’m just being naive and Columbia just goes around raiding Spanish colonies or something.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Of course, if you did go with political issues that were contemporary to the time period, you’d lose the entire “hay guyz, we got somtin impotant 2 say hear lulz” aspect.

    • DMcCool says:

      Mate, you’ve just seen a few screenshots and a short trailer At best you know something about the aesthetic, and nothing at all about the political commentary (if there is any), only the area of political philosophy the game will be exploring. How can this possibly make you angry? Finding out a subject will be explored automatically fills you full of rage because you assume it’ll be explored poorly? I don’t get the cynicism.

      I have this to say about the game: Steampunk, yay!

  38. Heliosicle says:

    I feel like Bioshock may have been forced on them in some way to franchise the game.

    Is this actually Bioshock 3? Or just a spin-off? Looks cool anyhow, and if they still have 2 years or 1 1/2 to work on it, that must be good.

  39. Coldwave says:

    Its gonna be a dumbed down Bioshock 2 which is a dumbed down Bioshock which is a dumbed down System Shock 2 which is a dumbed down System Shock which was probably a dumbed down Ultima Underworld.

  40. Muzman says:

    I was hoping more for Bioshock 3: Arena myself.

    (nb: no I wasn’t)

  41. Flameberge says:

    Rubbish name.

    The setting is fantastic, the ideas are interesting, the underlying politics should stir up discussions. But, the cutting and pasting of so many of the Bioshock mechanics, perhaps explains the name, and is perhaps why I’m not too excited. Telekenisis instead of plasmids. A mob of enemies that charge at you, just like splicers; and big stompy robot suit guys who try to kill you, just like Big Daddies.

  42. Nallen says:

    LMAO what the hell is the other RPS video hosted by them with Jim and John?! hilarious!

  43. Alexander Norris says:

    I really wish that this had a) not looked like BioShock and b) not been called BioShock. The basic premise excites me, but a rehash of BioShock with slightly different environments does not, and I was under the impression this would be an entirely new IP.

    Really hope they ditch the name and further trailers don’t look nearly as much like trailers for the first two games.

  44. Simon says:

    Now, I wasn’t especially interested in Bioshock from what I heard from friends who’d played it and giving the demo a try. It sounded a little standard-shooter-with-a-twist. But this? This looks very neat indeed.

  45. zakkmiester says:

    I…
    I’m so confused.
    But very VERY interested.

  46. WTF says:

    Wow – so another over-hyped piece of ripped of nonsense from Levine. We can walk around his ugly Unreal 2 tech engine (yes people – Unreal 2 – they never went to 3), examine the ugliest character models in the history of gaming and listen to him quote swathes of actual writers in a desperate attempt to make his game look deep and learned.

    I cannot believe that people pay any attention to anything he says any more. It is obvious that nothing he ever does will live up to even the tiniest amount of its hype and we will just be presented with another generic, ugly and utterly boring corridor shooter.

    • Bhazor says:

      Aww diddums.

    • subedii says:

      I cannot believe that people pay any attention to anything he says any more. It is obvious that nothing he ever does will live up to even the tiniest amount of its hype and we will just be presented with another generic, ugly and utterly boring corridor shooter.

      Wait what’s Peter Molyneux got to do with this?

    • WTF says:

      QUICK! QUICK! Someone’s opinion differs from mine! I must mock them!!!

    • subedii says:

      Nobody’s mocking you personally, and it doesn’t matter what your opinion is considering that several posters above have already expressed similar dismay.

      Kindly stop over-reacting and getting angry over nothing.

    • WTF says:

      @subedii
      That wasn’t directed at you – You’re post was funny.

      Telling people what to do on forums though – that’s just daft

    • Vague-rant says:

      You just seem so angry… Not that your not allowed, but it seems a little much to get worked up over. I suspect he wasn’t mocking your opinion, just the level of anger over a game that very little is known about.

    • WTF says:

      @Vague-rant
      Fair enough – tbh I am not angry at the game – that is of so little consequence I could not get angry about it. What I am angry about is the hype surrounding anything Bioshock. That game was actually offensive to me, if not because of how appalling it was, then because of the ludicrous amount of lip service and over the top adoration it receives and this game is gonna get the same amount of shovelled on BS even before anyone sees it and regardless of how bad it turns out to be.

    • Bhazor says:

      “That game was actually offensive to me”

      Aww diddums.

    • Urthman says:

      I also really don’t like the plastic look of the Bioshock graphics. The characters look like a wax museum come to life (which is maybe the right kind of creepy for Bioshock) and the environments look like a wax museum that hasn’t come to life.

      I really wish they’d gone with a newer or different engine for this.

  47. Gunsmith AKA NanosuitNinja says:

    im not impressed, after system shock 1 and 2 bioshock angered the piss out of me, never bothered with bioshock 2 and whilst they continue to push this kiddie frendly console orientated shit out i dont think i’ll be bothering with any other of thier titles.

    • Premium User Badge

      James G says:

      Kiddie friendly? I realise you’re probably trying to express your displeasure at certain mechanics which you enjoyed in SS bot being present in Bioshock, but I’m not sure ‘Kiddie friendly’ is quite the term I’d use to describe Bioshock.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Seconded, James.

  48. geldonyetich says:

    Aw, I was hoping it’d be another Freedom Force.

    BioShock: Infinite. The name suggests it may be persistent world, which would be interesting.

    I’ll give it a spin, but I imagine I’m in for a year or two wait.

    More interested in hearing how X-Com, Irrational’s other game, will turn out.

  49. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    From confusion, to disappointment, to excitement, to potential “meh”, to “hmm…”.

    I was not expecting a continuation of the Bioshock franchise and it really leaves me conflicted. Bioshock did some great things. It was one of the most intelligent mainstream games I had played, in much the same way (to steal a Kermodian line) Christopher Nolan’s Batman films have brought art house sensibilities to mainstream cinemas. The art direction was fantastic and Rapture was truly a wonderful design, even in its highly linear form we saw it in. But the gameplay itself was very sub-par FPS stuff, without the added interesting bits we were promised earlier on (glancing over that recently released design document for Bioshock is even more depressing.)

    The info we have here seems to indicate a similar situation. I love the bright and colourful look of this new city. The ideas sound interesting and like nothing any other game has attempted. Then we come to brief mentions of gameplay and we have the same old electric plasmids (which I’m sure were a creation of Rapture and shouldn’t be anywhere else,) and crazy citizens charging at you.

    Obviously this is very early days and not much has been shown, but my initial response to seeing more Bioshock was a hope that they may be able to attempt to include some of the fantastic gameplay ideas they originally had with the first game, rather than treading the same old ground.

  50. Jimbo says:

    Skyshock. Totally called it.