Sky’s No Limit: BioShock Infinite At TGS

By Adam Smith on September 19th, 2011 at 9:49 am.

I rarely look up so this could be above me right now

There will inevitably be an English language version of this video available four seconds after I post this, but I feel compelled to make everyone watch it right now. It’s a short BioShock: Infinite trailer from TGS and I find it hugely exciting. There’s some nattering at the beginning, in Japanese, but once that’s done with it’s all action in the universal language of “my word, this is rather thrilling”. It does show some sequences that those wanting to go in completely fresh may not want spoiling, although it’s enemy types rather than plot. Then again, for all I know, the dialogue at the beginning may give away a huge plot twist. It’s unlikely though, isn’t it? Still, if Japanese is something you understand, certainly don’t go telling the rest of us if Elizabeth reveals she’s a sledge.

It almost doesn’t need translating because Elizabeth is a rather expressive young lady. Every time I see footage my biggest concern about Infinite becomes smaller. I was worried Columbia, the floatopia where the game is set, would be too open for terrifying encounters. I have nothing against jauntily zipping between buildings in the beautiful blue skies with naught but a ‘tally ho’ left in the air behind me, but sometimes I just want to be cornered by a preposterously wonderful mechanical creature, afraid in the dark. Glad to see Irrational have that covered as well.

Mad, beautiful and thoroughly imaginative, Columbia’s looking grand. Most importantly, the more footage I see, the more I can imagine myself playing and enjoying the actual game. It doesn’t just look like a fantastic setting, it looks like a space that will be fun to navigate and explore. That was another concern I had with some of the earlier videos, that for all the ingenuity of the environment, it might end up being limiting rather than expansive. That could still happen of course, but, for now, my reservations are shrinking away.

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36 Comments »

  1. thepaleking says:

    Yeah, but, Elizabeth and boobs and revealing clothing, sexism, and bla bla, and guns that shoot and fps unimaginative yada yada, whatever.

    • diebroken says:

      And after watching in Japanese, her character’s design is starting to make sense now…

    • c-Row says:

      I don’t care for boobs in my FPS. I got a girlfriend and the internet.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      … guns that shoot and fps unimaginative yada yada, whatever.

      A dig at the X-COM and Syndicate fans, eh?

      See, it only matters when it’s a franchise you care about, isn’t it?

      The jab was pointless since no one’s complaining about this – Bioshock started off as a FPS, and it’s continuing as one.

    • Lemming says:

      Raiyan, I think you missed the humour in his post…

    • Dlarit says:

      Did someone say Boobs? First day purchase!

    • c-Row says:

      Unfortunately that doesn’t always work. “Boobs Of Ages”? “The Elder Boobs”? Ugh…

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      *runs off to trademark boobs*

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Look chap, when a lady has the power to tear the fabric of reality itself, she can show as much boobage as she wants.

  2. Formanovo says:

    It just seems to be footage taken from the 15 minute E3 demo, which you can watch here: http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3-2011-bioshock-infinite/717145?

  3. Donncha O Caoimh says:

    Damn, I really have to finish the first two games. I’ve barely started the first one, not touched the second and I’m sure I’ll buy this one before I do finish them.

    • Lemming says:

      This isn’t a sequel if that’s what you’re worried about. Although I would say the first Bioshock is entirely worth playing. Can’t say the same for the second one, however. It was just never that exciting a prospect to me. I didn’t think it needed a sequel.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @Lemming

      Did you try it? I also disliked the “let’s return to Rapture” story when I first heard of it, but I decided to give it a shot, much thanks to the excellent RPS Wot I Think. And it turned out to be pretty fantastic game actually. Audio, level design, gameplay, and most of the characters are all top notch.

      I highly recommend it, if you can stomach GFWL (create an offline profile). One of the best Collector’s Edition ever too. Artbook, vinyl record, Rapture Art Deco posters with secret messages on them.

    • sneetch says:

      I found the first one great, very compelling stuff, couldn’t wait to get back to it, ate up the world. I loved the idea of the second one but found myself… wandering off after the second or third “defend the girl from waves of splicers” sections, seemed a bit samey by then. It’s not really a sequel though, at least not a direct one, a largely separate story.

      Cannot wait for this though!

      @Lars
      Gonna go back to it myself, I played the first one quite late after release, just before the second one came out, now time has passed it might be more appealing.

    • Lemming says:

      @Lars, no didn’t try it. I’m sure it’s a great shooter, but I just don’t want to sully the storyline with what was essentially a cash-in title, as good as it may have turned out to be. It wasn’t envisioned by Levine, so I’ve stayed away from it. Same reason I never played Deus Ex 2.

      Nice to know its a decent game though.

  4. Stevostin says:

    I really hope we end up with a game and an experience rather than a rollercoaster directive thing. From the video so far I am seing a playground rather than a place. I am not interested in playgrounds. That being said, Dishonoured may very well have the same disease. All those Ultima Underworld zealots should IMHO remember that the thing that made it great in the first place was this feeling of being able to do anything (even a sandwich !) in a world that was, by circumstances, finished. Sure the magic gameplay was great, as were the implants in System Shock, but that’s only the second, or third, or fourth great thing about those games. STALKER doesn’t have this dimension of gameplay, and STALKER satisfies me way more than Bioshock did – but not that System Shock 2 did, for instance.

    Anyway, showing me superhero meca steamypunky stuff doesn’t sell it at all to me (even if nicely done like here). I want a place that I can feel and interact in all the way I can think of (or at least want to).

  5. Demiath says:

    Seems rather rollercoaster-y (in more ways than one), so this could definitely still end up suffering from the COD syndrome. Which would make it a fun but not particularly memorable ride. Irrational Games’ strength has been the setting rather than the actual gameplay in all their releases after System Shock 2 (in which the strength had to be the gameplay – and the overall atmosphere – since the setting was comparatively generic and forgettable).

  6. Zelnick says:

    If anyone is interested, the dialogue in the beginning is roughly:

    “Elizabeth…”

    “Promise me…”

    “I will stop him(or them/it).”

    “No.”

    “That is an oath you can’t keep. But, the promise I want is that if he comes, you will protect me without fail”

    So, it’s just a loose translation (or localization) of the dialogue from the E3 trailer.

  7. bakeca says:

    A very good and informative article indeed . It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge, I really like the way the writer presented his views. bakeca. Bye

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      First time i’ve ever been caught by a spam bot. Well played, internet.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      the spam bots are becoming smarter… self-aware… hello singularity

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      And conversely people are getting stupider (case in point, me). How long until we have our first spam bot president?

    • torchedEARTH says:

      This is how skynet started and everyone was “It’s fine, just leave it”.

  8. Crescend says:

    I’d play the entire game in japanese if the developers were clever enough to enable language options in-the-game. Would be great practice.

    • bill says:

      Me too. I wish we could get more language options in games. I’d love to play loads of games in japanese with english subtitles, or visa versa.

    • cjlr says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t European versions usually have a few different languages included? NA versions are probably 95% monolingual. I’ve got a few Euro imports to play French versions, f’r'ex. Er, that’s obviously not gonna include Japanese, though.

      Mixing and matching v/o and subtitle language Witcher-style is far less common an option than it should be.

  9. jezcentral says:

    I think games devs/animators need to have some contact with Pixar. A lot of the NPC body-language acting is either hammy (like here) or just plain epileptic*/junky-going-cold-turkey (like DX:HR). The latter was a great game, but it was one of the few areas I think they could have improved on.

    Not that animators still aren’t guilty of this, a hundred years after the medium was first invented, but at least Pixar seem to be getting there at last.

    * It’s okay, I’m epileptic myself, and therefore have a licence that permits me to say things like this.

    • endaround says:

      The problem is that it takes a lot of power to do what Pixar does. There is no evidence that Pixar an do what it does without massive server farms out there rendering seconds of images. Part of the reason for cartoony models is so the physics and body language seem less jarring.

    • skinlo says:

      All Pixar does is animate really though (and texture, story etc). What the game developers have to do is all Pixar does, plus make a game. In real time.

      I feel it is unfair to compare them.

    • Synesthesia says:

      dont rush to say that, the rendering part of pixar is what makes it look good, but animation itself can be a pretty forward affair.
      Good traditional animators use keyframing, and a bit of procedural animation in 3d, with almost no mocap. Just pull and push some pins in IK with the correct weight, stretch and expression, and voila. Thats not particularly render-expensive. Maybe you need a more complex 3d rig, but i’m not sure if thats harder to output at the final game.
      I’ve been noticing that animation in games is starting to really lag behind what it can look like, so maybe someone more savvy about this can enlighten us?

    • Gadriel says:

      Several reasons. Firstly, talented animators are thin on the ground, especially Pixar-calibre ones. The talent required to squeeze believable human animation out of current 3D animation technology is a rare thing indeed. Secondly, a film studio like Pixar gets to spend a full development cycle on 90min of footage. A video game with 90min of animation would be a short one indeed. Especially if you expect non-repeating animation (which is a big chunk of what bothers people about animation in video games). In a video game like say, DX:HR, you’re dealing with hundreds of conversations on a wide range of topics involving many, many characters that all have to be believable. Lastly, video game animation has to be very robust compared to film animation. Film animators have to make a scene look just right according to script, from whatever known camera angles they need to work with. In games, you have to animate such that any amount of player tomfoolery won’t ruin things. You have no rules regarding camera angles, no idea if the player will be jumping around at the time and thus will expect the character’s gaze to follow them. There’s a lot more to consider.

      In short, if we wanted Pixar-quality animation in video games we’d need to give them even more time and money to do it.

    • Wraggles says:

      One of the huge differences, and I mean HUGE, is that Pixar animators have a scene that they animate a character through. It’s a discrete once off animation, every scene gets to be perfect, oh there’s a step there, well he can just step up it perfectly, oh someone bumped into him, well we’ll just knock him sideways a little, oh he’s going to jump here, well we can make it fluid and natural.

      In game development instead you build an animation library for gameplay. You then do things like take a walk cycle and speed it up or slow it down based on player speed. Then you merge that animation with a run cycle when it gets fast enough. Then if the player jumps, you either do another merge, or just stop mid animation and switch animations. Naturally this works out sometimes, but other times, the player jumps 3 times in a row after running then comes to a dead stop and it just looks plain stupid.

      Often animations are excluded because it’s frankly not worth the effort. For instance characters that stop running, often dead stop rather than having a “slow down” animation, things like steps we just use the walking cycle for, why bother having a “walking up steps” animation, I mean can u imagine how slow it would be to do it realistically, walking up stairs would become a chore.

      The time this is different is during cut-scene’s, or sometimes certain cutscenes. Take for Instance DX:HR’s “conversation” animations. Those cut-scenes that go through a full series of talk/responses. Clearly a lot more animation work has been put into them, they’re discrete animations not designed to be re-used throughout the game.

  10. thebigJ_A says:

    This isn’t new. We’ve seen it all before. As a matter of fact, I saw it on this sight. Well, except the Japanese talking.

    No harm, though. I’ll take any excuse to watch Infinite vids. That game’s going to be good, I’m thinking.

  11. elnalter says:

    someone at the 2k meetings took “people dont want to think, they want an on-rail shooter” too literally