Today’s Best Video: Bioshock – Infinite’s Documentary

By Adam Smith on January 28th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

I’ve seen enough of Bioshock: Infinite for now. The next time I see Columbia, I want to be playing the game rather than watching somebody else falling out of the sky or presenting fast-cuts of footage. The latest video doesn’t show the game at all and, remarkably, that isn’t a problem. Presented as a fragment of documentary footage, a teaser for a fictional element of Infinite’s universe as well as for Infinite itself, the Truth From Legend video is as effective a piece of marketing as I’ve seen for a good while. Creepy, convincingly dated and mysterious, it’s an invitation to another world. More of this and less of that and that please, thank you.

That’s worth a thousand pieces of bland box art.

Although, admittedly, I did find the ‘mysterious building high in the Alps’ a little bit funny.

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33 Comments »

  1. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    It reminds me greatly of the astounding introduction to the unfortunately little-known Beyond the Black Rainbow.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Beyond the Black Rainbow is almost entirely astounding. Even though I didn’t love it, I do wish everyone would watch it.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        I disagree, it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen. it’s certainly criticised by some as lacking in terms of plot but the exact same critique could be erroneously made of 2001. It’s just so open to analysis and told with such remarkable virtuosity in terms of atmosphere, visuals and execution; a multi-layered, fevered, psychedelic dream of technocratic hubris and horror.

        I will readily concede it’s not a film ‘for everyone’, as much as I loathe the phrase as reasonable people can certainly disagree on a subjective work. The pace is basically meditative but I found the atmosphere impossibly engaging to the degree of being hypnotic.

      • Harlander says:

        What is it?

        (Other than “almost entirely astounding”, which I admit is a pretty good tagline)

        • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

          Sorry for the delay, I was trying to type out a response during a Dota 2 game.

          It’s a 2010 film debut by a Canadian director, it’s a very unique picture dealing with a scientific commune in 1983. It’s remarkable in that how much of the story is told through visuals, atmosphere and even sound design rather than overt dialogue (I believe the word count in terms of speech hovers around one-thousand or so and that includes incidental television in scenes) and how much is actually conveyed and commented upon despite ostensibly bare plotting.

          As an interesting game-related piece of trivia, prior to the wonderful soundtrack being scored, the director used parts of the Half-Life 2 soundtrack.

          • sirdavies says:

            Thanks for the recommendation. I will check out the movie and I will post here my valuable, extremely relevant, remarkable opinions.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          I just read the best one-paragraph Rotten Tomatoes review ever:

          “Close-ups of a needle penetrating gnarled toes and a mutant slathered in what I choose to believe is bittersweet chocolate make as much sense as the scary drawings of angry vulvas hiding in a drawer.”

  2. DrAmateurScience says:

    It put me immediately in mind of Look Around You.

    Which caused me to seek out this: https://soundcloud.com/user5316795/the-rapping-song-anthony

    As a consequence my lab mates are looking at me strangely.

    I regret nothing.

  3. Noodlemonk says:

    I feel nostalgic but can’t seem locate the cause of this wonderful feeling…

    • Hilden2000 says:

      To me it was reminiscent of Fallout 1′s opening, especially Zachary Comstock’s podium speech, the way it’s animated is like when the Brotherhood of Steel publicly execute a prisoner.

    • katinkabot says:

      School. This was pretty much every educational video I watched in grade school. Good times.

    • Ryuthrowsstuff says:

      I’m willing to bet its this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Search_of…_(TV_series)

      If I had to guess I’d say its what they’re referencing, its a little too spot on to be otherwise. Even if you weren’t around when it first aired (as I wasn’t) or don’t remember it chances are you watched a lot of In Search Of at some. It was on pretty constantly through the late 80′s through late 90′s. I remember it being on Saturaday afternoons when I was a child. And long marathons late night when I was a teen (I’m an insomniac so this is about as good as it gets at 3am).

  4. Ringwraith says:

    That is so spot-on it’s rather scary.
    Interesting how you can easily spot the non-archive footage from a mile away though, crowds don’t move like that!

    • Carbonated Dan says:

      It looks like Alec’s probing questions about the setting, particularly the apparent tear through time to a showing of Empire Strikes Back, were cutting close to the bone; between that scene and this doc, I’d readily wager Infinite is set in 1980/81

      EDIT

      urgh, not intending to make this comment a reply :/

  5. mraston says:

    Yes, I quite liked that.

  6. Cardinal says:

    That’s refreshing – hope the game can keep it up.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    I thought they’d spelt Columbo wrong for a minute

  8. P.Funk says:

    Nostalgia is the best marketing tool these days. Hotline Miami hooks you with its arcade shooter meets golden-era of top down GTA style appeal, Uber is killing you softly with asteroid pimp’d visions of the OTHER ground breaking RTS from the late 90s, and now this…. a flashback to the kind of presentation you’d get in science class in high school, outdated documentaries explaining timeless ideas.

    I love this shit. For some reason this video just made me want to go watch the X-Files again too.

  9. Scratches Beard With Pipe Stem says:

    I don’t see what’s so “troubling” about a lamb-cat.

  10. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I really want to see the whole documentary now. I like documentaries. I watch Discovery documentaries on rotation.

    Documentaries.

  11. Andy_Panthro says:

    Every time they mention “Columbia” all I can think of is the country wrenching itself loose from South America and floating through the skies.

  12. TimMc says:

    Fantastic trailer. Not that I needed more hype for this game though.

  13. ffordesoon says:

    This reminded me of the Dharma Initiative film strips from Lost. Those were the best part of that entire show.

    Lest anyone take this to mean that I’m disparaging Lost, I will say that I’m a big fan of the show as a whole, even the (admittedly sloppy) ending.

    I do contend, however, that it would have been infinitely more effective as a video game (though not the one that ended up getting made), because it’s structured like one from the very beginning. It was the puzzle-y elements that attracted many people to the show, and it was the failure to resolve those elements that made many people hate it. The overreliance on mythology was, in my opinion, a creative miscalculation, because it made the game seem more important than the drama.

    Which is not to say the drama was always good. It wasn’t. But I don’t think the show’s creators quite got that they were making a different show (the one about the characters) than the one most viewers were interested in (the one about the mythology) until they got to the last season or two, at which point they freaked the eff out and attempted to explain as much as they possibly could without going full Architect.

    Whereas in a video game (an immersive sim where the player has the run of the island, for example), the player could piece together the narrative herself, and follow as much or as little of the soap-opera aspects of the show as she cared to. In my dream version of it, the entire explicit storyline of the show would be going on in the background, and the player would be able to follow or not follow what was happening as it happened, but it would keep going on regardless.

    Dunno how you’d integrate the flashbacks, admittedly, but the “puzzle” aspects would naturally be given primacy by the very nature of the product, and a solution to that puzzle could be pieced together to the player’s satisfaction without having to shoehorn the story’s characters into situations where answers can be delivered unto them by quest givers grey eminences who know all and see all.

    Anyway. Completely off-topic, but that’s kind of my thing, so. :)

  14. Wombats says:

    That is the most excellent thing I have seen in a while.
    I hope there are many more.

  15. Harlander says:

    Having finally watched this, I have to say that it’s not done anything to dissuade me from thinking that game teasers in the form of fake artifacts like this are the best way of advertising things.

    DXHR’s cybernetics advert stuff and anti-cyberware propaganda was great too. Up with this sort of thing.

  16. MultiVaC says:

    Wow. Ever since the first gameplay videos came out my expectations had been sort of low since it was looking very linear and action-oriented. But after reading some of the RPS write-ups, interviews with Ken, and other things that focus on the mystery of the story and setting, I’ve been starting to turn my opinions around. This trailer is great. I think I might be getting excited about this game.

  17. Grargh says:

    I felt strongly reminded of Laputa – Castle in the Sky by all of this, especially the flying town waging war and then disappearing. Any similarities with Laputa are a good thing, I’d say.

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