Patriotic: Bioshock Infinite’s City In The Sky (Trailer)

By Jim Rossignol on January 31st, 2013 at 2:00 pm.


Trailers are like dreams. You can’t really touch them or play with them in a way that is actually of any use, but they happen anyway, and when they’re over you’re left with a lingering feeling that they were trying to tell you something. I don’t know why I dreamed about eating marshmallows that morning when my pillows had disappeared, but I do know that Irrational want us to take note of what they’re trying to build with their setting for Bioshock Infinite: Columbia, a miraculous flying city at the turn of the 19th century. Here be philosophy and politics, there mechanical monsters and stuff on fire. There’s really no precarious uncertainty here, what they are trying to tell is that the expectations for this game should be sky high, and when giant metal ravens come for you, it’s time to find ammunition for the rocket launcher. Facts, you see, are super-true.

Bioshock Infinite will fall to Earth on March 26th.

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100 Comments »

  1. Askeladd says:

    Well, only the release day will tell what they deliver. But I must say It at least looks very very promising.
    After Dishonored and Bioshock, I wonder what will be the next franchise that will look kinda steampunkish.

  2. boundless08 says:

    … was that a dragon?

  3. Scratches Beard With Pipe Stem says:

    I hope someone will write an academic thesis exploring the parallels between this game and Skyward Sword.

  4. Lars Westergren says:

    Despite the shooty-action focus of the trailers, and despite boob-gate, this is one of my most anticipated games this year. I am considering getting a HTPC just so I can run this game in big picture mode.

    • f1x says:

      Damn Lars, I expected you would stay true in your crusade against exposed clevages and gratuitous man-shooting…

      just kidding ;)

      Looks like this game is gonna be great

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I guess my moral outrage well has temporarily run dry.
      ;)

      • dawnmane says:

        My first thought seeing this trailer was: Here we have, for once, a game world and a story premise so intelligent and interesting that the gratuitous violence seems really out of place. I hope that is the case with the game as well, so people will start thinking that the shooty business isn’t a requirement for a good AAA game.

    • Bhazor says:

      To be fair they didn’t use her tits in the trailer, so that’s at least one advert that isn’t using cleavage as a selling point. Hopefully, its a sign that maybe “Our heroine has tits on it” isn’t as good a marketing asset as “Our main heroine has a complex back story and her own personality”.

      But still Levine’s response “I didn’t really think about when I gave my female lead a plunging cleavage shot” is still one of the most revealing statements about the industry I’ve ever heard.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I love the first picture. “How do you suspend thousand-tonne buildings in mid-air?” “Oh, we have little propeller things underneath”. Not that I particularly want everything to be HYPER REALISTIC, but it’s kind amusing.

      • Shooop says:

        I’ve got nothing against fantasy either. If I want reality I can just go downtown and feel the rush of being shot at.

        It’s just that kind of thing is something that’d be right at home in a Saint’s Row game. It just doesn’t fit in at all.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      That does look silly but the absurd or odd in a creepy context can be very effective. The contrast between silly appearance and menacing action can be very effective.

      • Bhazor says:

        Agreed. Just look at the surrealist monsters in Silent Hill 2 and 4.
        The abstract daddy for example is a bed on human legs with people fucking under the covers. Heck what about Pyramid Head, now that is ridiculous character design.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      pyramid head also looks silly when ripped out of context… but he’s scary as hell when you encounter him in game

  5. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I honestly didn’t give a hoot about Infinite for the longest time. I loved Bioshock, but found Bioshock 2 to be boring enough to put me off the franchise.

    I’m not sure what happened exactly, but Infinite is now clear at the top of my most-wanted list.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      Bioshock 2 was made by a hodgepodge of developers as a cash-in upon the first game, lacking both the originality of the predecessor’s setting and the superlative writing and voice direction of Ken Levine. This has both in spades.

  6. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    I’ve said it before in others forums but there really is something about the fact of making a game where you play an ex-Pinkerton strikebreaker in a floating city in the sky in 1912, torn apart between the idea of American Exceptionalism and the Anarchist principles of Emma Goldman that puts the vast majority of game development to shame.

    • Orija says:

      If it’s anything like Bioshock, it’ll just be a shallow game with bad gameplay and a veneer of complex philosophical themes that are nowhere to be found in the actual game. In short, a pretentious piece of shit.

      • Askeladd says:

        Well, I think Bioshock was less philosophical oriented but more focused on the setting. The developers didn’t play much around with philosophies, but wanted to show and interesting world that has gone mad.
        Was an interesting ride.

        P.S.: I can see how you describe it as pretentious shit, but that’s debatable.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        I suppose you at least liked the art design as your wild histrionics didn’t mention it?

        • JFS says:

          Why do you insult him/her as histrionic? Calling Bioshock “pretentious” isn’t particularly odd, even if you might not be of the same opinion. The game was basically a (semi-good) shooter with a cool setting. Philosophy? Not so much, even though they painted it all over the press.

          • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

            I said the comment was histrionic, not necessarily the commentator and with a healthy tinge of jest as implied by the latter portion of the comment but you really take issue with such a milquetoast criticism? Should opinion be universally respected by virtue of existing? If I found the above comment rather abrasive and lacking any reasonableness in my own judgement cannot I not say so?

            Spare me please.

            You don’t find calling, what is a universally (with the obvious and what should be needless qualification; as far as it is possible in discussing any subjective piece of media) acclaimed and complex work a shallow piece of shit rather histrionic? Or should that only be confined to persons braying I Did It My Way on mescaline while defecating into the orifice of a family reunion’s roast lest offence be caused, particularly to third-parties?

      • Jim Rossignol says:

        I am so very close to creating a spam filter for the word “pretentious” on RPS comments.

        Because something is ambitious, or because it tries to be about something and fails, is not cause to insult it. Criticise, yes.

        Worse, the use of the word “pretentious” in comments often equates to either to simply “disappointing” or “this act of creative ambitious makes me uncomfortable for some reason”. Either would more honest and more useful to discussion.

        Is there a valid use of the word? Probably, but I seldom see it on the internet.

        • Guvornator says:

          Most pretentious answer EVER! ;)

        • Muzman says:

          Broadly true about most uses of the word as a lazy criticism. Still I do think that Bioshock, particularly in its marketing but also aspects of its execution, held many pretenses to being revolutionary in gameplay, narrative, the mixture of those two and just flat out meaning in games full stop. But in the end it wasn’t these things. It was System Shock 2 set in a novel place with a well constructed and revealed backstory.

          Will definitely check out their second crack at doing it all again at some point never the less.

        • x1501 says:

          While you’re at it, consider creating one for “my roommate’s aunt” and possibly giving us two optional ones for “WARFACE” and “misogyny”.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Similarly I suspect the word hipster was invented to be able to detect douchebags by their use of it.

          • subedii says:

            Can we throw in one for “Entitled”? I feel like there should be one for Entitled.

        • The Random One says:

          “Is there a valid use of the word?”

          I think a valid use of the word would be when a work abandons an element that would work strongly within it for an “artsy” element that does not fit with the rest of the work and exists solely to attempt to bring false depth to it.

          I can’t think of any actual examples that fit my definition, but imagine a fun, hard platformer that forced you to listen to a monologue about the inevitability of death every time you failed.

          • Acorino says:

            Well, something is pretentious when it pretends to be something that it’s not. Obviously.

        • Rawrian says:

          Hear, hear. The less this word is used, the best.

        • lurkalisk says:

          There are those appropriate uses though. To name one, Sergey Titov (he of The WarZ and BROTRR) seems only ever to produce games of pretense. Games that feign some degree of quality (to put it simply). Sergey and his games are pretentious.

          I think, really, the word people most often might intend to use, if they knew it, is ‘ostentatious’. A word that could, in this case, be argued as appropriate (not that I’m saying it is, but it’s certainly more reasonable).

        • KillahMate says:

          Please do. ‘Pretentious’ is a more hollow slur than ‘hipster’ as far as I’m concerned.

      • Bhazor says:

        Its a game with a central theme about selfish dehumanising capitalism.
        In game there are vending machines that used to sell sweets that now sell guns and still have the same child friendly advertisements. It’s a world where security turrets can be literally bought out by the higher bidder. You travel from abject squalor (the dock shacks) to the heights of decadence (Fort Frolic, the Hotel).

        If you can’t see that then you either didn’t look or you willfully ignored it.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I admired Bioshock’s ambition, but it would have been nice to meet someone who wasn’t insane / a huge diver thing (or sure, a small girl). You only ever saw Bioshock’s world through the lens of its destruction, which seemed like a shame. Even if the world of Dishonored seemed in similar disrepair, at least you met interesting people and not just gibbering loons trying to gut you with a fish hook. Oh, also telling your story solely through radio transmissions and scattered tape decks is a bit lazy. Games are an interactive medium, and have potential for storytelling beyond occasional audio clips between bouts of sociopathy.

      • Poliphilo says:

        What on earth are you on about? The entire setting is a critique and analysis of Randian ideas, and it doesn’t exactly stop there. The city of Rapture is a take on the “hidden valley” all the “winners” go to in the book Atlas Shrugged (you know, to flee from the mediocrity of everyone who’s not a steel magnate..). It delves into Objectivist ideas and their off-shoots, and it does all this while being a proper game, one I really enjoyed.

        You may not understand or appreciate how it turned out, however your comment makes so little sense that in all likelihood it’s the former. I almost wish you were trolling.

  7. Crosmando says:

    Using “interesting” or “unique” settings just to plonk some generic FPS gameplay on top of it is just lazy.

    • Meat Circus says:

      But Bioshock’s shooter mechanics weren’t “generic” in any meaningful sense of the word, were they now?

    • Jackablade says:

      I wouldn’t go that far, but much like the original Bioshock, this looks like an environment I’d love to explore without a weapon permanently obscuring my view.

      • Bhazor says:

        Erm… you do. That’s kind of the point.
        The main thing they’ve been building up is that you can explore the areas peacefully until you piss someone off.

        How well they’ll implement it is yet to be seen but several previews praised the opening fairground sequence.

        • Jackablade says:

          Yeah, but it’s still a shooter. Probably a very good shooter, but I’d love an RPG in that setting.

          Still, I say this every time something new about Bioshock pops up. It ain’t going to happen so I expect I might as well enjoy whatever I’m given.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      If you look at the amount of care and devotion put into the bioshock world, lazy is probably the least appropriate word you could ever use….

      Plopping generic gameplay (which in my opinion Bioshock wasn’t) on a brilliantly crafted setting is in no way lazier than having great gameplay in a dull and effortless setting….

      Personal preference man…. But I would pick Bioshock over, say, Crysis any day of the week

  8. noilly says:

    “From the makers of the highest-rated first-person shooter of all time*”

    *Based on Metacritic average across all platforms

    **yuck

    • Guiscard says:

      Did some quick maths. Bioshock 1 on PC and Xbox is rated as 96% on Metacritic, the PS3 version is 94%. The average is therefore 95.6%. Both Half-Life and Half-Life 2 sit quite nicely at 96%. And since they don’t have to create an average score over multiple platforms like Bioshock, I guess that means Valve win the title of “makers of the highest rated first-person shooter based on whatever reviews Metacritic decided were worth the effort” by 0.4%.

      If one went for the user reviews, then Bioshock’s average of 8.4 is dominated by Half-Life 2′s 9.2.

      I love when marketing decide to release grandiose arrogant statements based on flawed statistics.

      • Askeladd says:

        In some countries such marketing strategies are forbidden by law.

      • Stijn says:

        You’re ignoring Half-Life 2′s Xbox rating, though, which obviously distorts things. Half-Life 2 has an aggegrate Metacritic rating of 9.0 on the Xbox, so overall Bioshock’s average is still higher.

        It’s still an unfair comparison, of course, HL2 coming out for Xbox almost a year later than on PC, but using the same methods Bioshock does “win”. What the worth of that victory is (little, to me) is another question.

        • Guvornator says:

          HL2 also came out on the PS3 as part of the Orange box as well. I seem to remember it was also a buggy piece o’crap (relatively speaking), which was why the Orange Box only got 89% on metacritic and Bioshock can still claim to be the highest scoring yadayadayada…

          To be fair, while HL2 blew my mind to the point I physically carried my beige box to a friends house, purely so i could steal his internet to load the damn thing, these days I’d rather play Bioshock. Cue abuse…

        • dontnormally says:

          I like this strategy of separating double words with a parenthetical. Noted.

  9. Mario Figueiredo says:

    The game seems to be pure entertainment.

    I plan to ignore every single article on the typical fake and presumptuous pseudo-sociological analysis crap that will no doubt cover the damn web for this entire year. It has already started and the game hasn’t even launched.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Ken Levine has been pretty explicit about wanting to explore the roots of populism, and the different forms it has taken through history. It remains to see if the game has anything profound to say about it, but it certainly aims to be more than just entertainment. Wanting to discuss the topics is certainly not presumtuous.

      An example:
      http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/12/13/bioshock-infinite-interview-ken-levine-racism-history/

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Bioshock political message has always been clear and to the point. There’s never been anything overly conceited about it. Nothing overly disguised either. It’s a realized world with very little to speak of in terms of what it is trying to say to us. It’s self-evident. And clearly over the top sci-fi.

        I’m thus speaking of those wanting to turn the game into a whole bunch of onion layers of increasingly high philosophical concepts that will make my eyes hurt. The sort of people that incessantly look in games like Bioshock some kind of hidden secret message that is both extremely smart and echoes their feelings about the world. And, as a consequence, makes them very smart and proud for playing a shoot them in their face game with an intelligent undertone. A thing RPS is often guilty of exploring to a ridiculous level.

        That’s the type of verbal diarrhea I’m expecting from the media on the months to come.

        • Cross says:

          Oh, so between-the-lines analysis of the symbolism, themes and meanings of a piece of art is not your cuppa? Just because Bioshock is to-the-point and deliciously punchy, doesn’t mean we can’t go deeper. If you don’t want to, don’t read the articles. Just don’t come here to moan about smart people analysing meaningful works of art.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            That’s precisely what I said, art lover. I will be ignoring it.

          • x1501 says:

            Poor Mario, you just don’t get it. The game is in fact a triumph, an artistic milestone of contemporary virtual art. Each enemy redefining its section of the game as not an interactive environment for virtual mass murder but a massively murderous environment for interactive virtuality, juxtaposed with the barrenness of the open-air environments, the city of Columbia posits a chromatic orgy, a riot of color that manages to achieve a rare re-defamiliarization with the nature of place-time, the whatness of our whereness, no longer framed as… as… I’m sorry. I’ve run out of crap.

            http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-14-2005/the-gates

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Art lover! You fraternise with those arts, you might as well be a goddamn art yourself. God hates arts, and God hates you.

        • Acorino says:

          Poor guy. It’s like you’re forced to read such things! Must be torture for you…
          Yeah yeah, some art discourse is pretty bad for various reasons. I know that since I had to write an essay about an analysis of Adalbert Stifter’s “Bergkristall” (it’s a short story) which just seemed to comb for certain aggregates of words in the book and scramble in a panic to find some connection between them. Or it would just quote a line from the bible and then try a way to figure out how it would fit to some scene in the short story. Like the bible quote would give it another layer of hidden meaning. Such bullshit!

          But, you know, there’s bad everything: bad music, bad science, bad hair, bad weather,…so of course there’s also bad art discourse. But there’s also good! And the best for me merely concentrates on the work itself, views it as a form of communication, and tries to prove a point by merely analyzing the elements that inhabit the work.

    • Orija says:

      I don’t expect much given that Levine toned down the main antagonist’s portrayal as a religious leader because some Christian’s working in the studio threw a hissy fit.

      • Cross says:

        Earlier in development, i got the feeling that the themes were much less religious in nature. It’s only within the last half year that Comstock has been upgraded to “Father Comstock”. Before he was founder, now he’s a prophet.

      • subedii says:

        I love how you say that before the game’s even out to assess. Or for that matter, as if you saw the way the storyline was shaping up beforehand.

        The way he stated it, they simply had a discussion and it left him with a more nuanced interpretation of how to portray things.

        Which if true, is frankly something I approve of. Anything that adds dimension to characters as opposed to simply portraying them as 2D caricatures to be revered / reviled.

      • luukdeman111 says:

        That doesn’t make any sense…. If you read the entire article Ken Levine states that interesting conversations with religious colleagues caused him to rethink and change the way the religious antagonist was displayed…… I am a total atheist but having an antagonist (BTW, we don’t even know if he’s actually the antagonist) that is stereotypical and displayed as a religious nut from an atheist’s point of view is not very interesting to me

      • LintMan says:

        A fair ways into Bioshock development, Levine announced that you wouldn’t be able to shoot the Little Sisters after all. A lot of people rolled their eyes and were angry that he caved in to “can’t harm the children” political correctness. But in the end, what they replaced it with was WAY better – a powerful up close and personal decision, rather than allowing gamers to impersonally kill them “oops” mid-battle.

        This isn’t exactly the same situation, but I’m just saying that maybe he knows what he’s doing and pre-judging based on very limited knowledge of the situation is silly.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      So, basically, “stop talking about stuff, you guys!”

    • Acorino says:

      Something can be entertaining and yet at the same time be more. Like Shakespeare, you know? (Not that I imply that Bioshock: Infinite will have the same quality of writing as Shakespeare’s….)

    • The Random One says:

      I completely agree that, if the previous game is anything to go by, this game will have no depth and will offer nothing other than what it wears on its sleeve.

      But unlike you, I can’t wait for all the articles offering crazy theories on what the game REALLY means. Who cares if the author never intended these? They are fun and thoughtful and interesting, and show that when a game that has real meaning and subtlety comes along we’ll be able to give it the treatment it deserves.

      It’s too bad that only games that come out shouting “HEY I’M SMART AND FULL OF SYMBOLISM” get that reception. Two of my favorite video game articles from last year were interpretations of Shadow of the Damned and Lollypop Chainsaw on Destructoid. They essentially argued that the games tried to destroy gender roles: Shadows by showing a story about a guy who’s obsessed with phallic imagery and terrified of losing his girlfriend to a”manlier” man but framing it as a Duke Nukem style ode to the macho, and LP by having an objectified female protagonist but actually treating her boyfriend (and audience surrogate) as a literal object.

      Are this interpretations deliberate? Maybe – Suda51 is pretty insane. But who cares? They’re fun to read and they make sense, which is more than I can say for most stuff I read on the internet.

  10. Jackablade says:

    I thought this was a pretty neat trailer too. Doesn’t seem to have done the rounds of the blogs much yet.

  11. Lorc says:

    “One nation over God” is the perfect tagline for Columbia.

    It works on every level. Bravo.

  12. werix says:

    I’m more and more interested in this game, especially in light of crazy right wingers in the US making their own Right Wing communities. For a funny breakdown, see this:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-29-2013/america-2–now-with-more-freedom

    Kind of timely.

  13. Xocrates says:

    I’m so torn regarding this game.

    Thing is, I was not impressed by the original Bioshock. It had a wonderful setting and atmosphere, along with plenty of good ideas, but it never felt like a cohesive whole. It felt like a theme park the whole way through in the sense that was pretty and flashy but looked utterly fake and I felt like I was watching from the outside as opposed to being part of the experience.

    The fact that Bioshock 2 improved this immensely by providing a vastly more coherent experience which took the player in much bigger consideration is the reason I prefer it over the first one even if it never tried to distance itself much from the original.

    Infinite looks like a genuinely good game, but so far it reeks of the “theme park” aspect that made me never connect to the original game. So now I’m ambivalent about getting a game that looks like it has plenty of interesting ideas which I want to support, but which I’m almost certain not to enjoy.

  14. int says:

    Oh I know I heard Kevin Michael Sarevok.

  15. Lagwolf says:

    I admire BIoshock for trying to have a story-line that is just a cut-above the basic. I am one of those that enjoyed the first one far more than the second. I am looking forward to this title & hope that it is a decent game.

  16. Stevostin says:

    This one’s really good. Make me believe it could be as good or even better than Dishonored. The lore certainly seems interesting, and the map design looks more believable than Bioshock (it’s biggest flaw)

  17. The Random One says:

    Other ways trailers are like dreams:

    - They’re made of tidbits of real things that seem to follow an internal logic that makes no sense outside of them.
    - Inside them everything looks far more dangerous, but also more interesting.
    - You can tell a lot about what their creators were thinking by looking at them, but it requires quite a bit of interpretation.
    - They often have a lot of half-naked women in them, usually a sign of sexual frustration.
    - Some people say you can use them to predict the future, but their evidence is circumstantial at best.

  18. hilltop says:

    Have they changed the clothing on the female companion? Could this have been in response to the criticisms? Or do my eyes deceive me?

  19. Muzman says:

    This trailer begins and ends with one conjoined word: Robo-Washington! (Washingtomaton?)

    • vecordae says:

      “Clockworkshington” rolls off the tongue a bit easier if portmanteaus are your thing, especially if you don’t try too hard to enunciate that second K.

  20. elmo.dudd says:

    From the makers of Clive Barker’s Undying But Underwater And They Call the Magic Plasmids And Also the Villains Repeat SEO Terms Generated from Atlas Shrugged While Missing The Point, comes:

    Clive Barker’s Undying In the Sky Where They Call the Magic Vigors and Also the Villains Repeat SEO Terms Generated from a Small Sample of Turn of the Century Lower Protestant Preachers!

    • subedii says:

      Clive Barker’s Undying was (primarily) a Horror game that was heavily influenced by Cthulhu mythos and based around the supernatural. It was also very linear and the extent of its story was largely “kill these 4+ evil monsters”.

      It was a good game at the time (I played it through twice) that fell apart in the last acts when you started fighting humans.

      Bioshock is a very, very different game. It plays differently, it focuses far more on narrative and setting than Undying ever attempted to (and never really wanted to), and for that matter, it’s primarily hub based.

      Bioshock was a spiritual successor to System Shock 2. And whether you like or dislike it, it draws its gameplay influences from there way before Undying. Unless you’re going to start ranting on “And They Call the Magic Psionics”.

      • elmo.dudd says:

        It is a different game, it is not a “very, very different game”. The primary activity is still gun in right hand with changing ammo types and spell in left hand. You still go forward as told to by an NPC, though Undying doesn’t force you to spend time on ammo sinks (if I can sneak past a Big Daddy, I shouldn’t be forced to kill a Big Daddy). My experience in Bioshock was most definitely “This is a slower less interesting Undying.” Or am I “ranting on” for having an experience different from your own?

        • subedii says:

          No you’re ranting for trying to disparage it as an Undying knock off when it’s clearly not (Or I guess, possibly disparaging it as a weaker version of Undying when it’s not trying to be a similar game to Undying).

          It takes its basis from System Shock 2, it takes its narrative style and cues from there, and it plays along those lines. It is far more similar to SS2 than to any other title. Undying is more along the lines of six degrees of separation, the point where the comparisons that could be made are far too broad to have any point and could be made equally about most other FPS’s (like scavenging food for health. Or an FPS with a mana pool).

          Even to dismiss System Shock, a closer comparison from its era would be probably be Deus Ex or VtM:Bloodlines, minus the direct character interaction.

        • Arglebargle says:

          You’d be ranting if you said yours was the only experiance possible.

    • The Random One says:

      Nice try, but Yahtzee still has the lead with “System Shock 2 underwater and the villain is SHODAN with a waistcoat and a copy of Atlas Shrugged”.

    • MrUnimport says:

      Go to bed, Clive.

  21. The Random One says:

    I would feel much safer if all alarm systems everywhere said the message “Stay calm. The Prophet foretold this day would come.”

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