Posts Tagged ‘BioShock Infinite’

Post-Irrational Decisions: 2K Founds New Super-Studio

reporting for dury, sir!

OK, normally “human being accepts new job at large company” isn’t our sort of news, unless it’s a really big name. The creative lead on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed perhaps doesn’t make it onto any auteur lists (though he has worked on enough other Star Wars games to fill a few Sandcrawlers), but Haden Blackman fetching up at 2K is fascinating because… well, what’s going on at 2K? Where are the big games going to come from in a post-Irrational (as-was) world? Well, perhaps from Hangar 13, a new 2K internal studio whose stated intention is “delivering mature experiences loaded with meaningful choices.” Reading between the lines: 2K wants its next BioShock.
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Bioshock Through The Looking Glass

The contemporary big-budget FPS has a few different strains: blood-n-guts military settings a la Call of Duty, open-world environments like Far Cry, and high-concept dystopias. Outside of open-world most of these styles were first codified in the 1990s, and FPS games then and now share an enormous amount: primarily a core mechanic of shooting many hundreds of enemies in the face over and over again, as well as crossover in areas like structure, goal-chaining, and narrative delivery. FPS games, in other words, have for a long time been constructed on resilient and proven principles. And many of them come from Looking Glass Studios.

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Penny For Your BioShocks: The Humble 2K Bundle Is A Steal

Rarely do I effusively recommend a bundle made up entirely of games I already own, but it’s kinda hard to argue with every BioShock, Spec Ops: The Line, Mafia II, The Darkness II, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, among others. The Humble 2K Bundle does come with a slight catch (a flat rate of $20 if you want a couple of the more recent games), but even then it’s a formidable deal. Unfortunately, this will technically count as purchasing The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, but don’t worry: I won’t tell anyone.

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Time Loops And Tears In SS2 Mod System Shock Infinite

Hallo, Marie!

Which would win in a fight: System Shock 2 or BioShock Infinite? Oh these petty arguments and spewings of bile come round every so often thanks to the weird compulsion to rank and rate everything in the gameosphere. Let’s be lovers, not fighters. What would happen if System Shock 2 and Binfinite loved each other very much and wanted to share that love with the world? That’s a better question. And it has an answer: System Shock Infinite.

The SS2 mod continues the game’s story in a very Binfinite-y way, dabbling in time loops and reality tears, and even joins you with Marie Delacroix as a companion of sorts.

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Rapturous: BioShock Not Dead, Will Continue At 2K Marin

With Irrational 20,000 leagues under and Ken Levine off doing his own, significantly smaller thing at 2K, you might think BioShock dead in the water. You would, however, be wrong. Following on from Levine’s original comment that he was leaving the series in 2K’s hands, Take-Two Big Daddy Strauss Zelnick has confirmed at a recent analyst conference that the oft-divisive series will carry on and once-thought-dead BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin will do the honors.

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Sanitawesomium: STASIS Isn’t Standing Still

There's me rhapsodising about the look then illustrating it with a picture of vending machines. This is why I don't work in marketing

Sanitarium-inspired space-horror adventure game STASIS impressed me even before it had any money in the bank, but based on its most recent videos it appears to be spending its Kickstarter funbucks wisely. Specifically, on making its haunting environments all the more detailed, animated, lavish and sinister. More ichor, too. More ichor always helps in any game. Yes, even the My Little Pony ones. Don’t try to tell me I’m wrong.
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Wot I Think – BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Ep 2

BioShock Infinite’s DLC, BioShock Infinite and BioShock 1 concludes with this second, longer, stealthier half of last November’s return to Rapture. It’s out now.

You’ll hear no politics from me, though by God it’s tempting to correlate Burial At Sea Part 2’s status as a swansong for two BioShock universes with the recent, shock closure of Irrational. Whatever else there is to both tales, at least this concluding DLC for BioShock Infinite reverses the sense of decline we’ve seen since the original BioShock. Despite a multitude of sins it does leapfrog both Infinite and its own, irritatingly slight if visually flabbergasting Part 1. It also includes the single most unpleasant – and frankly needless with it – moment I’ve ever experienced in a videogame.
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Party Like It’s 1998: BioShock Burial At Sea’s Thief-Like Mode

how do you like my cosplay

Irrational has (mostly) sunk beneath the gaming industry’s ever-turbulent waves, but its spirit lives on. And by that, I mean the rather tumultuous work environment gave birth to one last piece of DLC before massive (and by many accounts, inevitable) layoffs struck. BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode One was a mixed bag, but Episode Two has a shot at going out on a high note. There are plenty of solid ingredients in place: we’re back in Rapture, we get to play as Elizabeth, and apparently we can entirely avoid killing anyone if we want to. 1998 mode is a bonus option with a heavy emphasis on stealth, and if some referential fake box art is to be believed, it’s rather heavily influenced by the original Thief.

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Ken Levine “Winding Down Irrational Games”, Lays Off Staff

Hmm.

In a post on the Irrational Games website titled “A Message From Ken Levine”, the BioShock creator announced that he’s “winding down” Irrational Games. What does that mean? All but a core team of fifteen developers are being laid off, so that the remaining few can focus on new ideas, “a long period of design”, and the idea of “replayable narrative”.

This is a surprise.
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Three Minutes Of BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode 2

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a city. There's always a bit where you get knocked down and drop your weapons.

The first part of Burial At Sea, BioShock Infinite‘s Rapture-bound DLC, met a mixed reception. Alec loved its pre-fall beauty and felt frustrated by its inevitable, violent turn and quick end. Which I suppose means there’s plenty of reason to feel excited by the arrival of part two.

Irrational want to whet your appetite for wetness with a three-minute video, but be warned: it assumes you’ve played part one and will heavily imply spoilers if you haven’t.
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No, Says The Man In Hollywood: Axed BioShock Movie Art

BioShock could have made a wonderful movie. But realistically it would never been a wonderful movie, even if plans for a Gore Verbinski-helmed adaptation of the Irrational’s opus hadn’t been abandoned. It could only have been an overload of CGI that sacrificed depth and tone for a visual onslaught. I’m sure of that, and I’m glad the movie didn’t happen. But the real reason it didn’t is that backers Universal were spooked by the commercial limpness of the Watchmen adaptation, taking it as a sign that there wasn’t enough of an audience for an R-rated sci-fi movie at the kind of budget Verbsinki demanded; he then wouldn’t agree to a much a lower one. A later attempt at a cheaper movie by 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was nixed by Ken Levine, who told Eurogamer that “I didn’t really see the match there.”

The movie did at least make it to concept art stage, a few examples of which have recently emerged, and depict new areas of Rapture planned for the big screen.
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Wot I Think – Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode 1

Please note that while this piece contains no overt plot spoilers for any BioShock game, it does feature some allusions to their major events and does presume at least some familiarity with them.

“The problem with utopia is it’s still full of people.” A fair sentiment indeed, but is it truly spoken by a dispossessed citizen of the fast-failing undersea brains trust that is Rapture, or is it a BioShock Infinite developer lamenting that they need to somehow insert humanity into their singularly lavish shooty-bang game?

It is wonderful to be back beyond the sea, but things are different now.
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Everybody’s Going To Rapture (The Bioshock One) In Nov

Now sea here

Oh look, here’s a release date for the first BioShock Infinite story DLC, Burial At Sea. This, you may recall, recasts Infinite’s protagonists Booker and Elizabeth in the undersea social experiment that is Rapture, and thus entails both a brand new story beneath the waves and a chance to catch up with old chums such as Big Daddy and his syringe-loving chums. Irrational have been coy about exactly when it’s due out, until about five minutes ago when they brazenly proclaimed it would be on November 12. That’s around one Earth fortnight, or 17 Venusian aafgf-ghhhrnights.
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Bioshock Noir: Burial At Sea’s Opening Scenes

Bioshock has that one part, the stunning moment that locks the game in the memory forever. I’m talking, of course, about the opening plane crash and the first view of the lighthouse. The descent into Rapture, like the ascent into Columbia, employed tidy, efficient techniques to build a world that was eerie, allusive and oddly attractive. Alec wrote an entire post about that first sight of Rapture. The opening five minutes of Burial At Sea, Bioshock Infinite’s narrative DLC, contain a different side of Rapture, as Booker and Elizabeth walk the corridors before the Fall. Spoilers abound, obviously, with the plot’s initial direction outlined as the two take in some familiar sights.

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Rapture Captured: Bioshock Infinite – Burial At Sea

The Modern Day Icarus videos that heralded the arrival of Bioshock Infinite were thoroughly enjoyable as far as marketing nonsense goes. Faux documentaries that showed glimpses of the city in the sky, its populace and artefacts, they were entertainingly odd and managed to win my approval despite showing nary a glimpse of the game itself. As the Burial At Sea DLC approaches – and with it a return to Rapture – 2K have released a new video, in the same style, examining the Modern Day Atlantis. It’s not quite as effective, mainly because I expected more than the sort of annoyance I greet Jehova’s Witnesses with when the narrator gravely intoned, “That’s when this happened”.

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BioShock: Infinite DLC Out Today, Rapture Campaign Soon

So, as guessed by people paying attention to Ken Levine last night, there’s to be BioShock: Infinite DLC. What a surprise. What’s more of a surprise is that one bit is out today. That is Clash In The Clouds, and is a bunch of challenges. Below you’ve got a trailer for that, and a teaser for something called Burial At Sea, which will be a new campaign set in Rapture!

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2K Marin’s Jordan ‘The Cradle’ Thomas Goes Indie

He might not have quite the profile of a Levine or Smith, but as a lead designer on Thief 3, particularly of The Cradle level, not to mention the similarly nerve-torturing Fort Frolic map in BioShock, Jordan Thomas is a name just as worth knowing. While being granted more overreaching control of a project resulted in 2K Marin’s smart, improved but too safe sequel BioShock 2, followed by a disappearance into the black hole which eventually morphed into The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, Thomas also took on some creative duties late in BioShock Infinite’s development. Now he’s moving away from franchises into creator-controlled, independent territory, and I am not-entirely-quietly confident that this will mean great things.
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Warren Spector On Life After Mickey, Going ‘No Weapons’

For the first time in ages, Deus Ex director Warren Spector is unemployed. The man who created what’s regarded by many as the greatest game of all time isn’t cracking any whips, cooking up cyber conspiracies, or teaching cartoon mice to sing. Instead, he’s taking some time to both teach and learn, which is what brought him to UC Santa Cruz’s recent Interactive Storytelling Symposium. There, he echoed the refrain that’s recently become his calling card: take games to new, interesting places, and don’t just lean on crutches from film, TV, and the like to do it. It was a call to action – a plea for tomorrow’s burgeoning brains to break outside the box and then burn the remains. Do not, however, mistake that for an admission of inaction on Spector’s part. Unemployed or not, his gears are churning again, and he’s starting to think about his next big move. After his session, Spector and I discussed why he can’t simply make another Deus-Ex-esque game, why he really wants to put a “no weapons restriction” on his next project, Kickstarter’s popularity among his pioneering peers, Epic Mickey in retrospect, and more.

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The Vigor Of Oz: Bishock Infinite’s Wizardly Parallels

The following theory is not true, but it could be. It’s surely no accident that BioShock Infinite often evokes The Wizard of Oz – there’s even an early stage of the game named after it. Even so, the similarities, be they deliberate or coincidental, run deeper than a turn-of-the-century character being mysteriously transported to an amazing world of technology and magic. Once I started down the yellow brick road of looking for parallels between Dorothy’s adventure in Oz and Booker’s adventure in Columbia, I couldn’t stop – I identified what seemed to be dozens of them. Am I onto something, or am I projecting? It doesn’t matter – this is purely a thought experiment, not a claim to accuracy, and I’m entirely sure you could achieve a similar effect by comparing Binfinite to Star Wars or the Bible or Peppa Pig. I’m doing this for fun. Mostly.

Also, SPOILERS UNBOUND. Do not read past this point if you haven’t completed the game. (Or if you somehow haven’t seen/read The Wizard of Oz). If you have, fire up Dark Side of the Moon and let’s go off to see the wizard.
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