Keeping secrets is hard.
The last three years for me have been dominated by a single question: “What are you guys doing there?”
Some of you were pretty certain it was an X-COM game, which I can now safely say it is not. It is also not part of the Freedom Force, SWAT, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, Kingdom Hearts or Yar’s Revenge franchises. The time for discussing what Irrational Games is NOT doing is over.
Today we announce BioShock Infinite.
That’s right, this is a BioShock game.
It’s a sequel.
But it’s also not a sequel.
Let me explain.
At Irrational Games, we believe that in order to fulfill expectations, you have to defy expectations.
When we completed the original BioShock, we felt we had said all we wanted to say with Rapture, but we weren’t done with the idea that is BioShock. BioShock is so much more than a story of a single place or a single time. We had so much more we wanted to say.
There are two core principles for us that define a BioShock game. First, it has to be set in a world that is both fantastical and yet also grounded in the human experience. Second, it has to provide gamers with a large set of tools, and then set them loose in an environment that empowers them to solve problems in their own way.
It would have been easier for us to go back to the well. We could have taken the easy route. We could have simply done more of the same, but we would not have been true to ourselves as game developers. Making the original BioShock was hard. We challenged ourselves every step of the way, and we tossed aside many elements and ideas simply because they weren’t good enough.
So when we started the sequel, we said to ourselves: “We want to expand on those core principles, but beyond that, there are no sacred cows. Everything else that people know or think they know about BioShock is open for negotiation.”
You will find yourself in a completely new world. Columbia is not an unknown secret city at the bottom of the sea. It’s a creation of an America transforming from a regional agrarian collection of states into a world power with global reach.
You now play an actual character, and not a cypher who is unaware of his own identity. You are Booker Dewitt, a particular character with an established history, with a voice you will hear as he talks to himself and others in the game.
You’ve come to Columbia for a reason: to find a mysterious young woman named Elizabeth and bring her safely out of the city. She will travel with you, interact with you, and react to the situations you cause to happen, and through your relationship with her, we’re able to tell the story of this new and amazing world.
This world of Columbia presents radical differences in scale from what you are used to. You’re not crawling through corridors on the ocean floor, claustrophobic with the weight of the ocean bearing down on you. Instead you find yourself navigating through huge environments, zipping around on Sky-Lines at eighty miles per hour and getting into firefights at ranges of two thousand yards.
In fact, there is so much new and radical about BioShock Infinite that we simply can’t tell you all about it in one revelation. What we present to the world today is merely the tip of a very large iceberg. In the coming months we’ll begin to reveal more of what BioShock Infinite is all about and let the world know why we are so excited.
For now, we want to thank you all for your patience, and for sticking with us all these many months while we labored in silence.The time for silence is over. First up for the fans of this site is another episode of Irrational Behavior with Shawn Elliott that covers the announcement of BioShock Infinite and the work that led up to it. I’m sure you’ll dig it.
Down the road a bit, actual gameplay footage awaits. It’s something you’re going to want to watch more than once. Trust me on this one.