Last week, we called on our fans to ask any questions they may have about the recently announced 1999 Mode for BioShock Infinite. We’re thankful to say that we received quite a few responses, and many of them shared common themes, giving us a nice selection of topics to cover. We handed these questions from the community over to Irrational Games Design Director Bill Gardner, who was more than happy to shed some light on what the new mode has to offer. Without further ado, take it away Bill!
Are you going to need to complete the game to unlock 1999 Mode or is it available from day one?
-Facebook User Brandon Jackson
Bill Gardner: 1999 Mode doesn’t require you to complete the game before you can experience it. However, since we don’t want just anybody stumbling across it by accident and getting overwhelmed, we’re toying with the idea of “unlocking” it from the main menu. I’m sure you can imagine some ways we might do that.
Will it have a limited number saves, or designated save points, or anything that interferes with saving your game?
-Facebook User Sam Gross
Bill Gardner: We have no plans to change the save system. We felt that this would not enhance the experience we’re going for with 1999 Mode.
Many regret adding weapon degeneration in SShock2, but I loved that disadvantage. Will there be weapon degen in 1999 Mode?
-Twitter user acantophis3rd
Bill Gardner: Weapon degeneration won’t be a feature in 1999 Mode.
Will this harder mode make the enemies smarter or merely tougher and more accurate like many games do?
-Irrational Games user danielhill
Bill Gardner: The scarcity of resources and the fact that you’re having to deal with enemies using the tools you’ve specialized in make the enemies feel a lot tougher. That said, we’re not changing the enemies on a behavioral level. Things like health and accuracy will be tuned differently, but enemies won’t be using any screw attacks, showing off fancy new abilities or anything like that.
I had understood that the Nostrums were a permanent modification of the player character, as opposed to the Tonics of BioShock which could be swapped out at a Gene Bank. If the permanent player mods are in the 1999 Mode, does that mean that Nostrums in the regular version are modifiable?
-Irrational Games user 1019ice
Bill Gardner: One of our goals in BioShock Infinite is to give your choices more meaning across the board. Nostrums are permanent choices in every mode. However, in 1999 Mode, we take this even further by raising the stakes and make it so that if you’re not specializing in something, you’re really not going to be use that tool effectively (be it a weapon, vigor or other tool). Your choices push you towards specific play styles, and these are choices you’re going to need to commit to. Once you walk down a path, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to change course.
Besides the experience and ultimate bragging rights, would 1999 Mode have a payoff you’d miss in a normal playthrough?
-Twitter user phonehands
Bill Gardner: Aside from the zen of achieving such a masterful feat? Yes, we’ll have regular achievements/trophies as well.
Does higher difficulty imply enemies will become bullet sponges or more aggressive / intelligent / numerous?
-Twitter user Frobitz
Bill Gardner: We have a bunch of ways we’re adjusting how deadly they are. The mode isn’t about introducing new content. Rather, it’s about approaching decisions with more caution. You have to choose which fights you can take on, along with which tools to specialize in, while committing to a long-term strategy.
For more info on the BioShock Infinite 1999 Mode, Bill and Ken Levine answer some questions to provide some additional reading: