Irrational Games took a select few behind closed doors to give them a sneak peek into some gameplay footage of BioShock Infinite. Being a huge fan of the series, I was honored to be invited. When I walked into the room, my eyes fixated on a statue of a woman with a flag draped in her arms, like the screenshots that we have seen before. Posters from the game were part of the theme, as well as older decor to match the setting of BioShock Infinite. I took a few pictures of the room, to share with you. I could not take pictures or record video or audio of the special showing, though.
That morning, I met Ken Levine and took my picture with him, which was the highlight of my morning, until I found that I didn't have an SD card in my camera. I saw him later that day and got to take another picture with him. He is a very very nice man and even advised me to check my camera, before we parted ways. That was the highlight of my entire E3 trip- seeing some behind-the-scenes footage of a franchise that I hold so highly, and meeting the master-mind and team behind the series.
They came out and shared some of the storyline of BioShock Infinite that we already knew. They explain that the game's protagonist is Booker DeWitt, who is an ex-Pinkerton agent that is down on his luck. His latest paying job is to get Elizabeth, who was previously jailed, home. Elizabeth's jailer, Songbird, is always after them, to take Elizabeth back. BioShock games are known for their amazing characters and Songbird is no exception to this. Songbird looks like a giant robotic bird, that will remind you of the underwater characters that you are familiar with from Rapture. Songbird is made to be feared and loved, at the same time. Elizabeth has known nothing of the outside world. Although Songbird is her warden, he is also her only contact, therefor, her only friend. When Songbird peeks his head into a window of a store that they are in, it is intense and submerges you into the game to where you feel Elizabeth's fear of this creature. The relationship is very strange....loving yet terrifying. Booker promises Elizabeth that he will not let Songbird get to her. Instead of accepting that promise, she asks him to promise something that he can keep, she gestures for him to kill her, because Songbird will, if he gets close to capturing her.
Elizabeth and Booker run through the city of Columbia. The location of the floating city of Columbia has been lost, since the United States government disowned it after an incident in which they fired at Chinese civilians. They briefly reminded us about the two groups of people that formed and then got right into the gameplay.
As they took us through a stage in Columbia, you see Booker and Elizabeth running around in the city, as they stumble into a store where they gather weapons. So far, the weapon mechanics seem to match up to the previous titles in the franchise. As Booker engages in battle with the civilians of Columbia, they showed that he can levitate the enemies and use that in his battle advantage. He can levitate them to bring about any that may be hiding behind boxes, and then shoot them in midair. He can also hold them up in front of an incoming Sky-Lines freight carriers to kill them. These powers will be much like those that were available by using Eve Hypo in BioShock 1 and 2.
Irrational Games kept the eeriness of the setting. Although it is not based in an underwater city that is intriguing, yet terrifying all at the same time, Columbia gives that same feeling. The city's beauty is defined throughout the game's beautiful and vivid colors. The statues and other city monuments, bring the city to life, however since it was disowned, the city took on an eerie feel. The civilians will fight anyone that gets in their way, so Booker has to know when to perform a good deed, or when to just try to slip by without any type of confrontation. You can choose to save other civilians that may be in the midst of being executed, but you must be aware of the repercussions that this can cause.
The city has their form of transportation called the Sky-Line. The sky line is Colubia's train system that runs through rails in the sky. The gameplay video showed much of the intensity of jumping from sky-line rails to sky-line rails, using a Sky-Hook. The Sky-Hook looks like a gun, with a hook that allows you to hang on, and ride the lines. Jumping from one to another, is much like the feeling you get when you are going down a roller coaster, the fear of the unknown. A video of Ken Levine explaining the concept of the Sky-Line can be viewed below.
The gameplay also gave us more of a peek into Elizabeth's powers. She is trying to use them, but is inexperienced with them and has to try to gain control of her powers, before she can help Booker get her out of there. They run into a dead horse, and as she is trying to revive the horse, the sense of time travel is there. One point, she takes herself and Booker into a modern city, that has "Return of the Jedi" as a movie listed at a theater. It seems like she can travel in time to recreate events and unfold them to have a different ending that what had a actually happened.
BioShock Infinite is full of action-packed goodness and I am excited for it to hit shelves in 2012. Do not let the the fact that it is not based in Rapture sway you away from the title. The developers have proved that they can create an equally interesting city above the ground and create the intensity in the city with amazing features and characters.
We will keep you connected with all the latest BioShock Infinite news as it comes in.