In the story of the BioShock video games, Rapture has always been the star. That’s why it’s a surprise that the dark, underwater city is missing from the newly announced BioShock Infinite. Gamers got their first look at a new city, Columbia, and its placement is about as far as you can get from the ocean floor. BioShock Infinite is scheduled to be released in 2012 for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.
The trailer of BioShock Infinite
The trailer opens in the familiar waters of the ocean floor. A Big Daddy is seen. A city looms in the background. The scene lightens to reveal that the “city” is merely decoration in a fish tank. The base of the buildings bear the words “1893 Chicago World’s Fair.” The tank is shaken and broken. The person holding is thrown to the ground. A small Big Daddy statue is on the floor. What looks like a real Big Daddy moves into frame. Instead of the familiar diving helmet, a beating heart is shown suspended in a helmet filled with water. The creature takes the person and throws them out the window. The glass breaks and we are shown a magnificent floating city.
This is Columbia. American flags, airships, and propaganda posters are everywhere. The person grabs on to the side of a ship, tearing the fabric. As he falls again, roses fly up, and the person stops, perhaps through the use of plasmids. A girl is stretching her hand out on a balcony. In the background faint whispering is heard. She is ripped through a door by an arm belonging to the creature from the beginning of the trailer. The person then falls again as the screen goes to black.
The story of Columbia and BioShock Infinite
Columbia looks like a steampunk city in the sky. Building are floating on what looks like balloons. The game takes place in 1912, right as the Industrial Revolution was taking hold. It also means the new game happens about 50 years before the original. Columbia was founded on the ideals of patriotism, democracy, and progress but just like in Rapture these ideas are taken to the extreme. Although, Columbia doesn’t seem as devolved as Rapture, with its spliced up, crazy citizens.
Columbia was involved in some terrible international event. The city then disappears for years, floating in the skies. Few people know where it actually is. BioShock Infinite starts with players as Booker DeWitt. DeWitt is hired by a mysterious man who knows where Columbia is. The mission is to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman who has been held captive in Columbia since childhood. Elizabeth has some sort of special powers. Together they must escape the unstable citizens of the city.
BioShock Infinite game play
Infinite will be a First Person Shooter, just like the other two games. Even though you have Elizabeth to help, she is not a playable character. Guns and some sort of superpowers can be used. In the demo, your character can be seen drinking a liquid that gives him the power to control a flock of birds. There are also powers like telekinesis, electricity, and the ability to create storms. Even though the characters have powers, using them can drain DeWitt and Elizabeth.
Besides the weapons, players can use Skyline to their advantage. Skyline is a complex series of zip lines that help the player move through the city. The lines can also be used as a tactical strategy to flank enemies. The enemies of Columbia are a bit different from Rapture. In the first two BioShock games, just about everyone was out to get your character. In Infinite, the citizens don’t automatically attack and some of them don’t attack at all. Players are confronted with figuring out if people are friends or foes and sometimes only certain things will trigger an attack.
Even though BioShock Infinite will not take place in Rapture, there seems to be many elements from the other games in this one. It’s been reported that it is not a prequel to the older BioShock games. Still, it’s hard not to image that perhaps Columbia was a precursor to Rapture. There are powers that sound like plasmids, odd citizens of a weird city, and big metal creatures. Maybe as more details are released, we will learn if Columbia and Rapture are related in any way. For now, I await the time where I’ll be able to fly the skies in the BioShock universe.