Wrapping up our tour of 2K’s E3 booth behind the scenes I was introduced to Tim Garrotson who is the Executive Producer of Irrational Games, the company developing Bioshock Infinite who helped walk us through the demonstration that they had set up in the room. Bioshock Infinite takes place on the floating town of Colombia. Colombia used to be a prosperous city that was built as a floating city to astonish the world and show the things that the United States is capable of. Shortly after it was launched however it was discovered that Colombia was more than just a prestigious place to live, but a battle ready fortress as well.
During the Boxer Rebellion, Colombia fired upon Chinese protesters and the fallout from the event caused the United States government to disown Colombia and let the city pass from memory as it continued to float around the world as a forgotten city. That is until now.The long isolated city has now fallen into a state of civil war with the Founders on one side, attempting to retain order and hold things the way that they were and the Vox Populi who are a rebellion group set on overthrowing the Founders.
Players will be in control of Booker DeWitt who has been sent to Colombia in an effort to save a woman named Elizabeth who possesses a powerful ability and is being held captive by a monstrous giant metal bird looking creature called Songbird. We join Booker and Elizabeth shortly around 3/4ths of the way in and things are calm at first. So much so that the long isolated Elizabeth can find some enjoyment in the novelty’s inside the shop that Booker entered to try and find some supplies. She is very light hearted at times and plays with a Lincoln mask and believes fake gold is real.
All of that is shattered in instant as we hear Songbird approach and both Booker and Elizabeth take cover and hide behind a counter as it passes by, with pure terror easy to read on Elizabeth’s face. Shortly after leaving the store the two come across a wounded horse. The game presented an option to execute the horse and put it out of its misery, but the developer chose not to, and instead we were introduced to Elizabeth’s ability to open up tears in time and she attempts to reverse time in the area of the wounded horse. However she is unable to control her power and manages to throw both herself and Booker into a 1980’s street where you can see an advertisement for Star Wars on the outside of a theater. She manages to cancel the tear before being run over by an ambulance.
Elizabeth’s ability to interact with different tears in reality can allow her to repair broken objects, spawn cover or even spawn a door that was never there before to find other routes for any given battle. The choice system appears again as Elizabeth and Booker come across an imminent execution of a post worker by the Vox Populi. This time the developer chose to stop the execution which caused battle to be entered and the approach of a giant blimp with rockets. The combat system in Bioshock Infinite seemed to focus on entirely gunfire at this point of the demonstration with only a sparing use of special abilities. This could be a bit of a disappointment to those wishing to focus on using powers rather than guns. After very elaborately transversing the rail system by hopping back and forth between rails on the grappling hook, Booker manages to take the blimp down.
Not everything is good however, as soon as Elizabeth and Booker think they are safe, Songbird appears visually this time, grabbing Booker and throwing him through the sky into a building, all through the first person view. The only reason that Booker isn’t murdered right there by the giant bird is that Elizabeth begs for its forgiveness and says she will return with Songbird. The game demo ends with Songbird picking up Elizabeth and walking away, while Booker fades into unconsciousness on the floor, creating a very touching, but tinged with desperation, image of Elizabeth reaching for Booker in an effort to remain free from Songbirds grasp.