Friday, August 13, 2010

Still Kind of a Silly Title....

Irrational Games has finally revealed their new project. Would you kindly go have a look?

Spoilers ahead

I wasn't really sure what to expect, but thankfully Bioshock Infinite wasn't really it. On some level, the domain "" had me thinking lofty thoughts (possibly something to do with the indie game "guns of icarus"?), but codenames are unreliable. Anyway, I'm cautiously optimistic. You see, Bioshock Infinite seems to be tied to the original game (and its sequel) by name and by gameplay, not by narrative and characters. I thought Bioshock 2 was already trying to beat a dead horse by revisiting a story in which most - if not all - of the interesting characters were already dead. That's why I think the new trailer is actually quite good; it pretended to be more of the same until I had almost lost my enthusiasm for this secret thing they had been foreshadowing for about a week...and then POW!, they toss you into a flying city as if to say "what, you thought we were THAT dumb? COME ON".

It's still a long way out (16mo says Kotaku, and you know how development cycles are), but here's a list of the things I like so far:

  • Not everyone will attack you on sight, apparently
  • "Murder of Crows" is a power that lets you ATTACK PEOPLE WITH BIRDS*

And here, a list of some concerns I have

  • Bioshock's AI kinda blew, and the developers shied away from letting you interact with characters face-to-face. Irrational can write a decent story, but between System Shock 2 and Bioshock, there was no difference in presentation; it was relayed through uninteractive audio diaries. Half-Life 2 set a pretty high bar, and almost every CRPG since the dawn of time has at least let you talk to people. I would rather be a participant in a videogame story than a mostly-passive observer.
  • Bioshock's vaunted "moral choice" was pretty lame after a while. You can do better than "Press X to be good, press Y to be evil".
  • Vertical gameplay. It's a super-tall city in the sky, I hope they take advantage of that to build some novel combat scenarios. Irrational did make a Tribes game, and while it was decidedly a weak one, they should at least understand the Dynamix formula: Shooter + Jetpack = WIN

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