PC Gamer recently caught up with Bioshock Infinite mastermind Ken Levine in an interview which shares some unprecedented insight into the back story and characters that will drive the game, as well as some of the unique challenges that formed part of the game’s development process.
Unlike its predecessors, Bioshock Infinite will take place in the sky upon the floating city of Columbia, which is vast and suspended by a complex and vast network of massive balloons. Players will take on the role of Booker DeWitt, who is trying to get off of Columbia with a girl named Elizabeth before she is captured by a mysterious steam-punk robot known as Songbird.
Amidst the escape and rescue operation, Columbia is being ravaged by a revolution. The people of Columbia, known as the Vox Populi, want desperately to see Columbia fall from the sky even though it means they will die with it. The founders of Colmbia, on the other hand, want to preserve the city.
Both sides believe in a prophecy which proclaims that should Elizabeth die, Columbia will fall. So the founders want her locked up, while the Vox Populi want her dead.
Levine confirmed that the Vox Populi are essentially staging a mass suicide. They may be part of the city which they wish to see “but you know what? They don’t care.”
A core feature of the game will be the emotional connection that players will need to feel with Elizabeth. When asked how the developer aims to achieve this over a relatively short period of time, Levine had this to say:
“In terms of emotional connection, I thought about this for a long time. Because you only know this character for a period of hours, and you have to make a connection with her. And in real life that just doesn’t happen – relationships take a long time to form.”
“How can you make a relationship form quickly? How do you cement a relationship fast?”
And one of the things that we kept coming back to was soldiers – the kinds of bonds that soldiers form, when their lives are in danger and they make these incredible sacrifices for each other. And I think that it is sacrifice that makes people form relationships very, very quickly, with people that you don’t really know very well.
And so, “It’s basically a story of sacrifice” said Levine.
Bioshock Infinite is due out sometime this year, and will be released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.