Fans of BioShock: Infinite are likely still trying to process the fact that after months of silence regarding DLC, Irrational Games has finally pulled back the curtains. Not only will the first batch of story-focused DLC – ‘Burial At Sea’ – be giving the player the chance to control Elizabeth, it will be sending both of the game’s stars back to the underwater city of Rapture.
How that story will begin, play out, and fit into the larger BioShock fiction is something fans could spend years debating. Luckily, the game’s creative director Ken Levine has opened up about what players can expect, which characters will be returning, and how Infinite‘s DLC will enrich the story of both BioShock games, not just the most recent.
If the announcement trailer for ‘Burial at Sea’ gave off a distinct film noir, hard-boiled-detective-story vibe, it’s no mistake. In an interview with Eurogamer, Levine explained that even though a pair of characters are seemingly being lifted from one time and place into another, it will all make sense in the end…
“At the very beginning, you’re Booker, private detective in Rapture, in your office and this woman comes in, and you two don’t seem to know each other, and we don’t explain that. We always like to put people in a place where there’s a story that ends up making sense, but we don’t want the obvious… We like people immediately having a sense of wondering what’s going on.
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“…it all will make sense eventually. The story takes place on New Year’s Eve, 1958, which is the night that the bombing happened in the original Rapture and the revolution started, and we were really excited, having done all the work on the population – a living, breathing population in Columbia – because Rapture was a tomb, y’know? Originally we wanted to show Rapture when it was fully alive, but do it in the context of an interesting story, not just to go back and talk about Midi-chlorians, you know? To do it in a sort of integrated way, but to tell a story we thought was important to tell with these characters as well.”
There’s no need to explain the desire to see Rapture before its fall from glory, since the living, breathing, and optimistic world of Columbia designed for Infinite was one of its most complimented aspects (read our review). Of course, explaining how Booker and Elizabeth wind up in the underwater city decades after the events of the first game, with no recollection of the past (on Booker’s part, at least) will be more difficult.
But for players who fear that the quantum mechanical riddles of Infinite will overshadow the simpler, more straightforward plot points of the first BioShock, Levine promises plenty of familiar faces:
“Like all story things, I’m going to be sort of vague about things, but the experience takes you both through a part of Rapture that’s pristine and you’ll meet some characters… You know, this is about a year before the events of BioShock 1, and so you’ll meet some characters before they’ve gone as deeply crazy as they have [in BioShock]. Some fan favourites, but they’re not just cameos – they’re deeply integrated into the story.
“And then there’s a fair amount of the action takes place in… After Fontaine’s business was taken over by Ryan, he had to put all of Fontaine’s people somewhere. A lot of the action takes place in an old department store – a Fontaine department store – that’s been sucked to the bottom of the ocean. They’re all sort of put in there as basically a sort of Alcatraz. So part of the action takes place in a very traditional BioShock 1 kind of feeling with lots of splicers and broken, screwed-up stuff, and part of it takes place in a very pristine Rapture, so you really get to see both of those experiences.”
A mix of old and new is a wise move for Irrational, with a balance between the atmosphere of the first game in the series and the more action-packed combat of the most recent becoming a top priority. Levine also explained that while the first episode of the two-part DLC will be modeled after Booker’s combat prowess in Infinite – with the addition of a new vigor/plasmid and, presumably, a slightly-modified Elizabeth – the second episode will place players into Elizabeth’s shoes. as a result, the gameplay will be brought much closer to that of BioShock‘s slower, more methodical progress.
What do you think of the possibility of seeing Booker and Elizabeth pulled fully into the tale of Rapture? Are you intrigued by the story Levine and co. may have in mind that needed them to tell, or were you hoping for more time in Columbia? Give us your reactions in the comments.
No word yet on when BioShock: Infinite‘s ‘Burial at Sea’ DLC will be released, but Levine seems less than optimistic that both episodes will arrive before the next-gen consoles launch. Be sure to read the full interview here, and we’ll keep you updated when news arrives.
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