In transitioning from the first BioShock to BioShock Infinite there were going to be a lot of changes for Irrational Games' Ken Levine. While BioShock featured a protagonist who did not speak, who was merely a vessel through which the story was explained to us, the characters of Booker and Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite are living, breathing manifestations of a story that Levine and the team at Irrational have carefully crafted.
That means that BioShock Infinite, when compared to its predecessor (or at least the last one from Irrational), will have a ton more lines of dialogue. In fact, as Levine revealed, just one scene in Infinite features 3 or 4 times more dialogue than BioShock does from start to finish.
It could be misconstrued that this means Infinite is a much larger game in scope that BioShock 1 (that still may be the case), but this simply means that Levine is paying more attention to the characters this time around. Booker and Elizabeth's interactions, if the game's first trailers are any indication, are integral to the story of Infinite, and they help introduce the world of Columbia to the player.
There's a lot of set-up that needs to exist in BioShock Infinite and it can't simply be an experience that is filled with audio recording after audio recording — although we do hope those make appearances too. As the protagonist discovered in BioShock so did the player, but in Infinite we're entering a world that is living and breathing and dealing with its of-the-moment problems.
"That makes it more challenging, as you keep on ramping up the audience's expectations of the kind of stories you're going to tell. So you come up with certain rules, like, if there's ever a moment where the player is locked to the ground, there must be some context. We don't just lock a player's feet to the ground. There has to be a reason why they can't move - they're using a machine or something."
It wouldn't take much more to get us excited about BioShock Infinite, but just a brief taste of the scope of the storytelling makes every little detail seen all the more tantalizing. To know that the interactions between Booker and Elizabeth were given purpose and not just there for ancillary information or to break the silence, should make for a game that is so detailed it begs to be played at least twice.
Do you like your games to be filled with dialogue, or would you rather let the story wash over you?
BioShock Infinite releases October 16, 2012 for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.