When BioShock: Infinite was delayed last May, moving from an October 2012 release window to its current February 2013 slot, the general consensus was that Irrational Games was developing a multiplayer component for the game, allotting time to implement the proper networking infrastructure and experimenting with rumored modes like tower defense and four-player co-op. (The later, titled “Spec Ops,” was said to indeed mirror the competitive cooperative features found in the Modern Warfare mode of the same name.)

But that notion quickly faded. Irrational Games head Ken Levine has been consistently coy about discussing multiplayer — he asserted that BioShock: Infinite would only add online play if it stood out from current mainstays like Call of Duty and Halo — and a rumor arrived in August claiming the aforementioned components had been scrapped, mid-development. It took much of the surprise out of today, when Levine did, without mincing words, give the official no-go on BioShock: Infinite multiplayer.

Responding to fans on Twitter (at what turned out to be the precipice of an epic question-and-answer session), Levine confirmed the component’s absence about as succinctly as possible:

The exclusion comes after BioShock 2 — a game which, though highly reviewed, never managed to grab the popularity mantle from the original BioShock — included a multitude of multiplayer modes such as Team ADAM Grab and Last Splicer Standing, and added even more features through extensive DLC.  That a triple-A franchise would omit multiplayer — even after it was already developed for its predecessor? It opposes just about every trend of the modern industry. But then we can’t say we’re too disappointed: One look at the ambition and magnitude of Infinite’s single-player campaign — the fantastical floating city of Columbia, the civil war between the Founders and the Vox Populi, new powers and weapons and enemies between new protagonists Booker and Elizabeth — and it’s almost refreshing to see Irrational focus on their obvious strong suit.

And such a focus may be needed now more than ever.

Bioshock Infinite No Multiplayer Levine

Renouncing Infinite’s multiplayer in two-and-a-half words, Levine certainly dispelled one bit of confusion for his followers on Twitter. But unfortunately, uncertain fans of wolverine1111’s ilk are a growing demographic when it comes to BioShock: Infinite in general. Since going dark at the end of this Spring — Infinite even skipped an appearance at E3 2012, a year after we awarded it Best in Show at E3 2011 — the project has witnessed an alarming spate of departures from key developers: art director Nate Wells, product development director Tim Gerritsen, senior AI producer Don Norbury, and senior combat designer Clint Bundrick. The fact remains that multiplayer was tried, and to a certain extend failed, before Levine decided to pull the plug, and while we’re still optimistic, we’re hoping it’s not a harbinger of Infinite’s final form.

Are you glad Irrational Games decided to shelve multiplayer for BioShock Infinite?

BioShock Infinite is slated to release February 26, 2013 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Ken Levine Twitter [via VG 24/7]