The hardest difficulty mode in BioShock Infinite is called 1999 Mode. This nod to the more brutal difficulty levels of yesteryear featured unforgiving checkpoints, harder enemies, and a potential game over. Today, Irrational Games announced a new 1998 Mode for BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea DLC – Episode 2.

1998 Mode is an obvious tribute to a new first-person stealth game released during the same year: Thief: The Dark Project. The new mode takes advantage of the newly reintroduced crossbow, tasking players with performing non-lethal playthroughs similar to Garrett's adventures in Thief. Irrational Games was inspired to include the mode after watching players performing self-restricted, no-kill playthroughs of BioShock Infinite.

“In Burial at Sea – Episode Two we put a focus on balance and stealth mechanics,” says Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games on the developer's blog. “As we were developing this new style of gameplay, we started to see people self-impose non-lethal playthrough’s. Given the fan reception of 1999 Mode, we thought it would be cool to give them another way to play Burial at Sea that challenged their mastery of stealth tools.”

BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea – Episode 2 arrives on PC, 360, and PS3 on March 25. You can check out the opening moments of the DLC here, and read our review of the first episode here.

Our Take
Irrational's decision to pay tribute to its fan's emerging new playstyles is a great way to show them they care. The new mode may also add additional replay value to those who prefer to play it guns blazing first, which is always nice.