The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
Life isn't fair. Irrational Games put out one of the best games of 2013 (if not the entire console generation) when it released Bioshock Infinite. Ken Levine and his team spent years building one of the best-realized and compelling worlds in gaming. It was incredible.
That's why it's so unfair that Irrational shut down.
"I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it," studio head Ken Levine writes. "I'll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two. That is going to mean parting ways with all but about fifteen members of the Irrational team."
This sucks. Even though 2K said Bioshock will live on at 2K Marin, you know and I know it won't be the same. 2K Marin is best known for Bioshock 2, aka the Attack of the Clones of Bioshock. While decent, it lacked the imagination and vigor of the other two.
Bioshock as we know it is dead. With Irrational dead and Ken Levine's team disbanded, we may never see another Bioshock game like 1 and Infinite. This is probably the end of the line. Maybe we'll get crappy sequels to Infinite from 2K Marin that rehash old ground... it's what they do best.
To help say goodbye, I dusted off my Steam copy of Bioshock and replayed the main campaign. Every moment amazed me. Everything from climbing the lighthouse to learning why Booker has "AD" branded onto his hand to flying around on skylines.
Bioshock Infinite is the kind of game we need more of. It boasts incredible imagination and an in-game world few can compete against. The sheer creativity behind everything here puts other games to shame. I wish more games had even a fraction of the freshness Infinite offers.
Columbia is just... awesome. Irrational spent its time well building story into every nook and cranny. Playing the game for the second time, I found odd corners and pieces of story I'd missed the first time around. Blink in Columbia and you'll miss a bit of character development.
Gameplay is stronger than I remember it being. Sure, it leans too heavily on arenas, but there's enough depth to keep me interested. Figuring out how to use and combine all the powers I'd skipped over last time around was great fun. On a related note, I have no idea how I went this long without using Return to Sender. Catching bullets makes things so much easier.
I loved every second of Bioshock Infinite. My first thought after finishing it was to play it all over again. Experience the brilliant story, the solid gameplay, the world. Nothing replicates that Alice-in-Wonderland feeling you get from walking into Columbia for the first time.
That's what Bioshock is about: creativity, discovery, and adventure. I remember reading Game Informer's cover story for Bioshock Infinite way back in 2010. Ken Levine said the team loved the idea of starting over in a whole new environment, of redoing everything.
That makes Bioshock special. Other games run you through shooting galleries and set piece moments. Bioshock games toss you into an unbelievable world to follow a fascinating story through fun gameplay. The magic of discovery is the glue that holds everything together. You're not just fighting bad guys, you're defending Elizabeth from the Vox and holy cow is that a giant mechanical man how am I going to kill that?
Bioshock Infinite also deserves kudos for its bold storytelling. It didn't dumb it down or condescend to the player. It even addressed hidden parts of gaming we normally take for granted. When Booker kills a dozen guys in front of Elizabeth, she's horrified. She calls him a monster. You're a guy who runs around killing people, and the game doesn't hesitate to call you evil for doing that.
You don't see that kind of acknowledgement in other games. Nathan Drake is a charming rogue, despite leaving a trail of bodies that could stretch across a continent. Uncharted never acknowledges that disconnect. It's not like Bioshock.
I'll miss Irrational Games. Whatever future Bioshock games we get won't be the same. They'll be decent. They just won't have the same magic you felt walking into Rapture or Columbia for the first time. They won't be bold, won't be new and surprising.
They won't be Bioshock.