BioShock Preview: The Powers And People Of Columbia - Bioshock Infinite - Xbox 360 -
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Bioshock Infinite

BioShock Preview: The Powers And People Of Columbia

When Irrational Games revealed BioShock Infinite last year after three years of silence, the game’s colorful and controversial world left many gamers breathless with anticipation for more info. Now we’ve gone another nine months without any new info, but a new 10-minute live demo proves that the original video was barely scratching the surface.

As the demo picks up, main character Booker DeWitt steps into a shop full of patriotic tchotchkes with Elizabeth, the young woman he’s been hired to rescue from the troubled floating city of Columbia. As the two pick through the piles of junk in the store, Booker is able to loot items in a manner similar to previous BioShock games. Be prepared to once more open every cash register and cabinet that you come across in your attempt to fill up on random items.

After exchanging some quips, Elizabeth and Booker find themselves in sudden danger. The building shakes, and a gigantic creature appears at the window with a shriek, placing a single open eye against the glass. This is Songbird, the flying menace that was referred to only as "Him" in the original BioShock Infinite gameplay demo. While it’s difficult to tell what exactly Songbird is, its huge eye operates like a floodlight shining into the room. The duo hides behind a desk to avoid notice.

After sweeping the room several times with its blinding eye, Songbird takes off, its harsh cries echoing through the city. Booker attempts to rouse a clearly shaken Elizabeth. "Promise me," she whispers. "Promise me that if it comes to it, you will not let him take me back." She places Booker’s hands around her throat suggestively. Off-screen, BioShock mastermind Ken Levine explains that Songbird has been Elizabeth’s "jailor, her only friend, and her guardian" since she was five years old.

Booker pulls his hands away. "It won’t come to that," he responds.

The two exit the shop, entering the overly bright yet disturbingly empty streets of Columbia. Elizabeth has asked Booker to help her find Comstock, the leader of the ultra-nationalistic Founders and the one person in Columbia who may be able to help her learn to control her powers. Elizabeth hums "Hush, Little Baby" as she wanders absentmindedly around a corner. Booker rushes after her. She has discovered a dying horse. Booker aims his gun at the animal, intending to put it outs of its misery, but she stops him: "Wait, there’s a tear."

The reason that Elizabeth is so important -- and presumably the reason she’s been locked away in Columbia for most of her life -- is her ability to manipulate these so-called "tears." These rips in the fabric of reality are visible to everyone in Columbia, but only Elizabeth can put them to use. Her powers allow her to open a tear and briefly tap into other potential realities, bringing them into existence in Columbia.

In the case of this horse, Elizabeth concentrates hard, and for a few seconds the horse springs to life along with the grass underneath it. Then, suddenly, she loses control and the scene surrounding Elizabeth and Booker changes entirely. They’re on an empty asphalt street. Lampposts light the road, and a movie theater nearby advertises a showing of Revenge of the Jedi. An ambulance comes screaming down the road toward them. Booker shouts for Elizabeth to close the tear, and she pulls it off mere seconds before the two are run down.

  • Cool.

  • I'm a die hard Bioshock fan, even have my bioshock chain tats. Can't wait for this game.
  • Looks fantastic! I hope it retains as much character as the first. I felt the second fell short in that aspect. If only they would have kept the vending machine soundbites....
  • I am completely psyched for this game! The fact that it's going back to the original studio makes it even more awesome!

  • This is looking really good.

  • This game is going to be an unstoppable force. Levine and his team are going to pull something truly magnificent off with this game. Mark my words.

  • I know I'm going to get hate for this, but I'm just not feeling this game. The idea is cool, the art direction is cool, but I just can't get excited for this game. I loved the first BioShock, and the second one was decent. This is being made by Irrational, so it'll be good. I just can't see myself playing it though.
  • So...when do we get to watch it?
  • Cool. I hope this demo is shown at E3 and released to the public for viewing. It sounds like it is coming along. I would like to know about weapons and powers. Also why are the pictures the same situation but different?
  • Say hello to GoTY 2012...Unless it get's delayed.
  • We've been waiting so long for new info that you published the story 3 times for 3 different systems with 3 different images.

  • Sounds very very interesting!
  • Double post o.o?

    Edit: Guess so, the other PS3 post of this story is being moved or something. I'll just say what I said at the other.

    >:/ I must say, the slight variation to Elizabeth is a step in the wrong direction - strictly speaking for myself, the brown hair and rounder face has made for a much less eye-grabbing portrait
  • This isn't Rapture anymore...
  • Sounds great. Looking forward to more gameplay footage.

  • But is it BioShock in the sky?
  • Does anyone know if this game is going to have MP?
  • Mod
    uh am i the only one who noticed the revenge of the jedi reference? apparently time travel is involved in these tears? (and why revenge and not return, unless it's a typo?) the idea of those tears is fascinating; i can't wait to see how they're implemented in the gameplay.
  • looks awesome, still hoping they change elizabeth's design though, doesn't match anything

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