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.