Bioshock Infinite VP
Welcome all to the Bioshock Infinite Vox Populi. If you don't know these are a kind of focused forum on particular topics such as existing or upcoming games. I ask 10 or so questions and if people are interested they write in with answers and I organize them with my own thoughts so you can see the broad strokes of what a group of gamers think which could loosely represent the opinions of many.
This is the very first "Future" Vox which I'm hoping to do more of. I'm sorry if some of my regular contributors missed out but I'm really trying to get the Killzone Vox Populi out of the way before I return to the grindstone.
Bioshock Infinite is an important shooter for many of us. It marks Irrational's first return to the spotlight in almost 5 years after the original masterpiece that was Bioshock. It's the only game in the FPS format that I'll consider buying next year unless Valve decide its teased us for long enough I'm especially interested in the answers that have been put forward for the questions I asked a couple of days ago..
As before, if you missed out answering the questions (I'm burning through these at a fair rate so it's my fault) then send me your answers and I'll add them with a special citation of your name if I'm feeling extraordinarily generous. Thankyou all for contributing and for those of you who are seeing this for the first time don't hesitate to submit answers or ask me questions.
1. What are your hopes regarding Columbia? Can it be as enchanting and mysterious as Rapture?
endorbr: The idea of Columbia has some definite potential. Irrational has done a good job so far of showing off footage that looks jaw dropping. The world really seems lived in and full of detail. It looks like you'll be able to spend a lot of time just wandering around looking at things and being amazed at how it helps to immerse you in the story. I really like the idea that opening up on everyone you come across is not necessarily the best approach. The fact that they took the time to populate the world with characters that aren't necessarily your enemy just opens up new avenues for the city as a playable environment.
Kid_Black_Star: THE SKY Holy S'it That's AMAZING~! but I think that there could be a lot of mystery maybe the usage of clouds would be a breath taking experience mysterious has hell. My Biggest hope is for some deep exploration within the game, a few side quest here and there depending on your Karma. Help The People Or Throw em out of the sky.
Koi-Neon-X: I feel Rapture is one-of-a kind, but I think Columbia can achieve it's own mystique. I intrigued by this place in the air and can't wait to experience it.
Iridescent406: I definitely think there's a strong atmosphere to it (as most games that take place in the friggin' sky).
Me: Personally I want Columbia to make me feel unwelcome, Rapture felt comfortable by the end of the first game whereas in Columbia I want to feel like I'm in the bad part of town and somebody is watching me with a calculating expression. Basically I want Columbia to be as mysterious as Rapture but more…animal, I want to feel like I'm being hunted rather than being observed, something that the Song Bird seems to be promising.
2. Should Infinite be defined by philosophical ideals like Rapture has been?
Koi-Neon-X: I think it would be a good idea. The philosophical ideals in the first two BioShock games gave Rapture a personality maybe even a motivation to be what it is.
endorbr: It looks like it definitely will be. There are at least two very obvious ideological sides in the conflict that seems to be erupting in Columbia. I think it really added a lot of depth to Rapture and the story of the people living in it to have diametrically opposed viewpoints clash. I think the same could be said for setting you as a character who isn't aligned with either side, but is very much affected by those viewpoints actions in Columbia.
Iridescent406: Really depends on whether or not this game wants to be different or similar to what the series has already offered. But I'd personally like it.
Me: Strangely I'd rather Columbia be defined by base instincts and fears rather than the calculated ideals and motives of Andrew Ryan. The whole "Burden us not with your chaff" statement makes me wonder if it would not be better for the world to have been created by mad, bigoted individuals with a collective hatred for other races rather than an intelligent ideology. Especially given that we haven't seen much in the way of intellectuals in Columbia, it seems more like a city built on simple convictions rather than grandiose proclamations and I hope it's the case.
Kid_Black_Star: That's what made the Bioshock series in my opinion with out it Columbia will just burn straight to the ground, but I think they should put another female in charge though.
3. Can a light, open setting create a sense of fear? Will Infinite managed to be scarier than other games set in dark and claustrophobic surroundings?
Koi-Neon-X: Rapture definitely created a creepy and tense atmosphere. Can this work during a light, open setting? I think it's possible. I think this will be created by how the populace reacts to the player in this game. I think it's what lies beneath that can create that sense of dread (for example: walking into room filled with people staring back at you. What are they thinking? what are their intentions?)
Me: Normally I would say no, Irrational haven't really managed scary since System Shock 2 and I don't they'll manage it here regardless of the environs. What I do hope for is they addle our perceptions, because we think Light is good and dark is bad but maybe they can change things up so we shy from the light and crave the gloom. I'm sick of the whole Gears of War mechanic of staying in the light so even a reversal of that idea would be a step in the right direction.
Iridescent406: I think the scariest games are the ones that immerse you into a whole different world, than scare you in completely unexpected ways. I probably wouldn't refer to the series as scary, but more or less atmospheric.
Kid_Black_Star: Unless there is a night scenario within the game, i mean it can't be day forever, unless there is some type of shadow usage in the game. I mean, unless your a vampire or a demon sunlight isn't gonna do a damn thing to make the game scary.
endorbr: Using light in the right way can be just as scary as darkness, especially if you take advantage of the nature of the opposition of light and dark. Having you move from well lit areas into darkened areas or vice versa gives you those brief moments while your vision adjusts in which you really can't see. That creates great opportunities to have you walk into something you aren't necessarily prepared for. Also since we are inherently less fearful of things in the daylight due to our animal nature, if you throw things out there that really mess with our world perception it just seems all the more frightening that you could be presented with something in such great contrast to what you might expect.
4. Is the decision to have a vocal protagonist a good thing?
Kid_Black_Star: .In My Opinion No, since your running the show. Since the other two games you didn't really need to talk since the saying Actions Speak Louder Than words. And Bioshock shows that Action can create the words straight to the finale.
Iridescent406: Like Dead Space 2, I think it's a good move.
endorbr: I think so. It gives you much greater interactivity as a character with the people and environment around you. The relationship between Booker, Elizabeth and Song Bird seems like it's very... complicated. Giving the playable character a voice in whats going on should only help to create greater depth to this story.
Koi-Neon-X: I suppose it could work. I remember when "Final Fantasy X" for the PS2 was announced and that the series was going vocal. I was excited even after years of reading text on the screen and the change I felt was for the better.
Me: Mass Effect has really made its mark on developers methinks. Normally I would say that it's a good thing but the magic of Bioshock, especially the first game, was that you were Jack Ryan and Delta. When you found about "Would you Kindly?" you felt used and manipulated, when that first little sister was snatched away from you in Adonis in Bioshock 2 it was both your scream and Delta's that reverberated. Casting us as Booker will ensure it'll never be our story, we won't be in Columbia, we'll be playing as a person in Columbia.
5.Will the relationship between the protagonist and the other main character help or hurt Infinite?
endorbr: I don't think it will hurt anything. From what I've seen so far it looks like it adds some interesting dynamics to the gameplay and the spaces between conflicts. If Irrational does a good job (and I have no reason to think they won't) fleshing out the characters and their relationship throughout the course of the gameplay it could act much in the same way as the recordings you found throughout the first two Bioshocks did to flesh out the characters and the world of Rapture.
Kid_Black_Star: Kinda hard to say at this moment but I think it might help to a bit, since it might be a love connection. There nothing wrong with a little romance in the game.
Koi-Neon-X: I think it will work better here than it would in the first two BioShock games. I think due to the dark and foreboding atmosphere it was good that the protagonist was A-quiet and B-alone. I think due to the lighter and open atmosphere I think it would be better to have another character to share the experience with.
Iridescent406: I see it as an open chance to have a main motivation; a goal to look forward to at the end of the game. I'm not exactly sure about what's going on in the game still, but either way this wouldn't hurt it.
Me: I'll hold off my cynicism as this seems like it won't be another Enslaved where the relationship was only important for story reasons. I like the idea of combining powers with Elizabeth and if they can make her truly integral to the game, maybe even a co-op character then things could get interesting. Sadly playing with another person, be they NPC or person is never as scary or immersive as playing on your own.
6. What should be done with Infinite's gameplay? What improvements can be made?
Iridescent406: Make the controls a tad bit smoother (keeping in mind that I've only played the first one), and add more creativity and variety to the plasmids and weapons; I know that they can create at least one weapon that's original.
Koi-Neon-X: My philosophy is "If it isn't broke-don't fix it" now I'm sure there will be a few new additions to the gameplay (just as their was in BioShock 2) and I think that's fine and good as long as it's not a huge departure from what I expect the gameplay to be which is more of the same. The only improvement I suggest is no defend/escort missions-I can't stand those!
Me: Irrational have never really got gameplay down perfectly. Bioshock had mushy guns and the plasmids were much more fun to play with. The gameplay has to at least be as responsive as Half Life 2, one thing 2K Marin nailed was making you feel powerful from the get-go because the controls were so much better than the last game. Irrational MUST allow the same duel wielding that was in the sequel, we don't have to see Booker's hand onscreen but firing off a plasmid should be instantaneous. Hopefully they might go for a Halo ODST layout where Columbia is semi-open to exploration and you go places to progress through the story.
Kid_Black_Star: Since the game is in the sky there should be ways too sweep the enemy of there feet by using the clouds, or wind in some fancy style. Woosh!
endorbr: Well we haven't seen any gameplay so far that hasn't given me the feeling of being, let's just say scripted. Obviously Irrational has been focused on showing off certain aspects of what they're developing so that is to be expected. The skylines add an obvious element that is vastly different from anything in the previous Bioshock installments. Giving the player some freedom of choice and various avenues of approach to situations would be nice to see. Make the world a little more open and a bit less linear than the two previous games, but not to the extent of letting you feel listless or lost.
7. Should Infinite include some sort of multiplayer component?
Koi-Neon-X: I don't have much experience with BioShock multi-player, but I feel it can work. I think it works well in series like Uncharted too. I think multi-player would be stunning in, say, the Mass Effect series. I'm not too into the whole multi-player thing, but I'm coming around and starting to really like it.
Kid_Black_Star: No, I mean they will work harder on multiplayer than the single player experience itself, I think that is what made Bioshock 2 a bit of a letdown. I mean yea the multiplayer was amazing
Me: No, I don't want multiplayer and I never will. I played Bioshock 2's multiplayer for about 2 hours and it just reminded me that I should be playing single-player. Co-op? Maybe, they have given us a secondary character after all but no. Bioshock is one of the last bastions of single-player FPS games and if they put a ranking system in then I just going to play RPG's forevermore.
Iridescent406: I wouldn't really know, seeing as how I've never played Bioshock multiplayer.
endorbr: If they can deliver a multiplayer component without having it feel tacked on or detracting from the single player gameplay then sure. Bioshock 2's multiplayer wasn't bad, it was just kind of forgettable. I had fun with it for a while but there were some definite issues with it, connection issues in particular that if addressed could mean a fun multiplayer experience. Although if they're going to come out with DLC for multiplayer this time around they could at least make it so that you can change your settings so as to play with other players who purchased the additional maps.
(this is such a long VP that I've had to make a part two, to see the rest of the brilliance click here for part 2)