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Platform Win, 360, PS3, Mac Publisher 2K Games Developer Irrational Games Release Date 03/26/2013

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Review

Review
321 Comments
10.0

BioShock Infinite review: above and below

Pop culture references, sinister whispers, and dizzying heights make Columbia disorienting BioShock Infinite immediately disoriented me as it disorients player character Booker. There's a clear effort to play with any expectations of setting and content through moments of humanity and horror, wonder and ugliness. Irrational quickly establishes some basic ideas of what the world of Columbia and BioShock Infinite is. Almost as quickly, it peeled at the edges of my understanding of that world. Pop culture references and vague allusions to preconceptions formed from past games in the franchise create an uneasy tension, but more importantly, this atmosphere made me desperate to search everywhere for any hint of an explanation as to what made Columbia tick, how it got where it was and where...

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Say goodbye to BioShock Infinite with these three original songs

Irrational Games, the studio behind BioShock Infinite, released three original full length songs this weekend as a kind of parting gesture to fans of the series. The three songs come from BioShock Infinite's "Burial at Sea" extension, whose second chapter launched this week to conclude the series. One song is a jingle for the "Old Man Winter" plasmid; another was conceived as a folk protest song, and a third is a piece of indoctrinating propaganda for the Little Sisters of Rapture. "A thank you from us," Irrational Games founder Ken Levine tweeted yesterday. Irrational Games unexpectedly announced its closure in February following the completion of the BioShock series; 75 employees lost their jobs. Levine is rebuilding a new studio with a small team of personnel from the old...

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Valve bringing Portal for Android to Nvidia Shield (update)

Portal is in development for the Nvidia Shield Android-based handheld gaming platform, Nvidia announced today. According to an Nvidia blog post, the first-person puzzle game will arrive "soon" on the device. "Nvidia has created a very powerful and unique device with Shield," said Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi. "Our companies have a strong history working together and we're looking forward to Portal's arrival on Shield." Nvidia Shield, which includes a controller and an LCD screen, was released last July. By the end of last year, Nvidia added support for streaming PC games, hooking the device up to a TV and 1080p and 60 fps streaming. Games available on the device include Android mobile games as well as Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, BioShock Infinite,...

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The story of BioShock Infinite concludes today with Burial at Sea - Episode Two

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two is available today, concluding the story of Elizabeth in the undersea city from the first BioShock. 2K Games put out this trailer today to announce the chapter's availability and give an idea of what is in store. Burial at Sea - Episode Two ends the story of BioShock Infinite. It was preceded by Episode One and Clash in the Clouds, and all three are available with the season pass subscription offered by the game. Burial at Sea is the final work of Irrational Games, which founder Ken Levine unexpectedly closed down in February.

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Ken Levine reveals new game development ambitions

Last year, Levine began talking about "narrative Legos" or ways in which NPCs could be created to react to the player on an almost molecular level, rather than merely following scripts. At GDC today, he offered more details on what this slightly esoteric idea means in practice. Speaking to a large audience, he said that his ideas, at this point, do not gesture towards any specific game ideas or even genres. He was not at GDC to reveal a new game. He just wanted to talk about how narrative based games could be built differently, in such a way that they are deeper, broader and, crucially, repayable again and again. In his last hit game, BioShock Infinite, the character Elizabeth is always going to react to the player-character Booker in predictable ways, based on a very small number of...

News
20 Comments

Animating BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth to foster emotional connections

Elizabeth, the heroine and driving narrative force of Irrational Games' BioShock Infinite, is more than just the sum of her parts. In a session at GDC today, animation director Shawn Robertson discussed how every department at the studio was involved in Elizabeth's creation, and what narrative techniques and other systems went into bringing her to life. To create Elizabeth's humanity, Robertson said, her character needed not only a narrative force but art and other systems — combat, movement and the like — working in tandem. Humans in the first BioShock were introduced in tightly-controlled cutscenes with no interaction or behind glass walls, preventing players from building relationships with them. The relationships in BioShock were between the Big Daddies and Little Sisters,...

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The long road to building AI for BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth

The AI for BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth was designed to both follow and lead, to be reactive to protagonist Booker and also proactive in pushing players through the story. Speaking in a panel at GDC today, former Irrational Games lead programmer John Abercrombie said designing Elizabeth was no small task. He said making her "live" so players would invest in and become attached to her was one of the programming team's greatest challenges — and one of the great challenges in Abercrombie's own career. "I haven't done anything as challenging or as satisfying as the work I did in the last eight months on BioShock Infinite," Abercrombie said of his work on Elizabeth. One of Irrational's pillars is for developers to be "player facing," to see their work from the point of view of the...

Video
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BioShock Infinite's Burial at Sea: Episode Two DLC promo comes with an Irrational message

Here's a new marketing approach from Irrational Games. Its new DLC for BioShock Infinite, called Burial at Sea: Episode Two arrives later this month. Irrational recently announced its own closure as founder Ken Levine sought a smaller, more focused new operation. And so this promo doubles as a straight-up declaration of the new content's benefits, as well as a resume for the many people who worked on the game's creation. Interviewees' contact details are presented as well as the specifics of the work they contributed. Burial at Sea: Episode Two puts players in the role of Elizabeth as she explores the world of Rapture during its fall.

Culture
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BioShock Infinite Elizabeth Noir statue can be pre-ordered for $250

Irrational Games announced today on its website that hand-painted statues of BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth character in her Burial at Sea noir outfit are now available for pre-order from the studio's online store. The statue stands 12 inches tall and features Elizabeth in femme-fatale make-up holding a hand-rolled cigarette and a thimble on her finger. Only 400 statues in total were made, 50 of which have been signed by Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine. The four-pound statue can be pre-ordered for $250, while the signed statue is available for $500.

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The final years of Irrational Games, according to those who were there

Irrational Games, the developer that created the BioShock series along with a number of other critically beloved video games, was viewed, by a number of sources close to the studio, as closure-proof: It had pedigree, talent and — to the outside world — creative carte blanche from its parent companies, 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive. When the studio's co-founder and president, Ken Levine, invited the team of nearly 100 employees into a meeting about the company's history last month, many were surprised to realize, as the presentation progressed, that this very history was coming to an end. More than a half dozen individuals who worked for Irrational Games during the development of BioShock Infinite, some of whom were there that final day, agreed to speak with Polygon anonymously...

News
28 Comments

Irrational Games closure led to 75 layoffs, job fair hosted 57 studios

The shutdown of Irrational Games resulted in 75 layoffs, and the job fair that the company hosted to help them find employment brought in 57 studios, an Irrational Games spokesperson told Polygon today. Earlier this month, Irrational co-founder Ken Levine announced that less than a year after the release of BioShock Infinite, the studio would be "winding down," which meant that everyone but Levine and 15 others were being laid off. Levine and his team will start a new studio under Irrational's parent company, Take-Two Interactive, where they will focus on creating smaller, digitally delivered titles that are "narrative-driven games for the core gamer." According to an Irrational representative, 70 permanent employees and five contractors lost their jobs as a result of that decision. ...

BioShock Infinite Releases
North America
  • Windows
    • Released 03/26/2013
    • Publisher 2K Games
    • Developer Irrational Games
    • Score 10.0
  • Xbox 360
    • Released 03/26/2013
    • Publisher 2K Games
    • Developer Irrational Games
  • PlayStation 3
    • Released 03/26/2013
    • Publisher 2K Games
    • Developer Irrational Games
  • Mac
    • Released 08/27/2013
    • Publisher Aspyr Media
    • Developer Irrational Games
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