Earlier this week, we alerted you to the existence of a countdown on Irrational Games' website. The cryptic timer mentioned only a date and time, and posed a puzzling question through its URL, "Whatisicarus.com." With the countdown now complete, Irrational has released a trailer for the mystery project, and no matter what your guess may have been as to what the game was, I bet you didn't see this coming.
Yup, it's Bioshock, but up in the air instead of underwater. Apparently, "Icarus" is a reference to mankind reaching into the sky to create a utopian community, much as the Greek mythological figure sought to fly to the heavens. We all know how that turned out.
The video is undeniably cool, with a stark contrast between the beautiful sky-bound architecture of Columbia, the new "Rapture," and the frenetic, violent action that's taking place. It also hints towards some potentially awesome game mechanics, like rescuing one's self from free-falling, and some truly immersive first-person gameplay. Also, there's a bunch of roses.
Unlike BioShock's sequel, BioShock 2, Bioshock Infinite will be spearheaded by series creator, Ken Levine. Levine gave some additional details about the game in an interview with the Sony blog, stating that Columbia will be a far more "alive" city than Rapture, and that the main mission of the game is rescuing a woman named Elizabeth, who has been imprisoned in a tower in Columbia for years. New game mechanics will include dealing with NPC's, some of whom will be hostile while others may be helpful, but certain aspects, like audio diaries, will be retained from the previous games. Levine was less forthcoming about the game's setting, specifically whether or not Infinite takes place in the same universe as Rapture, but he did mention that it would take place in the early 20th century, shortly after the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
As iconic and mind-blowing as Rapture was when players first experienced it, sending us into the depressing underwater world for a third time may have been pushing it, so a relocation for the series seems right on time. The prospect of using the various platforms of a flying city (and, more importantly, the spaces in-between) has me positively giddy, and I'm eagerly awaiting any new info. I have a feeling I'm not alone in that.