Irrational announces, details BioShock Infinite’s 1999 mode

Thursday, 19th January 2012 13:08 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Irrational’s announced and detailed something called 1999 mode for BioShock Infinite.

The new mode will challenge players in ways that will require a fair bit of skill, and with it come “permanent consequences of in-game decisions” that will be “unforgiving”.

Those who do play 1999 mode will get tweaks and features unavailable in a normal playthrough. Miser Levine reckons the new mode will allow old-school players to “go back to our roots.”

“I’m an old school gamer. We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me,” said Irrational’s creative head.

“So we went straight to the horse’s mouth by asking them, on our website, a series of questions about how they play our games. 94.6% of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8% indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.”

BioShock Infinite launches later this year for PS3, 360 and PC.

A teaser image of Elizabeth was released today as well, and it’s posted below.



  1. Erthazus

    Yes. That’s awesome. Hardcore gaming FTW.

    but i hope it’s not just a mode. Game must be build around it. Anyway, thank you very much.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    @1: Read the headline again. It’s a mode.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. unacomn

    Hehehe, nice. This is my most anticipated game of 2012 (which I am convinced will turn out good).

    #3 3 years ago
  4. TheBlackHole

    @1 That’s right, a game should be built around a feature which only applies to the hardcore niche of that game’s wider audience…

    Erm… no.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. endgame

    wohoo! \o/ first Hard Reset and now this. bring it! :D

    #5 3 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    Love how Levine is basically saying he would like to make a full game like that but its never going to be profitable anymore so he has to tack a mode on instead.

    Thanks again expanded audience, good to have you here as always.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    @2, i know, i just hope that it is build around it too when you switch to that mode. If that thing just belts and whistles than there is no point.

    @4, erm… Yes. If they are implementing that mode, game must be built for that mode too.
    For wider audience and for niche. If you are not bothering with the mode, than don’t make it.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Ekona

    @6 Not everyone has the time to sit there and replay the same sections over and over and over just to be able to finish the game. Personally I’d rather be able to complete a game and see the ending than get stuck at a particular point and never go back to it (I’m looking at you, RE4) so I stick all my games on Easy and blast through them in 6-10 hours, and then replay at my leisure.

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I’m glad that Infinite won’t ship with 1999 as the only mode.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. YoungZer0

    @6: Cry harder. Seriously. If the game is too easy, play it on a harder difficulty. Nobody wants to waste their precious time replaying a section over and over again. Most people play games to have fun. Lets keep it that way.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. absolutezero

    Who said anything about making it harder?

    No im more interested in the permanent choices part. No way back, no get out of jail re-spec potion. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to have an enjoyable experience in a game like this, thats not what im saying at all. Playing on easy and having a good time is great! Im just mourning that Levine thinks he can’t make a game like he wanted to because of the current market. Kinda something similar with what happened with Syndicate, imagine if they gave Syndicate to the Frozen Synapse guys, imagine!

    If thats crying, then im crying. Boo Hoo.

    p.s. If you considering dying once and having to improve and improvise (Like Bioshock was all about) a waste of time then yes you need to drop whatever it is your playing and go do something else.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Thalius

    Has it been confirmed that Infinite will be shipped with the original Bioshock? I remember reading about it dont recall if it was ever confirmed.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. DSB

    @9 Fun doesn’t neccesarily equal convenience though.

    There’s a difference between punishing and challenging. I don’t want to be punished by a game, but I have a lot of fun being challenged.

    Some of the games I admire the most are the ones that have a single difficulty, that insists on challenging people, but never beyond reason. It must be incredibly hard to do, but when it works, I respect them more for it.

    Punishment is like the cost of banging into another car in LA Noire, where an actual challenge equivalent would be to arrive on scene within a specific timeframe. Basically setting people up to fail, as opposed to motivating them to try harder.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    @10: Whuh? That’s what Bioshock was about? Guess i missed that one! I didn’t die once in Bioshock.

    I’m just saying there should always be an option. From your comments i gather that you don’t want to have that. I also don’t understand how you blame it on todays gamers. 1999 is a stupid name for it anyway, don’t remember any game of 1999 that delivering the experience you just mentioned.

    Matter of fact, that’s exactly how i played Heavy Rain, not once did i go back.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. SplatteredHouse

    I was hoping there was going to be a video issued (and here included or linked), in which the Irrational Games staff illustrate and discuss the feature.
    Instead, I find out the details are to be of my own imagining, for the time being and based on vague impliance from Ken Levine. :(

    #14 3 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    System Shock 2 is what Levine is directly referencing. You could not release System Shock 2 with the same systems and expect it to sell in the same numbers as Bioshock.

    Bioshock gave you a huge amount of toys to play with then never actually made you use them, because it was never actually called for. The second tried to combat this with the Big Sister attacks and the Protector trials which were all about setting up areas to your benefit with traps and plasmid mixing.

    Ammo types, all those different plasmids and the crossbow just got pushed to the back because it was just easier to elecrobolt then shotgun something. If todays audience was more open to dying through experimentation that huge selection would have been used far far more. Imagine choosing something like the fire plasmid and never being able to swap it out again, you would go through all its various uses and environmental qualities.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. SplatteredHouse

    @13: 1999 as a name for it. It’s jarring, but I think it works while viewed in the perspective around the culture and basis of, the “year before the new millennium”. Maybe that wasn’t what they were going for, but under that consideration, “1999″ seems suitable.

    …just seen and read zero’s “system shock 2″ theory for the name. I don’t disagree with it, either.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Moonwalker1982

    Oh how i would like to know the release date for this one.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. YoungZer0

    @15: Dying through experimentation … not a fan of it. Sorry but if all those things are uncalled for then that’s just a bad design. Good games teach you through the gameplay itself. Experimentation happens naturally that way. I was also not a Fan of Bioshock’s decision of letting you switch your Plasmids. Don’t blame the current videogamers though. Blame the developer. Other games don’t let you change your upgrades back. Sell just fine.

    I think it still would’ve sold just as much, even if they decided not to let you change them.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DSB

    @18 Depends on whether it’s fair or not though.

    Super Meat Boy is really a great example of how you can make dying a lot less annoying. The levels are obvious, you reset fast, and there are several different ways to complete each level, and different objectives to shoot for.

    Something like Another World or Limbo that just enjoy killing you as if to say “Gotcha!” are pretty retarded in my opinion. I’m not gonna waste my time just to give a developer his cheap thrill.

    Trial and error is often a bad thing, but mostly because it’s rarely fair, and it rarely carries a reward. That was always my problem with the Hitman series. CoD definitely has similar problems on the higher difficulties.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. YoungZer0

    @19: Oh yes. Limbo is a great example. Most of the time you have to die to advance. You know there is something creepy going on and that the next step could kill you. But you only know what could kill you if you die.

    The Game also had serious issues with it’s Artsy Fartsy Style. It stands in the way of the gameplay. I tried to escape the spider, jump on something that looked like a lever and then into the water. Died. Had to die like 5 times just to find out that the lever was actually a broken tree and i had to push it into the water.

    Fantastic Game. Really.

    Feel the same way about CoD.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. DSB

    It’s the difference between “tough but fair” and “tough because it was developed by a total douche” :P

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    @1 and @6 Take your elitest knobbery elsewhere. Gaming is not made up of you basement dwelling, “hardcore” types.

    Making this a mode is entirely valid. There is nothing wrong with giving people a *choice* between simply enjoying the experience or being challenged in an old-school sort of way.

    They could have not even bothered, you realise?

    #22 3 years ago
  23. absolutezero

    Im not a hardcore type. Oh Dear Mom’s basement. oh dear oh dear. Deary me.

    I see nothing wrong with explaining what I dislike about the current industry and my reasoning behind them.

    I am a massive fucking elitest though you grubby casual serf.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. OrbitMonkey

    Sounds promising, but it could just end up being like the *hardcore* mode in fallout: new Vegas, which ended up being a lesson in irritation tbh.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. HauntaVirus

    So much bitching haha, just enjoy the article.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. minxamo

    Miser Levine?

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Edo

    So is this something that we unlock after we finish the “normal” story mode or….

    #27 3 years ago
  28. Dimaco

    I reckon they were mentioning some release date around March, which isn’ t the case, anymore… or is it?? Anybody knows anything?

    #28 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.