BioShock Infinite developer Irrational Games has given fresh insight into why it decided to move away from Andrew Ryan’s underwater utopia of Rapture, and take to the skies with the floating city of Columbia.
The insight comes from a Gamespot video interview, in which members of the development team share their reasoning for the switch of setting.
Irrational founder Ken Levine explained, “When we started on BioShock Infinite, we realised that one of the reasons that people liked BioShock 1, was because it did take on some topics that other games hadn’t taken on, and I think they felt – especially for a big mass-market game – that it was respecting their intelligence.
“It was saying, ‘You know what? We think you’re interested in a broader range of things than you might be’, or at least we’re comfortable with putting it out there, crossing our fingers and hoping that you guys are going to come along for the ride.
“If you talk to people who played BioShock – if you ask people what they liked about it… it’s the sense of the world, and being in that place.”
It’s a feeling that the studio wanted to capture again in BioShock Infinite, but design director Bill Gardner explained that when the team sat down to think about what they wanted from the game’s world this time around, they immediately wanted to go back to Rapture. As we now know, that decision didn’t stick.
Gardner explained the team’s mind-set, “That was the obvious place. You can’t have a BioShock game without Rapture. It’s just part of its DNA. The more we started to talk about what was going to happen, the sort of things you’d be doing, quests, the new settings – the more we were like, ‘Oh my god, if we’re bored with this, what is the gamer going to think?’
“So we started to allow ourselves to talk about different settings, and the more we got into it, the more we realised it’s really about that feeling of discovering a new place. It was terrifying to talk about getting rid of Rapture, but at the same time, it was liberating.”
There you have it folks, it’s a bold and terrifying new world out there. You can learn more about Columbia via Irrational’s latest trailer.