Debate: will Bioshock Infinite live up to the hype?

BioShock Infinite PS3 Colombia

Update: Ken Levine has recently confirmed there will be no BioShock: Infinite multiplayer modes.

While the recent Bioshock Infinite trailer has done much to dispel previous worries there’s still a shadow over the game. After all the lost staff, gossip and several no shows at major events can the game still deliver on its promise? We let two of our finest debate the options.

 

Yes

Says eternally optimistic man of trust in Levine, David Houghton

Let’s remove the internet’s negative hysteria filter and look at the facts. Because when viewed calmly through a neutral lens, there is nothing particularly bad – or even unusual – going on with Bioshock Infinite.

Okay, it’s been delayed and wasn’t shown at E3 or Gamescom. Shifting release dates are par for the course, and the trade show snub was explained in advance. The original Bioshock had a similar delay, yet its ultimate quality is the whole reason we care about Infinite. Unverified internet doom-saying means nothing.

Yes, Irrational has lost some staff lately, most notably art director Nate Wells and product development director Tim Gerritsen. But context matters. Wells’ work would probably have been mostly wrapped up by now, and the thing none of the Negative Neds are focusing on is who still is working on Infinite. The answer to that? All of the senior staff and most of the creative team from the original Bioshock. Even level designer Jordan Thomas, who left to work on Bioshock 2 at 2K Marin, is back onboard.

And the simple fact is, this is a Ken Levine Bioshock game. In terms of innovation, narrative power and sheer quality, barely anyone matches his record. A pioneering evolution of the series from him, with whatever teething troubles, is still 1,000 times more exciting than a smooth-running rehash like Bioshock 2.

No

Says faithless joy vampire and cynical dasher of high hopes, Rich Wordsworth

Stop. Put down the phone, hold that tweet and delete the horrible email you’re about to send me. I know you love Bioshock – I do, too. But let me ask you: what news about Bioshock has gotten you excited in the past six months?

Yes, the teasers of Columbia, Elizabeth, and Bioshock’s trademark society-in-downfall looked awesome – but those were from E3 last year. Since then, it’s been headline after headline about blurred focus, lack of direction and general falling to bits-iness.

Let’s go down the list: staff leaving in droves, a delay until 2013, multiplayer that no one wanted announced and then cancelled, nothing new at E3 or Gamescom, and the game’s director revealing, “The next time you see our game, it’ll be essentially the product we intend to put in the box.” If Infinite’s own staffers don’t have enough faith in the project to see it through, what on Earth are we basing our faith on?

I have no doubt that Infinite will be cobbled together into a good game. But I don’t want a good game. Bioshocks 1 and 2 weren’t good – they were great. And, heartbreaking as it is, none of the news coming out of Irrational suggests that’s the way Infinite is going. Over to you, Ken: you’ve got until February
to prove me wrong.