Here's a rather splendid new trailer for Bioshock Infinite; one that packs together grand vistas of the soaring city of Columbia, insight into its fire-and-brimstone ruler Zachary Comstock, and plenty of explosive combat against men and monstrosities. It's also likely to be the only trailer you'll see today that features a minigun-toting mechanical George Washington.
He only makes a brief appearance, but Comstock seems set to be a great character. His zealous, patriotic fervour seems like a nice counterpoint to the grand idealism of Bioshock's Andrew Ryan.
Also: a game trailer made entirely from footage of said game! What a novel idea. We approve.
BioShock Infinite's box art reveal in December showed a scowling Booker DeWitt casually hefting his boomstick as the Stars and Stripes burned in the background. Uproar ensued over the artwork's machismo, and Creative Director Ken Levine defended himself with salad dressing analogies. Now that we've all had a chance to think that one over, Level Designer Shawn Elliott has shared his thoughts on the issue with OXM.
"I can imagine it’s a very difficult challenge to take and create a single image that says everything that needs to be said in the game," Elliott said. "I mean, God—imagine, you know, writing a book and trying to make the same kind of statement with a book cover, a movie poster or anything. Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite directors and his movie posters are always phenomenal, but they don’t ever really tell me anything at all about the contents of the movie, so I imagine it’s a challenge."
“Box art in the '80s, for early games they tried literally to put everything on there," he went on. "So you’d have game box art where there’s a dinosaur on one side, there’s a spaceship on the other, and you really don’t understand what the hell is happening." It's true: We dare you to decipher just what is going on in this picture.
Though Irrational helped soothe concerns with a voting event for alternative cover designs, Elliott isn't worried dedicated BioShock fans will lose sight of Infinite's more complicated themes beyond provocative flag-burning shot.
"I wasn’t frustrated at all,” he stated, “because the interesting thing is that the game so far has largely been discussed by enthusiasts. Those people got to see our very first stab at the game at reveal, they got to see the E3 trailer, they got to see pretty much everything. Any time we put media out about the game, every screenshot or whatever, they have been aware of it. So I don’t really have to worry that they’re getting the wrong impression, because they’ve picked up on every impression that we’ve made.”
We recently made the case that trailers should stop mucking about with thematically tenuous CGI trailers and just show us the damn game. I'm now going to undo all of that work by praising this, a Bioshock Infinite trailer that contains no game footage whatsoever. I do this because, 1) I'd really rather not see any more of the game before it's released, and 2) it's pretty marvellous in its own right, exploring the city of Columbia through the medium of an 70s educational documentary. It's like Look Around You for alternate history.
It's a great concept well executed, nicely mimicking the eerie synth backing and dry, dramatic narration of the era. Top work! Although, if you'd prefer to see the actual game in action, you can head here instead.