Community Announcements - [IG] OneLetter
Come back to Rapture in a story that brings Booker and Elizabeth to the underwater city on the eve of its fall from grace. Developed by Irrational Games, the developer of the original BioShock and BioShock Infinite, this DLC features Rapture as you’ve never seen it before—a shining jewel at the bottom of the ocean, built almost entirely from scratch in the BioShock Infinite engine. Gameplay has been modified to give the player an original BioShock combat experience that merges the best parts of BioShock and BioShock Infinite: new weapons, new Plasmids/Vigors, Tears, Sky-Lines, and Big Daddies.

Explore the city when it was at the height of its beauty, meet some old “friends,” and make some new ones, all through the eyes of Booker DeWitt. Why are Booker and Elizabeth in Rapture? What was the city like before everything fell to pieces? The answers to these questions and more will be found in BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1. This pack is included in the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

Community Announcements - [IG] OneLetter
This first add-on pack puts an intense focus on BioShock Infinite combat. Combine weapons, Vigors, Gear, Tears, and Sky-Lines in ways you never thought possible as you square off against impossible odds. This pack features 60 challenges in four brand-new environments. Complete Blue Ribbon Challenges and unlock concept art, Voxophones, Kinetoscopes, and more in The Columbian Archeological Society. Climb the Leaderboards and earn new Achievements.

Please note that BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds will start rolling out to Steam hopefully later today. We’ll post updates once we can confirm it.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (John Walker)

As you’d expect, there are a bunch of screenshots to accompany the news of BioShock: Infinite’s DLC. There’s an odd, unhelpful and irrelevant shot of Elizabeth for today’s challenge pack, Clash In The Clouds, but more importantly, there’s the first glimpse of a pre-fall Rapture, for the forthcoming Burial At Sea campaign.


Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (John Walker)

So, as guessed by people paying attention to Ken Levine last night, there’s to be BioShock: Infinite DLC. What a surprise. What’s more of a surprise is that one bit is out today. That is Clash In The Clouds, and is a bunch of challenges. Below you’ve got a trailer for that, and a teaser for something called Burial At Sea, which will be a new campaign set in Rapture!


PC Gamer
BioShock Infinite Clash DLC 1

If you're still puzzling over BioShock Infinite's mind-bendy, nearly inscrutable finale, you might just want to set that aside at noon today (PST) and dig into Clash in the Clouds, the first of three DLC packs arriving throughout the year ($5 for Clash in the Clouds alone, or $20 for the BioShock Infinite Season Pass that includes Clash in the Clouds, Burial at Sea: Episode One and Burial at Sea: Episode Two, as well as a handful of "Day One" combat bonuses). Clash takes one of the most consistently problematic aspects of Infinite - the constant, often repetitive combat - and turns it into spectacularly entertaining arena-style skirmishes that surpass many of Infinite's own set-pieces.

There's not a lot of setup here, and not a lot is required. You walk into the chambers of the Columbian Archaeological Society were you'll find, amid the droning chatter of a Motorized Patriot, four paintings that represent Clash's four combat arenas: The piers of the Ops Zeal, the Duke & Dimwit Theater (with a rotating ferris wheel and fireworks overhead), the Raven's Dome aviary, and the snowy promenades of the Emporia Arcade. Pressing the action button in front of any of them whisks you to a galley where you're then presented with the types of enemies you're about to engage. From there, you select your weapons: Infinite's entire arsenal is made available to you from the get-to, as well as a selection of Vigors - you'll be able to upgrade both from cash you loot from corpses in battle as well as cash earned from achievements and "Blue Ribbon Challenges." Each of the 15 "waves" of enemies you'll face in all four arenas is preceded by a new Blue Ribbon Challenge - and while many are predictable, requiring you to rely on a certain type of weapon or tactic, others can be maddeningly precise and demanding (I never was, for example, able to "Defeat the Handyman while he's electrocuting a Sky-Line"). When you're ready, you enter a tear in the side of the wall, and all hell breaks loose.

You'll generally have a few moments to strategize before being spotted by any of the enemies, although it's possible to extend this time by taking cover immediately and peeking around corners. But once you're spotted or you've fired, it's on.

What sets apart the combat in Clash of the Clouds is the undulating Sky-Line threaded through each multilevel arena in a loop. Where Sky-Line combat in Infinite felt sometimes awkward and halting, Clash's loops - as paradoxical as it sounds - opens them wide up. It's easier and far more exhilarating, for example, to survey for and pick off enemies from their redoubts while you're being flung from one end of the map to the other than it is to grovel to Elizabeth for some cover to cower behind. That said, Elizabeth is your constant companion throughout with all her abilities intact: she'll activate tears for weapons, health, and cover, as well as toss you health and ammo when things start looking grim.

If you get nailed before you catch that sloshing flask of health or mid-way between Sky-Line and a Health Kit, you're returned to the galley and given some tough love: a choice between forfeiting your ranking in the Leaderboard, restarting from the first wave all over again, or returning to the Archaeological Society gallery to sulk.

But even death gets a fresh coat of paint in Clash in the Clouds. Off to the right in the galley is the translucent window to Booker's office, where you can buy and bank a single resurrection for $500 a piece; with that in your wallet, dying in a wave allows you to continue without starting over from the first one.

Advancing through the waves in each arena is, not surprisingly, an increasingly difficult process whether or not you feel up to taking a Blue Ribbon home. You'll want to pay attention to the roster of enemies announced before each one, as it'll inform what kind of weapons you want to go in with (some weapons are also available within the maps, or can be snatched from corpses and tears). I stuck with my beloved Carbine and Sniper combo throughout most of the early waves in each arena and invested a lot of cash upgrading them as I had in Infinite. This wasn't a problem while I was being harassed by Soldiers and Firemen, but when the Handymen and the unbearable mosquito-like buzzing of the Siren arrived, I realized I'd made some foolish decisions.

Look, the truth is, I'm just Not That Good. God knows I tried, but in about 45 waves I played out of the 60 available in the game, I went home with two Blue Ribbons, and one of them may have been a fluke. Lead Level Designer Forrest Dowling told me, perhaps out of pity, that the team knew they had gotten a wave just right when only one out of sixty play-testers could bag the Blue Ribbon.

But that's the magic of Clash that wasn't there for me in many of Infinite's battles, where bits and pieces of the story replayed and enemies sprang from the same positions over and over again as I navigated my way through the game. Clash in the Clouds became more satisyfing with repetition, not less, as I committed terrain to memory and leaned more heavily on Vigor combos to buy myself some distance (I'm happy to report, however, that the Murder of Crows upgrade that turns bodies into Crow traps is still a winning play in nearly every circumstance). The closed loops of the Sky-Lines accelerates the pace of combat while elevating some of their hazards - such as death by electrocution - as well.

Stripped of their painstaking ornamentation, the arenas are not radically different from each other - nor do they intend to be. Though I would have preferred more varied locations mined from Infinite's vast catalog, the emphasis here is on becoming more proficient and creative with weapons and Vigors, not exploration or hiding while you chug an energy drink. And goofy moments of chaos - like hopping up, down, back and forth on a Sky-Line dodging rockets as I tried to take out an airship - seem less incongruous and thus more enjoyable than they did in Infinite. After playing three-quarters of the waves and achieving a small fraction of the goals set before me, $5 feels like a bargain to experience Infinite's combat distilled to its most enjoyable essence.

Read about the rest of Bioshock Infinite's planned DLC here.
PC Gamer

Among its numerous twists and revelations, the narrative nuke dropped during the finale of BioShock Infinite was the realization that the “Infinite” in the game’s title was meant quite literally. And once you’ve finished a game that ends pretty much, well, everywhere, you’d naturally wonder where Irrational would take the game next. The answer arrived yesterday at a presentation in Boston where Irrational revealed details of the three separate DLC packs that will be released throughout the year, beginning with Clash in the Clouds - a series of increasingly difficult and chaotic challenges that take place in four aerial arenas, as well as two episodic adventures set in the luminous undersea chambers of pre-apocalyptic Rapture (from the original BioShock). And the best part for PC gamers is that Clash of the Clouds will be available today at noon on Steam for $5.

If you just need the word about Clash in the Clouds, the word is given: you want it. Go ahead, start downloading it now, and read on for trailers and screenshots of both Clash in the Clouds and Burial at Sea: Episode One, interviews with Ken Levine and Lead Level Designer Forrest Dowling, as well as a glimpse of the third DLC pack that turns Elizabeth and her freaky hand-magic into a playable character.

One of the oddities of BioShock Infinite’s design was the contrast between a gritty narrative that depicted the violent uprising of the Vox Populi against Columbia's racist, nativist Founders (with its parallels with some of the darkest moments in American history) and the spectacular fireworks of the game's unabashedly violent action. It made for a disquieting experience at times, and some players felt that Booker DeWitt coolly dispatching hundreds upon hundreds of enemies made no sense in a story about a man who's ostensibly seeking redemption for his sins.

Clash in the Clouds has no such dissonance: it detaches completely from Infinite's lore by tossing you into four lofty arenas to battle through fifteen "waves" of enemies in different and increasingly unreasonable combinations. And the result is a wild, uninhibited, and constantly accelerating frenzy of combat. (Check out my hands-on with Clash in the Clouds here.)

"We were looking at what people were responding to, and one thing that people really liked was 1999 mode," explained Forrest Dowling, Lead Level Designer on both BioShock Infinite and Clash in the Clouds. "They really liked the idea of having a more challenging gameplay experience. So with that in mind we gathered up the people that specialized in combat. We essentially told them, the gloves are off, make whatever you want. Ignore the constraints that we normally have making the narrative game. It doesn't matter if these enemies wouldn't make sense together: if they're fun to play together, go for it."

Because they didn't have to hew to a narrative plan or nudge the player through any particular path, the designers were free to hand players the entire Infinite arsenal of imaginative weapons and Vigors, as well as to exploit the most brilliant of Infinite's inventions - the rollercoaster-like pairs of Sky-Lines that turn the sky itself into a whirling, traversible theater of war.

"I wanted to make something that encourages that kind of kinetic motion," Dowling told PC Gamer. "I think of good combat in BioShock Infinite as being combat where you have to 'strike and fade,' where you're carrying out your plan but then needing to high-tail it out of there really quickly. I actually have the most fun fighting the Handyman for that reason. It's the constant pressure combined with a need to use everything at your disposal. Empty one gun, switch to the next, and look for something to swap the first one for while you're trying to pull him into a tear. One of the reasons I wanted to make Clash was because of that challenge. You're forced to do the most, and be the most inventive with the tools that you've got. And I think that only happens when the challenge gets pretty high. So we started thinking about things we could do that would encourage that kind of variety for the player."

To that end, the developers built two systems to encourage players to more actively explore all the tools of destruction at their disposal. The first are cash bonuses for stylish and creative kills, such as taking out enemies with Vigor combos or particularly stylish assassinations pulled off while hurling down a Sky-Line. The second are Blue Ribbon Challenges, specific goals preceding each wave of enemies that range from the mundane - take out all foes using only your pistol - to the more exotic, such as "Force 3 Firemen to self-destruct using Shock Jockey and Undertow." The Blue Ribbon challenges can be insanely difficult, but success results in a bigger stack of cash to spend in between waves on weapon and Vigor upgrades.

"It was freeing," Dowling continued - and he was beaming at this point. "Just being able to remove a bunch of constraints and say, 'We think its cool, so we're doing it.'"

Although specific release dates haven't yet been announced, the next two DLC packs are an noirish adventure in two episodes called Burial at Sea. They're introduced by a trailer that depicts a man with Booker's voice slinking up to a shadowy figure and lighting her cigarette with a flame that ignites with a snap of his fingertips. The woman's name is Elizabeth, and she's leaning up against the transparent dome of one of Rapture's spectacular undersea promenades.

(If you haven't played BioShock Infinite and are wondering what Booker and Elizabeth are doing in BioShock's Rapture, there's no need to agonize over spoilers - it's a fairly simple extension of the same principles in the game that explain what a barbershop quarter is doing singing Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" in turn-of-the-century Columbia.)

Chaos and horror haven't yet descended on Rapture, but it's unlikely that things will stay that way for long: Booker's narration in the trailer says darkly, "We were all buried at sea - we just didn't know it yet." Along with a shiny, pre-apocalyptic Rapture, Irrational says Burial at Sea gameplay "has been modified to give the player an original BioShock combat experience that merges the best parts of BioShock and BioShock Infinite: new weapons, new Plasmids/Vigors, Tears, Sky-Lines, and Big Daddies."

As he builds a new story that will contribute to what we know about Booker and Elizabeth, Irrational's Creative Director Ken Levine is well aware of how some people responded to the disconnect they felt between the gameplay and story in BioShock Infinite. "The challenge here is that we keep pushing on the narrative side. The relationship between Booker and Elizabeth, we try to dig in and make something really true and emotional and connective. And you're seeing more and more of that, such as in the Walking Dead game. And the problem is that gamplay, that sort of thrilling visceral experience, it's completely unrealistic! It's gameplay. I like gameplay, I'm a person who likes games. The problem is that we've gotten good enough at making these believable characters that there's a bit of tension there. And I don't think it's the level of violence, I think it's the level of characterization that's the problem. In a way, you're challenged by your own success. And it's something I'm thinking about."

"It's a dark, violent world," adds Dowling. "It's a violent story. At the same time I appreciate the criticisms. I was honestly so glad that there were so many people having strong opinions about something that we made. I'm so glad that people cared enough to really be upset about it one way or another. That's a good thing about creative works: there are lots of diffrernt interpretations. Ultimately we made a game where we wanted people to respond. And we knew it wasn't necessarily going to be positive across the board. It wasn't, and that's awesome, rather than hearing "Who cares?"

Levine isn't saying yet how much that feedback might affect Booker and Elizabeth's trajectory in the Burial at Sea episodes, though at one point he does drop some hints about Episode Two, in which we'll be able to play as Elizabeth herself. "We listened to the fans and we know how they feel about Elizabeth. And we wanted to shift things around a bit. And the gameplay's quite a bit different. If we do our job right, it's coming at exactly the right time, and it will become necessary at that point, necessary from a narrative standpoint." Levine shifts around a bit, obviously trying to explain her role while navigating around any possible spoilers. "All I mean is that what happens to her, all she can do is what she does in the ."

"One thing that's beautiful about art is that narrative can be a participatory process. My favorite thing about BioShock Infinite, besides the realization of the character of Elizabeth - her story and her gameplay - is the fact that people were debating it at the end. People were writing page after page of analysis. That we said we're not going to spell it out for you; that we trusted the gamers, and the gamers came through."

Clash in the Clouds is available today on Steam for $5. Burial at Sea: Episode One and Burial at Sea: Episode Two will be released later this year for $15 each. All three DLC packs can be purchased on Steam via the BioShock Infinite DLC Season Pass for $20.

Read my hands-on impressions of today's Clash in the Clouds DLC here.
Product Update - Valve
  • Added features necessary to support upcoming DLC.

  • Fix for issue where the navigation assist / nav aid arrow was not showing the path of jumping from the deck of the barge to the sky-line above when viewing it from the barge after the town lottery.

PC Gamer
Steam Summer Sale 1

As predicted earlier, The Steam Summer Sale is now. From today until July 22nd, daily deals and flash sales will flood the Steam store with prices that are lower than the usual prices. To get the best deals, you may want to be patient and gamble on there being heavier discounts as the sale goes on—a good way to pass the time is to chart prices across a giant blackboard, mixing in the Fibonacci sequence now and then and muttering about "Gabentropy."

Currently, you can get BioShock Infinite for $30/£17.50, Counter-Strike: GO for $5.09/£4.07, Hotline Miami for $2.49/£1.74, and tons of other crazy dumb deals. You can also vote on the Community's Choice sale every eight hours—the currently leading game is something called "Heavy Load."

Community Announcements - [IG] OneLetter
Today, we're proud to reveal our Trading Cards for BioShock Infinite, alongside the Steam Summer Sale. There are a total of 7 different cards to collect, featuring many of your favorite characters such as Elizabeth, Songbird, the Lutece Twins, and more.

Each of the BioShock Infinite trading cards were hand-drawn by Senior Character Concept Artist, Robb Waters, and designed to look similar to vintage trading cards as seen around the period of 1912.

Take a look at your profile's "Badges" section to see all seven available for you to collect, and we hope all of our fans enjoy all the rewards that come with leveling up!
PC Gamer
Bioshock Infinite Flying

BioShock Infinite will uncover its plans for a new set of DLC later this month, according to a report at IGN. We already know from the Season Pass bundle that we should be expecting at least three additional DLC expansions for the first-person shooter, and IGN hints in its story that a late July announcement could mark the first narrative-extending content from developer Irrational Games.

A small pack of DLC including some bonus items and gear—Columbia's Finest—has already found its way to the public, but so far we are still waiting to hear anything more than rumors about how the BioShock Infinite story arc will be altered or extended by additional expansions. Will it be a new companion? Certainly a game that explores the consequences of rifts in the fabric of space and time leaves a lot of options on the table for possible tweaks to BioShock Infinite's complex plot.

We've already assembled a list of what we'd like to see from any large expansions to the shooter. These include changes to gameplay such as an expanded armory, streamlined looting, and greater punishment for failure, but probably the most intriguing alterations possible in any new DLC will involve the game's eclectic cast of characters.

Where does Booker go from here?

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