Bioshock has gone steampunk.
The teaser trailer for Bioshock: Infinite takes us from the depths of the ocean into the great blue beyond. After a brief and intentionally misleading sub-aquatic shot, the viewer is taken in hand (literally) by a half-seen mechanical monstrosity (complete with glass-encased human heart) and flung out into one of the most dramatic introductions to a setting I have ever seen. While plummeting in first person toward the unforgiving ground, we are given a glimpse of the new game’s stunning world: the glorious flying city of Columbia.
The world’s steampunk credentials appear impeccable. The game is set in the early 20th century in a city that clearly recalls America’s “Gilded Age” and all its glories. Buildings are constructed with a strong Art Nouveau style iconic of the early 20th century, and the buildings in Columbia are kept aloft by great balloons and propellers, which the trailer demonstrates in action. With the added appearances of an airship, the aforementioned mechanical entity, and enough flags and vintage propaganda posters to satisfy any early-century jingoist, Bioshock: Infinite promises to take us from the grim pulp-noir darkness of the first two games and into a majestic steampunk adventure. And there can be little doubt that the flying Columbia will prove just as monstrous and terrifying as the claustrophobic Rapture we all know and love.
G. D. Falksen is a writer and lecturer who is looking forward to seeing all of you at Dragoncon, where he will be appearing as a guest. He eagerly awaits the arrival of Columbia and its madmen of the air. More information can be found at his Twitter and Facebook.