BioShock Infinite DLC Returns to Rapture

Ken Levine explains why he wants to return to the setting of the original BioShock and retool our understanding of the series at large.

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SPOILER WARNING: This feature discusses major plot details of BioShock Infinite.

The reveal of the second and third DLC packs for BioShock Infinite, Burial at Sea - Episode 1 and Episode 2, is a major announcement for anyone who traveled to the dystopian underwater society of Rapture in the original BioShock. It was a sinister yet captivating world, and how Booker and Elizabeth are critical to its tale isn't clear, but BioShock Creative Director Ken Levine sees a return trip as the appropriate way to give the entire BioShock series greater context. On top of it all, in Episode 2, you'll finally wield the most powerful force in BioShock; Elizabeth.

What was the spark that made you want to revisit Rapture?

Levine: We really didn’t know…even when we had the Rapture bit in Infinite, we had no idea. We were thinking about what to do for the DLC that would make it feel very special for the fans. We kicked around a lot of different notions, and I sort of had this image in my head of Elizabeth walking into an office in Rapture, dressed like Veronica Lake, and that was a powerful image, and we’re working from there. I kind of can’t resist that.

I generally work that way, when we come up with something that is exciting, and go…"well, how do we make that happen?" I never wanted to do the midichlorian thing. A lot of people ask me, well why don’t you tell the fall of Rapture? To me, that just seems rote.

So, we have a certain story with a new perspective: "What’s going on here? Why is Booker there, why is Elizabeth there, and why don’t they know each other? What is this about?" That’s the only way, to me, to tell an interesting story, is to start out with questions, not with answers.

It takes place before the fall of Rapture, but the goal isn’t to retell what you already know from the audio logs, it’s to give you a new perspective. We knew it was going to be more expensive and more time consuming. We had some people who wanted the information and wanted it to be quicker, but if it’s quicker, you can’t rebuild giant chunks of Rapture, or even conceive new chunks.

You’ve said before that you’re a slave to a story. Now that you’re revisiting one, presumably that you were done with, how do you feel going back to it now?

Levine: To me, it is a love letter to the fans, but it started with something I wanted to do, when I saw this image of Elizabeth. Of course, Elizabeth evolves as a character throughout the course of BioShock Infinite. She goes from a kid to something much darker and more complex. To see her really as a woman from the very beginning, as a full-grown woman, really driving the narrative with a sense of control, is something very appealing to me. And then, thinking about Rapture, and what stories we could tell and how that story could tie into what takes place on New Year's Eve, 1958, the day the bomb went off that set off the revolution in Rapture, is what’s going to be interesting to me.

Does Elizabeth’s ability to create tears into alternate dimensions give you freedom to create inside a world that already exists?

Levine: You have to be careful about the freedom that gives you, and you have to constrain yourself to a degree. It’s that Superman problem, right? Elizabeth ends BioShock Infinite incredibly powerful, to the point that the whole ending sequence…is that something that’s actually happening, or is that just her way of explaining to Booker what her perception of the universe is? She has this cosmic awareness. To some degree, you have to figure out what your constraint set is. If everything is possible, nothing is interesting. We want to make sure there’s a rule set, and that we stay within that rule set, and we continue to challenge ourselves not to solve our problems with a deus ex machina, but to give people an actual emotional story.

How do you bridge the gap from opening up to the expanse of Columbia for BioShock Infinite, to then return to the confines of a place like Rapture?

Levine: The first part of Burial at Sea is split into two halves. One is a quest that takes place at Eden, the pristine part of pre-fall Rapture. If you remember the original story in BioShock, Andrew Ryan takes over Fontaine’s business; a literal hostile takeover. You learn in this that Fontaine’s cronies are stuck in Fontaine’s department store at the bottom of the ocean, in like an Escape from New York prison. They can’t escape; they’re in the bottom of the ocean. So the second half takes place in this ruined department store. You have both experiences of Rapture, the sort of pristine and the non-pristine.

In terms of the environments, we have a little more freedom in terms of scale just because of the engine we have. There’s a lot of things, for instance: the vista in the trailer, the outside, in the original BioShock is a 2D image wrapped against a wall, and this is actual 3D geometry because we have those sorts of draw distances, and so we can have much more range and scale in space, but we also did want to pull back a little bit. Something I missed about making BioShock was hearing splicers in the distance and being able to plan some strategies ahead of time before combat started. We wanted to tweak the awareness levels, and tweak the balance in Burial at Sea - Episode One, more towards BioShock, in terms of the types of combat and the ability to plan for combat.

In the Elizabeth DLC (Burial at Sea - Episode 2), we’re going to push it even further, to an almost survival horror place so she feels different from Booker, where for her, the ability to be stealthy and get a drop on the environment is much more about who she is. She’s very powerful, in terms of tears, but she can’t sit there and go toe to toe with a Big Daddy.

Is there anything about Rapture that lends itself to her powers and abilities?

Levine: We’ll see.

To be able to play the role of Elizabeth sounds fun, but how do you take someone who’s the deliverer of a story, and put yourself in her shoes, without feeling that disconnect from switching to a first person role?

Levine: It’s hard to say without spoiling a lot of things, but to me, BioShock Infinite and the DLC is about the evolution of Elizabeth as a person, for good and bad. She’s not necessarily in a great place in this DLC. She’s the woman you met when you pulled torture devices from her body, and when she drowned Booker at the end. This is a woman who’s evolved and grown, and she's very much her own agent. But there’s maybe some darkness that comes with that as well. To be her is going to be very interesting after seeing what happens in the first part of the Burial at Sea DLC.

Does the survival horror aspect have anything to do with her internal struggles, or is it imposed upon her?

Levine: She chooses to take something on, because she feels she has to. But it’s a reaction to what happens in the first one. She doesn’t expect to be where she is at the start of the second DLC.

Can Elizabeth and Booker’s story be wrapped up, or is it a situation that’s ultimately open-ended because of the lack of physical limitations within the world?

Levine: It’s always hard to say, because I never know what ideas we’ll come up with. But as I see it right now, this is a very deliberate goal to give people a perspective on every BioShock game they’ve experienced. I think it’s going to give people a proper perspective of the whole franchise, and I think it does complete their story, at least where I’m sitting right now.

I think their story wraps in the end of BioShock Infinite, in one perspective. I think we’ve found this opportunity to tell a very different kind of story about the two of them, and their very different kind of relationship, to bring larger context to the whole franchise.

Discussion

549 comments
PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

Did they have to make Elizabeth hotter!?  I mean, i'd enjoy her a lot more if I wasn't playing as her father.  I was hoping this time around I could be her "Big Daddy", if ya know what I mean :P...

loz055
loz055

SPOILER: I noticed he still had the AD on his hand. So maybe he still somehow lost Anna 

RELeon
RELeon

SPOILER

Stoked for this. Im guessing this particular Elizabeth is directly involved somehow in the events that lead up to Anna even being born, so this particular Elizabeth cannot be erased by the events that take place in Infinite, because if she didnt exist, Anna wouldnt have existed, which means Ourlizabeth never would have existed because zero Elizabeths would have existed at all. So perhaps this particular Elizabeth is crucial to the paradox that keeps Ourlizabeth in existence, and Ourlizabeth is somehow crucial to keeping all existence into existence. Thus these particular variables cannot be undone or erased by what happend in Infinite because they are necessary variables in the paradox that keeps the universe in existence.

Just theorycrafting here.

jonnybutler11
jonnybutler11


So I'm assuming the Elizabeth from Burial at Sea is (or at least somehow related to) the transcendental Elizabeth from the end of Infinite. She's been through some rough shit, I like her knew, hardened look. ALLL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN, I repeat the Bioshock Infinite hype train has returned, and I for one have never been this excited for DLC, ever

tmthywtsn
tmthywtsn

Booker and Elizabeth, Big Daddy and Little Sisters. Protector or savior for the damsel or damsels in distress. I think Booker and Elizabeth will become the key focal point behind the original story. 

4le_breVVer
4le_breVVer

This seems like a bit of a cop out. After years of developing a grand city in the sky, they don't explore more of it but go back under water. >:(

XVIIIIVXII
XVIIIIVXII

This gave me a goose pump! Love Bioshock and their creativity!

EasyOut_87
EasyOut_87

Hate DLC but will purchase this defo:-)

spindie
spindie

why does elizabeth look like cheap trailer trash in this clip?

NTM23
NTM23

I'm not sure if this is correct, but from the looks of it, Elizabeth is in Tenenbaums place here. Her dress is similar, her hair and lipstick, as well as there being a wallpaper of a little sister clinging on to her as if she protecting it.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

The should do space next in the Bioshock universe. Not Mars though its been done to death, how bout Saturn?

Karmazyn
Karmazyn

Bioshock Infinite was overrated, this DLC however might be quite good. Rapture is soooo much better than Colombia !

SubHumanTorch
SubHumanTorch

This sounds like good old fashioned expansion pack, with clash in the clouds I thought they were going to just fob everybody of with new game modes or reworked levels instead of a new narrative piece. Never really got into the first two games so I don't really have any nostalgia for the setting so I'm hoping it won't rely on that to draw people in the story.


Jaykray
Jaykray

This is a perfect example of running a franchise into the ground, something the genres of fantasy and science fiction have always had a problem with (case in point: Star Wars). Developers, writers, artists, etc., just can't leave well enough alone. Enough with Rapture, it's done, it's yesterday's news. Let's see and experience something new rather than settling for nostalgia. 

monza1966
monza1966

I thought the ending to infinite before this was announced was going to be that in a different universe that booker changed his name to Andrew Ryan or Fontaine.  Hmm...looks like I was close. Wish they would have kept them separate games entirely..

FollowY0urBliss
FollowY0urBliss

I SO called that the DLC would return to rapture. I called it back in march. On this very website. I'm awesome.

robchiang1990
robchiang1990

hope Telekinesis would be back and remain gravity-gunny, as much as I enjoy pulling and pushing enemies with Undertow in Infinite,  a special power to pick up unreachable item up while pulling and pushing dudes at well is better. Well, maybe that's asking too much, even Valve can't allow players to pick up stuff and dudes at the same time back in Half-life 2.

brickdoctor
brickdoctor

Episode 3? Bioshock/ Half-Life crossover confirmed.

blackzio
blackzio

spoilers:


So, i'm thinking, my head is fucked trying to wrap the ending with the dlc.

By the multiverse theory, elizabeth would have to cease to exist after drowning him, and the creation of the booker + anna universe was born.

Now with the dlc i need another theory, that doesn't make much sense as it should, but it's the only thing i can think of.

As we can see in the ending of infinite, she doesn't disappear, the screen goes black before that, all the other elizabeth's do, all the other universes are gone. She is the gap between the universes, she can travel between them and so on, so That Elizabeth might have taken some kind of universe-traveler-property that she isn't affected by the contradictions of time and space travel (she can kill her father and still be alive). She is now the only elizabeth left. 

Ok, so we covered elizabeth.

Now to booker.

The guy we see in the DLC must be the one who lives his life with his daughter anna by the universe created after his drowning (anna doesn't become elizabeth anymore in any universe) and he meets elizabeth. Probably some shit went down, and elizabeth contacted booker to fix stuff in rapture. 


My nose is bleeding from going to so many universes already, anyone has a different theory for this?

ar6ra6sh9
ar6ra6sh9

should ask him "how fans should wait till release date ..." AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

LE5LO
LE5LO

I haven't been this excited for DLC since the GTA IV expansions. God bless Take 2 for backing Irrational and Rockstar and for the two companies being sensible enough to take their time and not just release overpriced weapon skins and map packs. This is how you do DLC properly.

nechiken
nechiken

Not gonna lie: I'm probably just gonna watch a let's play of this and leave it at that. I enjoyed Bioshock infinite but I don't know if it's the kind of game where I'd need to play it to maximize my enjoyment, to be completely honest. The worst part of that game was the combat and the best parts were the atmosphere/setting, so I'm not exactly losing out on anything by watching all of it.

GunEye
GunEye

I am only 40% into Bioshock Infinite I persume, and I can't stand those over-revealing articles. Without checking out the video OR reading, with only a quick glance on the photos shown on gamespots/IGN front pages and, and the name of the articles - THOSE ARE FULL OF SUGGESTIVE SPOILLERS. A man can't check the news without being spoilled.

Damn it people, not everyone finish Bioshock already.

Leria
Leria

@Blackburn123 

Sure about that? The thing about Quantum Mechanics is that it also says that ALL possibilities can be true in alternate universes. That means that the physical rules of Quantum Mechanics and universal travel can be different from world to world as well and even in our universe, different from one galaxy/area to another depending on certain localized circumstances.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@XVIIIIVXII goose-bump ;-) goose pump sounds like you're pumping with a goose. xD

devak108
devak108

@Karmazyn Yea Rapture was just too good. Columbia can't compete with arguably the best game environment ever created. So beyond pumped to be going back to Rapture with this DLC.

lemmy2
lemmy2

@Karmazyn Agreed. I sold my Bioshock infinite because I thought it was boring compared to the previous instalments. Rapture was much better and the splicers were more interesting characters/enemies. I would rebuy it just to play in Rapture more.

jonnybutler11
jonnybutler11

@Jaykray I don't think you get what Ken Levine is trying to do with this dlc... Irrational wants to put the whole series under a new light, and make you look at Elizabeth's story from a different perspective, something that i trust will best be achieved with a return to Rapture. They aren't going for nostalgia here, once again they're planning on blowing everyone's mind and I personally can't wait!

SubHumanTorch
SubHumanTorch

@Jaykray Star wars is far from run into the ground, there are still some very good comic and novel series being produced to this day.

robchiang1990
robchiang1990

@brickdoctor Well, I feel that Bioshock Infinite is actually quite a Half-life "rip-off". I mean the sky-line is totally faster rails of the original, and Izzy's relationship with Songbird is a twisted verison of the bond between Alyx Vance and DOG. Anyway, I love both Half-life and Bioshock, I'm sucker for shooters with good stories.

RELeon
RELeon

 Only thing I can think of is that the universe that Infinite took place in is somehow directly involved with the universe you play in with Bioshock 1 and 2. Somehow the two are interconnected, probably through some sort of paradox. Maybe what happened is directly related with Anna even being born. If she was never born, the events in Infinite never would have happened, and OURlizabeth never would have existed to even achieve her transcendence and gain her ability to change the Bioshock universe. Yet somehow, Elizabeth plays a role in Anna being born, so this particular Elizabeth has to exist in order for Anna to be born in order for  the events in Infinite to transprire in order for OURlizabeth to transcend, so this particular Elizabeth cannot be erased by the events that happened in Infinite because she is a crucial piece in keeping OURlizabeth in existence, and OURlizabeth may have to exist in order for all of existence to exist. Just a theory.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@GunEye you know that Gamespot is a buzzkill service though right? Kevin Van Ord openly admitted it in the Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag comment section. Even had a small family Guy video as proof of this.

blackzio
blackzio

@GunEye 

relax, you can't get spoiled even if you watch the end, had to watch 2 times and i'm still not sure if i understand what happened there, specially after this dlc reveal.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@GunEyeYou're right; it's suggestive, but trust me, they definitely haven't spoiled Bioshock: Infinite for you with that picture and a few headlines on their main pages over the last 2 months. It has an ending you'll never see coming.

I get what you're saying though and it's a very good point, the logo for Infinite and an omission of the word Rapture would've been more suitable on the main page for this article, it was a little heavy handed putting such a suggestive screen shot and headline right there as soon as the main page loads. 

Hopefully the GS lads read your post and are a little more thoughtful in the future. ;-)

Warful
Warful

@GunEye Yeah people should really note their comments as spoilers if there are any :/
I remember having Dishonored spoiled just ONE day before release in EU(it was released early in US)
So the game was ruined before I even got to play it.

Blackburn123
Blackburn123

@Leria @Blackburn123 Agree with that, but the idea of tears are an impossibility. There can not be a gateway linking our universe with the other, but wormholes can do that if someone can enlarge them to huge size. Fact: Wormholes are wrinkles in time which open and destroy in a blink of an eye and they are only present in a region called quantum foam, WHICH IS EVEN SMALLER THAN A SIZE OF AN ATOM!

Leria
Leria

@Blackburn123 @RELeon 

Again, NOT NECESSARILY. Numerous physicists have said that depending on localized circumstances/events, the 'rules' of physics can be limited. They are only UNIVERSAL rules as far as well have seen them in our universe, they might be different in the next universe/dimension over.

That is why even physicists do not rule out there being such a thing as 'magic' that could have at one time existed because the rules of physics were somehow 'altered' due to some event.

Karmazyn
Karmazyn

@lemmy2 @Karmazyn true. I will def re-buy original Bioshock just to re-visit rapture. Yes splicers were soooo much better. The colombia enemies are boring and new bid daddies are nowhere near the brillaince of big daddies from Rapture.

Warful
Warful

@robchiang1990 @brickdoctor That is really stretching, Elizabeth doesn't like Songbird? so how is Vance and DOG's relationship equal to that? she's scared of Songbird?
and there wasn't a free moving rail system in Half Life you could jump around from, I am strongly disagreeing here. However of course they've drawn ideas from other games, this is the case for all games, even half life had its ideas built from some previous game.

GunEye
GunEye

@LE5LO @GunEye OK guys! that's very reassuring. Damn I should get back to this awesome game already! think I start it over though, been a long break since last I played.

I have'nt finished the story, but I am sure a DLC sequel would be pretty damn good, because this game is something else.

GunEye
GunEye

@Warful @GunEye I definitely agree with you. But it isn't just users, the web editors on these websites should try showing less revealing photos on front page, and less over-revealing articles. like "Returning to X, Johny is back, and showing a photo of someone who looks more sinster than before etc.."

 I got a few direct spoillers, but my head can pretty much predict some consequences.

I am going to play Bioshock before I get more spoillers...

Warful
Warful

@GunEye @Warful Clash in the Clouds is a challenge map with some different tasks to complete, it is NOT storybased. Columbias Finest is a weapon/gear pack I believe, atleast I know it ISN'T a storybased DLC.

The story based are called Buried at Sea Episode 1 & 2 and are not out yet, all we know about them, we just heard yesterday and the trailer is all we've really seen of the DLCs

GunEye
GunEye

@Warful @GunEye Just tell me: because I don't want to read any more, the DLC's : "Clash in the Clouds" and "Columbia's Finest" in Steam  ---- Are these the new content discussed here? or are these just weapon/gear packs, and a real DLC/Story expansion is called something else? is the new game levels out yet?

Warful
Warful

@GunEye @Warful Do so and keep away from here just in case! Enjoy the game, it's a masterpiece!