BioShock Infinite lifts off in 2012

Irrational's new steampunk action game will be set in chaos-plagued airborne metropolis; due out on 360, PS3, and PC.

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In April, Take-Two Interactive chairman Strauss Zelnick said that Irrational Games, the studio that created the franchise-founding hit BioShock, was hard at work on an "an original title that could become another franchise." However, recent rumors had the studio crafting a sequel to the undersea-set BioShock 2, which was developed by 2K Marin.

Gamers' heads will be in the clouds with the flying city of Columbia.
Gamers' heads will be in the clouds with the flying city of Columbia.

Turns out, both were right…sort of. This afternoon, Irrational formally took the wraps off of BioShock Infinite, a game that bears the franchise's name but is not connected to the original series' story. As outlined in GameSpot's first-look preview, it will incorporate many elements of the BioShock series, such as plasmidlike power-ups, guns, glowing-eyed enemies, and a surreal metropolis embroiled in chaos.

That said, BioShock Infinite is not set under the ocean but in a giant flying metropolis in a steampunk alternate early 20th century. The city, Columbia, was made by the US as a demonstration of the nation's technological know-how and to showcase democracy as it circles the globe. However, as was the case with BioShock's Rapture, the utopian ideals gave way to chaos and madness amongst the populace, a situation complicated by the fact that Columbia is bristling with heavy weaponry.

Commuting between Columbia's sections will have a slim margin of error
Commuting between Columbia's sections will have a slim margin of error

Into this mess steps the game's protagonist, Booker DeWitt, a former member of the feared Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which was the nation's largest security company in the late 19th century. According to the preview, he will enter where steampunk robots have replaced horses and people and where crazed citizens foment revolution with strange powers--and lots of guns.

BioShock Infinite will ship in 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. For a closer look at the game, check out the debut trailer below and GameSpot's video interview with Irrational head Ken Levine.

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