Rumor suggests that BioShock Infinite has been delayed so that the team can implement multiplayer. Marcus Mac Dhonnagáin ponders the options
Last week, Irrational Games’s creative director Ken Levine announced that BioShock Infinite was being delayed until February 26, 2013. Since then there has been growing speculation as to why this choice was made. One of the rumored reasons for the delay is the possibility that Irrational has started to develop a multiplayer component for the title.
Subsequently, Eurogamer lent credence to this suspicion by pointing out the appearance of a job listing from Irrational, which stated the developer is currently looking to employ a network programmer who has “shipped at least one commercial network-connected game title, preferably on a console.”
While this isn’t an official confirmation, it isn’t terribly surprising either. In 2010, Levine stated that Irrational was testing the possibilities of a BioShock Infinite-type multiplayer. He said, “From where we’re sitting on BioShock Infinite, we are experimenting with lots of things in single player and with things in multiplayer all the time. And the question is – and we’re incredibly confident now that we’ve got a single-player experience that is absolutely going to be incredibly impactful on people – [but] we’re not convinced of that on a multiplayer side at this point.
“And we’re still thinking about it but unless we’re absolutely convinced, it’s not something we would do, because I don’t see who it serves.”
However, if the rumor is proved to be true the question then becomes – what form would BioShock Infinite’s multiplayer take? Personally, I wouldn’t be very keen on the idea of having co-op in the single-player experience. From what has been revealed thus far, it seems that BioShock Infinite is a somewhat linear and directed experience, where character interaction between Brooker and Elizabeth is central to the story. This interaction between the two could be diluted if Elizabeth were controlled by another player.
A competitive mode could be promising, however, and Infinite’s plot of two warring groups certainly lends itself to a faction-based game where two teams duke it out over Columbia.
Also, Infinite could take inspiration from Max Payne 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which implemented narrative devices into their multiplayer modes. The multiplayer could be used to explain pieces of Columbia’s history or allow players to relive battles that they might hear about during the single player. The idea of zooming down a zipline while firing at an enemy certainly does sound appealing!
Perhaps there could be a persistent battlefield on Columbia, where maps would rotate based on which side was currently winning the most. Maybe there would be an objective-based mode, like that found in Max Payne 3 and Brink, where a series of objectives alternate as players desperately scramble to complete them. A short cutscene could punctuate each round, giving context as to why players are battling one another. The sky’s the limit!
By taking certain designs from other titles and by adding elements that makes BioShock Infinite a wholly unique experience, Irrational could create its own type of multiplayer experience that could stand toe-toe with the competition. It’ll be interesting to see if Irrational is really planning on implementing a multiplayer mode, and if it is, it’ll be even more interesting to see what its unique hook will be.
Follow Marcus on Twitter: @M_M_DH