Published on January 28th, 2013 | by Fraser Brown1
Columbia: Where is it now?
We spend quite a bit of time lamenting video game marketing here at AWESOMEoutof10, and with good reason. When we’re not being drip-fed screenshots and trailers like we’re starving beggars, we get to witness the regurgitation of press releases at the hands of the gaming media or even manufactured controversy in the vein of the recent Dead Island torso debacle. Both the press and PR companies are equally complicit in this. At worst it’s insidious, but most of the time it’s just boring.
This all makes the latest trailer for BioShock Infinite a breath of fresh air. This short, two minute video almost entirely absent footage from the game itself does more to build a believable world than a thousand screenshots of people riding motorbikes or flying helicopters (oddly specific, right?).
I’ve avoided the gameplay video showing off the first sections of the game, in fact I don’t think I’ve seen any videos since the E3 walkthrough that shows a part of the game that’s already been, apparently, changed quite a bit. This somewhat eerie faux documentary trailer is what does it for me.
The floating city of Columbia with its manic inhabitants and giant mechanical bird don’t really feel particularly grounded in reality, or at least they didn’t until now. But “Columbia: A Modern Day Icarus?” places it in its historical setting and begs the question, where is it now? I’m far more excited to play through Booker’s story to find out what happens to the city in the clouds than I was five minutes ago, that’s for sure.
It’s a perfect example of world building done right. It asks questions rather than providing answers, it fleshes out the setting, and it refuses to spoil even a second of the game itself. The haunting music and spot-on narration is wonderfully juxtaposed to the bright and vibrant gameplay footage we’ve been treated to thus far, and emphasises the potentially dark nature of the title’s narrative. The original BioShock was a shadow-drenched, lonely, oppressive experience — stuck, as it was, under the ocean — but this goes to show that there’s something equally as ominous about this miraculous sky city, even if it is surrounded by sunshine and fluffy clouds.