News Item

New BioShock Infinite episodes take you back to Rapture, are noir as hell

By Matt Gerardi • July 30, 2013

Irrational and 2K Games have taken the wraps off of new downloadable add-ons for BioShock Infinite. The first, titled “Clash In The Clouds,” is launching today on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 for $5. This will add a new mode to the game where players, constrained to one of four different maps, mow down waves of enemies and earn prizes based on their performance. In other words, it’s BioShock Infinite without the story.

The second and third downloadable bits are more interesting, but they don’t yet have a release date. Titled BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea, the two-part story takes private dick Booker DeWitt and superpowered damsel-in-distress Elizabeth, the main characters from BioShock Infinite, and relocates them to Rapture, the undersea utopia from the original BioShock. In addition to resuming your role as Booker, Burial will give players a chance to control Elizabeth, something that didn’t happen in Infinite. And unlike the original BioShock, which brought you into a disheveled, war-torn Rapture, Burial At Sea takes place in 1958 at the glorious heights of the city’s objectivist experiment. Although, considering it’s probably a Rapture from an alternate timeline, I guess the chronology of the first game doesn’t matter at all. But then again, maybe…my brain hurts.

Each of the two Burial At Sea episodes will run $15, or you can buy a Season Pass, which includes the aforementioned shooting gallery mode, for $20. I’m excited to see how Burial At Sea pans out. After Minverva’s Den, a great add-on for BioShock 2, I’ve been itching for more short, focused stories set in the BioShock universe. Also, I have a soft spot for ham-fisted noir homages, and the trailer for this thing is just about the most noir thing I’ve ever seen. Have to love that “Got a light?” moment.

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62 Responses to “New BioShock Infinite episodes take you back to Rapture, are noir as hell”

  1. Kyle O'Reilly says:

    I’ll be honest, I’m kind of bummed about this.  Rapture is cool as all hell and everybody knows this but Columbia was the heart of Infinite so abandoning it to go back to the first game’s setting seems like a bit of a cop out.  Rapture has been explored in two feature length games and now we have characters from the sequel jammed into it?

    It’s as if they had no faith in the world they had created in Infinite and knew they could get a better reaction going back to Rapture.

    I’ll still buy this as I’m sure it will be good but I’m a little bummed that my only way to return to Columbia is in the combat-only DLC coming out.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I agree that Columbia begs for further exploration, but at the same time, I think this is a pretty great idea.  The character archetypes fit, I’m excited to see Rapture before it gets all, …y’know… goofy, and also, who knows where the story will go.  The trailer sold me.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       They’re both great worlds. I’ve been thinking about the two “approaches” those games give the player, the actual physical approach to those worlds, and it just made me want to get back there. I would love to see more Columbia, but I’d also love to see more Rapture, and that one has been gnawing at me for almost six years.

    • boardgameguy says:

      there has been some pretty good speculation that an alternate reality Booker is the protagonist from the first game and that Elizabeth is connected somehow to the Little Sisters. this DLC could be the explanation. to see more on this, check out this article:

    • PPPfive says:

      I was really, really expecting this to be about the big bird thing. Very disappointed for the reasons you point out, namely that we have done Rapture a lot now. I don’t particularly care about seeing it in it’s glory days, the beauty of the setting in the first two games is that it’s easy to imagine what it would have looked like. Columbia had so much going for it. At least there wont be any rails. 

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        Songbird is so fascinating that I don’t know if I want more about it and its origins, or if I want less to maintain that mystique.

      • beema says:

        The lack of exploration of Songbird definitely felt like a giant missing piece in Infinite when I played. I guess it was just a giant robot that was attached to Liz… no further depth that felt implied?

    • 2StoryOuthouse says:

      As much as we’ve seen of Rapture, we really haven’t seen it in full glory. I know a lot of people, myself included, thought Infinite could have used a lot more pre-collapse Columbia. It didn’t make sense with the story in Bioshock 1 & 2, but I felt the same way about Rapture.

      If there’s one thing this series does well, it’s atmosphere. So color me cautiously optimistic.

    • 咒純討厭 says:

      Mayhaps they are washing away the taste of Bioshock 2?

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I don’t really get the love for that game. Yes, it let you have fun little fort battles, and it certainly wasn’t bad (I know I finished it once), but it’s skim milk against the whole of the other BioShock games.

        • SammyJankis says:

           I don’t get the HATE for that game. Yeah, it wasn’t as original as Bioshock 1, but then again, *of course* it wasn’t.

  2. DrFlimFlam says:

    Clash in the Clouds strikes me as nearly tone deaf in its approach, more akin to Andrew Ryan’s Plasmid pack or some of the half-baked ME DLC than what people want to pay for in DLC. Heck, ME3 put out a ton of multiplayer content and it was all 100% free. This is multiplayer without the multiplayer and people are being charged for it?

    The pricing scheme for the Burial at Sea content is baffling. It’s such a no-brainer. Season Pass even gets you the ugly stepchild content today.

    • neodocT says:

      Clash in the Clouds is exactly the kind of DLC I’m never at all interested in. It actually reminds me of Tomb Raider, and how that game released multiplayer DLC that interested about three people.

      Burial at Sea looks pretty good, but because it’s a two parter, I also have no intention of getting it now. I’d rather just wait for the whole thing to be released. The idea behind the Season Pass pricing is to get more people to pay more money now, I suppose. Maybe they don’t think people will stick around with the game long enough for the second part of the DLC, so they might as well profit now. Or maybe it’s so that people won’t sell their copies because they’re waiting for the second part they already paid for.

      Either way, I have strong, instinctual dislike of these Season Pass shenanigans and refuse to support them for no better reason than that they seem icky. As a matter of fact, I don’t really care for DLC either, so screw this whole thing!

      • Andrew Bare says:

        I’ve never been a huge fan of DLC either, but my tolerance for it is directly related to how complete the original game itself is. When developers rush out a half-finished or half-baked game and then expect to round it out with DLC that we have to pay for, that’s not something I get behind.

        On the other hand, “Infinite,” however polarizing it might be on Gameological, was undeniably a complete, finished affair. It wasn’t some half-cocked game that Irrational is just now getting around to finishing off with DLC. The Burial Under the Sea DLC, by contrast, is something unique and extra, something on top of the game I paid for. So I’m OK with paying for it as well. 

        • neodocT says:

           I perfectly agree with you that this is DLC done right, and I gladly paid for Bioshock Infinite because it was a complete game, but on a gut level I still don’t really like it too much. I never really bought too much DLC, ME2 and 3 being my sole exceptions, so it may be that I’m just not entirely used to seeing the “pay extra for two more hours of content” as a normal, everyday thing.

          By the way, I find it interesting that ME3 managed to show the best of DLC with The Citadel and the free expansions on the multiplayer game, while also showing its absolute worst with From Ashes, a Day One, disc-locked DLC that features a character that strongly improves the game and should clearly have been included from the beginning.

        • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

          @neodocT:disqus Except From Ashes wasn’t ‘disc-locked’. It was a downloadable content, not an unlockable, it was just really badly timed and like you said should have been part of the main game in the first place. So I’m disagreeing with you and agreeing with you. Fuckin’ internet.  If you’re going to complain about Mass Effect DLC for god’s sake do it right and point out Omega for the overpriced bore it was.

        • neodocT says:

          @NakedManHoldingAFudgesicle:disqus They could be wrong, but there are several articles stating that a lot of the content of From Ashes was, in fact, disc locked. So much so that Javik could be accessed for free by people with modded Xboxes:

          But honestly, I don’t care about it being disc-locked or not as much as I care about it being an essential part of the game, that was cut out as DLC. And I shouldn’t really complain about Omega because I completely skipped both it and Leviathan after reading the reviews, but I’ll complain anyway: FUCK MASS EFFECT DLC (except Citadel and Shadow Broker, I still love you guys!)!

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          The idea that a core character with an impressive tie to the mythos is locked out of ME3 is part of what concerns me about BioWare’s corporate overlords. I bought ME2 and ME3 for $20 each in large part due to the eventual cost of DLC. I do in general wait for sales on DLC even, but it’s frustrating to play an entire game and not get a freaking PROTHEAN squad mate because the game I bought didn’t see fit to include it for paying customers unless they then paid MORE.

          I’m crossing my fingers that Citadel will hit sale before my latest XBL Gold run ends.

        • Fluka says:

          @neodocT:disqus The From Ashes DLC, from what I understand,  was only “on-disc” in the sense that the game contained basic “hooks” for Javik to be incorporated into conversations and gameplay when the DLC was downloaded.  The articles linked don’t really provide any evidence that the DLC content was actually on-disc, just that it had been fully planned for (and indeed, that 600 MB download does *something*).  Kasumi from ME2 was also “on-disc” in exactly the same way as Javik, it’s worth pointing out – she just got released several months later and wasn’t as cool.

          Mind you, given said coolness, Javik probably should have been part of the main story in the first place.

          Leviathan’s worth playing, as it’s fully-voiced by the squad and is a well-done piece of lore.  Omega’s definitely an overpriced slog, though.  (Citadel 4EVA.)

      • 2StoryOuthouse says:

        In most cases, I agree with you. 90% of the time, I’m quickly bored by “mow down waves of enemies” modes anyway, especially when the base game already gave me that.

        There are two exceptions, for my money: The Arkham games, since taking down a large group of enemies required such precision and fluidity (though that wasn’t DLC, so maybe that doesn’t even count) and Dishonored‘s much-more-fun-than-I-expected  “Dunwall City Trials” which, by focusing purely on individual elements of gameplay, ended up feeling very different from the base game.

        • TheInternetSaid says:

          Damnit, now I have to get Dunwall City Trials.

        • Merve says:

          @TheInternetSaid:disqus: Dunwall City Trials was okay. It reminded me of the action figure I got for my fifth birthday and played with for an hour before I got bored and went back to playing with my Lego.

      • Chalkdust says:

         The Tomb Raider thing is especially borne out by the Steam achievements.  Look at that, more than 46% of the people that bought it played the story to completion.  Given my own propensity for setting things aside, that number strikes me as a good one; even though the campaign isn’t particularly hard, that many people were engaged enough to see it through.

        As for multiplayer, the most earned of those achievements hits a paltry 11.6%.  I really hope that Crystal Dynamics takes this information into account and switches their tack on whether they’d do any more story-driven DLC versus more maps that nobody’s playing.  Hopefully whatever the next entry in the series is, at least, they’ll invest whatever resources and time they may have allotted for multiplayer into more campaign content.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Thanks, Chalk– I never actually thought of checking the Steam achievements tally as a kind of implicit review of how engaging a game is. Now, I rarely play “big” games on PC because my current laptop is useless for anything that involves serious graphics, but I bet that the overall picture that you get from those stats would be applicable to the PS3 version (i.e. the one that interests me) as well.

          Unless there’s some fundamental difference between PC gamers and console gamers that would throw off the comparison… oh shit… I suddenly had a weird moment where market analysis seemed like a potentially interesting endeavor…

        • neodocT says:

           Hah, I’m glad to know my inexplicable disdain for the Tomb Raider DLC has been scientifically proven to be universal.

        • Chalkdust says:

           @ChumJoely:disqus I hadn’t either until Tomb Raider.  It was almost by accident that it caught my attention, but now I want to go and check some other games’ achievements as points of comparison:

          Alan Wake – 22.7%
          Bastion – 13.8%
          Bioshock Infinite – 56.9%
          Borderlands 2 – 33.3%
          Hitman: Absolution – 35.4%
          Legend of Grimrock – 8.6%
          Limbo – 31.8%
          Mark of the Ninja – 21.2%
          Max Payne 3 – 31.9%
          Portal – 46.5%
          Portal 2 – 45.2%
          Quantum Conundrum – 23.1%
          Tomb Raider – 46.4%
          The Walking Dead – 35.2%
          The Witcher 2 – 17.1%

        • Merve says:

          The problem with the Tomb Raider multiplayer isn’t that it’s a bad game. I tried it for a few hours, and it wasn’t half-bad. But it just isn’t as polished or carefully crafted as the main campaign, and it doesn’t introduce anything novel or unique enough to be engaging on its own merits.

          It seems as if when developers add multiplayer to their games, they’re asking themselves, “Is this functional and mildly enjoyable?” Instead, they should be asking, “If this were sold as a $10 to $15 standalone, would people be willing to fork over cash for it?”

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I don’t generally support season passes, but I wanted this game, and more like it, so bad that I was willing to put my money right up front.

        I can’t wait for the day Levine is able to largely ditch violence in return for the rich worlds we could explore, and the narratives we could touch and impact, instead.

    • indy2003 says:

      Agreed. If there’s one element of Bioshock: Infinite which felt entirely ordinary, it’s the combat. This situation isn’t quite as bad, but I’m reminded of the unnecessary and somewhat inappropriate Spec Ops: The Line multiplayer mode.

      Burial at Sea does sound promising, though…

  3. SaviourMachine says:

     I want  all these noir associations to be strong enough  to create a really stylish adventure story in a refreshed but familiar world. I like this new approach to Rapture and i also like how Irrational deal with different and interesting tasks. They’ve could chosen an easier way for DLC, i guess, but fortunately logic of their game world allows them for a big variety of stories.

    • George_Liquor says:

      I kinda get the impression that they wanted, but never got a chance to do a Film Noir-style DLC with the original Bioshock, so now they’re shoehorning in characters from BI. Incidentally, I’d play the hell out of a proper adventure game set in a pre-catastrophe Rapture.

  4. PhilWal0 says:

    One question: will Andrew Ryan be appearing in this DLC, as portrayed by Armin Shimerman?

  5. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    uh-oh.  AVC has this under the main newswire column.  Matt better do a quick rewrite so it has more snark.

  6. Biran53 says:

    I actually genuinely believe we might see Columbia again in this two parter, because think about this:
    How can Elizabeth exist?
    Now, I know there is nothing stopping Booker from appearing in this alternate universe, but Elizabeth is specifically a byproduct of Comstock.
    So something tells me that we haven’t seen the last of our jolly bearded racist and his floating city.

  7. Real_Irwin says:

    It’s nice to see this game will take place before the Fall of Rapture. My favorite parts of Infinite were seeing Columbia operating in it’s normal state, so it will be good to see Rapture in normal conditions for once to give some context for how it appears later.

    And I’m interested to see what Irrational can do with the noir-like storyline that’s light on combat. 

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Levine and George R. R. Martin are both in love with the fall of society (Seven Kingdoms were pretty quiet for about twenty years before the story begins, for example) and what’s left after. It’s a fascinating topic, of course, but the worlds Levine has created are so wonderful that to see Rapture only as a derelect dream gone wrong is depressing. Columbia was better, since we saw it both as horrifying in its white-washed beauty and then crumble as we finished the game.

  8. Toparaman says:

    Ken Levine’s pretentious writing annoys me, and the previous Bioshocks have had tedious gameplay, so I’m going to pass on this. He already fooled me twice with the fantastic settings of Bioshock 1 and Infinite.

  9. Tim Heidegger says:

    Solid point and I agree to an extent, but I think the noir overtones make up for that a bit. It’s a refreshing take that works well with the characters, and I’m interested in seeing the differences that pop up.
    And judging from the date on that calendar at the beginning, this takes place on the day Rapture begins its descent into hell. That, combined with Elizabeth’s reality hopping powers, should at the very least make for an exciting adventure yarn.

  10. George_Liquor says:

    I hate voicing disappointment at a product that’s not released yet, but dammit I’m gonna do it now! For me at least, Bioshock Infinite’s combat was by far its least compelling aspect. It was repetitive, unoriginal and gory in a goofy, over-the-top manner that didn’t jive with the game’s tone at all. I have no interest in playing BI’s shooty bits over again when they’ve been completely divorced from the plot.

    Regarding the Burial At Sea content, I dunno… It could be good, but why abandon Columbia to do a crossover now, when BI went through so much effort to establish its own rich back-story? Why can’t we explore the events that led to Columbia’s secession? Now that the secret’s out about Booker, *SPOILERS* why can’t we learn more about his transformation into Comstock?

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      You’re assuming we won”t. I’d say there’s quite a bit we don’t know about where that story will take us.

      • George_Liquor says:

        They might, but if it does turn out to be The Naked Underwater City, I hope they seriously dial back the shooty bits in favor of actual character interactions. Film Noir is even less conducive to over-the-top gore than high-concept sci-fi.

  11. If they hadn’t waited so long, I might not have traded in my game.

    Meanwhile, Injustice has had — what, 8, 9 goddamn DLCs?  What kept you guys?

    • Real_Irwin says:

      Costumes and extra characters for a fighting game take a lot less work than story DLC for a game like this. 

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Having one template and just adding or removing nipples as the character dictates seriously cuts down on development time.


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  13. NakedSnake says:

    What a great idea. I really like the way that DLC allows some creative freedom for these big budget games. At this point, it’s a given that AAA games will be relatively conservative in approach. There is too much money at stake for the publishers to take any big risks with their products. Nobody goes “off book”. But that doesn’t mean that the people who create these games are happy with that. I feel like recently some of the most creative offerings for big budget games have come from DLC; witness The Tyranny of King Washington, Tales From Liberty City, and of course Blood Dragons. I can totally picture the meetings where the developers are pitching new and interesting ideas to the publishers, and the publishers are like, “Eh, sounds risky. Put it in the DLC”.


    I wonder if this DLC will explain the relationship between Plasmids and Vigors?

    • thwartley says:

      I thought that was pretty well explained in BI: Fink “imported” plasmids from the future, through tears, and marketed them as vigors, just as his brother ripped off music from the future and passed it off as his own.

      • Andrew Bare says:

        I don’t know if that was ever explicitly laid out in the same way that Songbird’s origin was, but that was certainly the impression I got. 

        • thwartley says:

          Jeremiah Fink alluded to making discoveries through tears in a voxophone message to Albert. IIRC, this voxophone was backstage at the Good Time Club.

          I must have missed the full explanation of Songbird’s origin, though. I gathered that he was some kind of cyborg, but where was that explained?

      • Andrew Bare says:

        There’s a room in Finkton (I think it’s the big office before you walk outside, find Fink and Fitzroy and then fight the Handyman as a quasi-boss battle) where Fink goes on (via voxophone, as you say) about seeing mechanical men in one of the tears, and then mentions that Comstock would have need of such a thing. And there’s a black board nearby with sketches of Songbird and a lot of inscrutable text.

        I don’t know if there’s ever a moment where Fink says anything so obvious about the vigors themselves, but yeah, the obvious explanation, as you said, is that he just took them (or at leas the idea of them) from Rapture, via tear. 


        I know that, but it still doesn’t explain how they’re made/how they work

  15. DrFlimFlam says:

    Ken Levine has so much fun with people on Twitter.

    “To be clear, Burial at Sea features mostly tweaked Infinite gameplay
    systems, not Bio 1 systems recreated from scratch. However…(see…”

    And that’s it. It ends.

  16. zgberg says:


  17. robthom says:

    I dont know about the noirest thing walking the earth,
    but it does look good.

    Like everything else Bioshock, more interesting then 80% of the recycled standard issue AAA tripe corporate devs keep putting out.

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