BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games. Previously known as "Project Icarus" in development, it was released worldwide on the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms on March 26, 2013. BioShock Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock series, and though it is not part of the storyline of previous BioShock games, it does feature similar gameplay concepts and themes. The game's concept and setting were developed by Irrational's creative lead, Ken Levine, who took inspiration from both historical events at the turn of the 20th century, as well as more recent ones at the time such as the "Occupy" protests.
Set in 1912 during the growth of American exceptionalism, the game has protagonist, former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the floating air-city of Columbia to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive there for most of her life. Though Booker rescues Elizabeth, the two are pursued by the city's warring factions: the nativist and elite Founders that strive to keep the city for pure Americans, and the Vox Populi, a rebel grouping representing the common people. Booker finds Elizabeth to be central to this conflict, and learns that she possesses strange powers to manipulate rifts in the space-time continuum that ravage Columbia.
The player controls Booker throughout the game, eventually working with the AI-controlled Elizabeth. Like previous BioShock games, the player uses a combination of weapons, gears, and psychokinetic powers granted through vigors. Elizabeth's own powers can also be used to help fight hostile forces. In contrast to the limited spaces of the underwater city of Rapture, the open-air city of Columbia provides for more combat challenges, including combat that takes place aboard the city's Skyline rollercoaster-like rail system. The game also features an optional "1999 Mode", harking back to games like System Shock 2 where decisions made by the player will have a more permanent impact on the game.
BioShock Infinite won numerous pre-release awards for its display at E3 2011, including Best of Show from the Game Critics Awards. Upon release, the game received critical acclaim and was favorably compared to, with some even considering it had surpassed, the original BioShock game. The game's plot and visual aesthetics were particularly praised (with its ending sparking debates across internet forums), while the combat received a mixed response with some praising its new additions and others criticizing its simplicity. Its themes of political and religious beliefs, and the use of excessive violent imagery have also raised controversy. Take Two has reported that over 3.7 million retail copies have shipped within the first two months of the game's release.
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