The most immersive game I have ever played was BioShock Infinite.
I’ll admit that I did not bother with the first two installations in the BioShock series, despite my friend’s insistence that I tried it out. (It was one of those “the story is so good you just have to try it!” incidences.) I did not think much of BioShock Infinite either, even when the gaming community exploded with excitement over it. What drew my attention to the game in the end, was when I saw Anna Moleva cosplaying as Elizabeth, the girl from the game with a half a pinky missing.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for pretty girls.
So two weeks before the game was released, I started to look more into the game, and found out more about the world in which the game takes place, the different elements the creators have brought together, and also reading reviews written by people who managed to get an advance copy of the game. Invariably, the responses of those who finished the game went something like: “The ending. Speechless.”
In a good way, of course. And all of this only added to my intrigue of what this game was all about. Still, I mainly just wanted to see Elizabeth in action.
About two weeks after the official release of the game, I managed to get it on my home computer. There was a 10-minute prologue of sorts to the game, and then the playable was launched (literally) into Columbia.
And my jaw dropped at the sight.
The glimmering city in the clouds, sunlight glinting off the white-and-gold surfaces like heaven itself. The music kicks in: a dreamy piano tinkling notes in perfect harmony, preparing the way for the song, and then the choir fades in like a chorus of angels.
I was instantly won over by the spectacle. It was the closest thing to perfection I have ever seen or heard in the visual and sound departments. All of this, before I even got to stab anyone or rescue the pretty girl from the tower!
The game only got better from there onwards.
It was one of the very few games where I felt personally connected to the story. I wanted to know what was the story behind the working replica of heaven. What was up with the girl locked away in the tower. What will become of these characters I have come across. I fought each battle with all the desperation of a man trying to stay alive; I felt his terror as I walked through the empty halls of bedlam house, footsteps echoing off the walls; and I unleashed some unspeakable rage when anyone DARED to lay a finger on Elizabeth.
Then at the end of the game, my mind was promptly blown together with the playable character’s, as every mystery in the game came crashing down to the reveal of the horrible truth.
Bam. Gameplay, visual, sound, and the fourth element – storytelling thrown into the mix. It was the finest thing I have ever seen, and probably will see in a long time.
I looked all over the internet in the weeks following my completion of the game, and I saw the journey of the crew that made the game happen. The months and years spend brainstorming ideas, re-imagining ideas, modeling, animating, acting, voicing, directing – and it was incredible to see how much love has been put into the project, that it was able to turn out the way it did.
(I guess I was also suffering from awesomeness withdrawal)
What can we learn out of this? That a delayed masterpiece is invariably superior to a rushed half-job. That love is essential to creating good art. That it takes a team full of committed, passionate people to create something great.
And that it never hurts to have a pretty girl around.