Columbia, the majestic floating city that hosts Irrational Games’ next blockbuster hit Bioshock Infinite, is a technical and artistic masterpiece, and the animation of the city brings it all to life. Shawn Robertson, animation director at Irrational Games, is in charge of making sure that the player gets the absolute best experience while making their way through Columbia’s skyward streets, and as odd as it sounds, one of the concerns he faced during the development process was seasickness. “I believe we have the ability to turn off the floating buildings, and that’s so that people don’t get seasick,” says Robertson, “…we’ve had a couple of people in the company who have. Don’t forget this is a really big aesthetic thing – making you feel like you are in the sky – and when things float they don’t stay in lockstep with each other, there’s always this slightly undulating movement.” The undulating and random movement of the buildings is one of many small animation techniques that the team at Irrational used to make sure the player is fully immersed into the world of Columbia.

But, you aren’t just looking at floating buildings in Bioshock Infinte; in fact, you will spend a lot of your time in game looking at and interacting with the game’s damsel in distress, Elizabeth. Elizabeth has been held prisoner in Columbia ever since she was a child, and it is your job, as former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, to rescue her. One of the central aspects of the game is the relationship that Booker establishes with Elizabeth in both the story and in the gameplay. When you really look at Elizabeth you may notice that her features aren’t exactly proportional to what a normal human face would be. Roberston explains the decision to exaggerate her features, “…we wanted to exaggerate her facial structure so that you could see her across the room and read the expression she has on her face. Even at 1080p your ability as a player to look at the screen and analyse what’s going on – that is tough.” Getting the player to concentrate on Elizabeth is definitely a hard task to accomplish, especially when she is surrounded by all of the beautifully crafted set pieces that bring Columbia to life.

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The interaction with Elizabeth goes much deeper than just looks though. Throughout your journey, Elizabeth will be following you and interacting with the environment based on how you progress through it. If you stop to inspect something, Elizabeth will stop with you and interact with the object. Robertson gives an example of walking on a beach with Elizabeth, “… She’ll find things to do. So if you pull her near the bucket with the rock on the beach, for example, she’ll throw the rock. But once you start heading back towards the goal she’ll drop the rock and start heading towards the door with you.” Elizabeth’s ability to interact with the environment isn’t limited to just physical objects; if you permit it, you will sometimes find her staring off in the distance, pointing to boats that are floating off the shore. You get to see Elizabeth come to life and show her unique personality right in front of your eyes, and it will take the experience to a whole new level.

Yet another amazing thing about Bioshock Infinite is that it will also be available on Mac! Aspyr Media worked in conjunction with 2K Games and Irrational Games to ensure that this breathtaking experience would be available to Mac users. “We pride ourselves on bringing the very best in gaming to the Mac, and that’s exactly what Mac owners will get with Irrational Games’ masterfully-crafted BioShock Infinite,” says Michael Rogers, president of Aspyr Media. So be ready to fight your way across the skyline of Columbia, Mac users!

Check out the latest video from Irrational going behind the scenes of the creation of Elizabeth, and the people devoted to making her more human than any current video game character!

Source: Eurogamer, Aspyr Media, Irrational Image Source: Game Informer