“Gamers face permanent consequences of their in-game decisions in unforgiving new mode” is how the press release about the 1999 Mode for Bioshock Infinite starts. My interest was certainly piqued when you consider the relatively consequence free nature of the original Bioshock thanks to those ever controversial Vita Chambers.
This 1999 Mode will feature tweaks and features that won’t be present in the standard game, no matter what difficulty you play on. If you play with 1999 Mode, it is promised that there will be a more demanding weapon, power and health management system, and that if you lack the necessary resources, it is Game Over when you die. As should be expected, Ken Levine, Creative Director of Irrational Games has come words about this new mode.
“We want to give our oldest and most committed fans an option to go back to our roots. In 1999 Mode, gamers face more of the permanent consequences of their gameplay decisions. In BioShock Infinite, gamers will have to sweat out the results of their actions. In addition, 1999 Mode will demand that players pick specializations, and focus on them.
“I’m an old school gamer. We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me. So we went straight to the horse’s mouth by asking them, on our website, a series of questions about how they play our games. 94.6 percent of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8 percent indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.”
This sounds like an encouraging compromise between the classic Bioshock style and turning Infinite into something which has little to no resemblance to the previous entries in the series. Giving players this kind of option can only be a good thing, though I must say it would be interesting to see the statistics for how many people end up playing this 1999 Mode.