Return to Rapture: BioShock Infinite's DLC Takes Players Back To the City's Golden Age

One of the most intriguing events in Bioshock Infinite occurs near the end of the game. Your companion, Elizabeth, opens an interdimensional tear into another reality to help you both escape from a monster. Upon leaping through it, you find yourself in a decaying underwater city, with the creature -- Songbird -- imprisoned outside, crushed by the ocean depths. This was a tip of the hat to both the themes that the BioShock series has historically explored and to the greater universe that Booker (your player), Elizabeth, and Andrew Ryan were all part of. Was the floating city of Columbia tied to Rapture? Clearly, yes. But how?

Bioshock Infinite didn't explore that connection, but its first DLC, Under the Sea, will. A new video released today shows Booker rising from his desk in 1958 and walking out into the beautiful city of Rapture, before the civil war erupted. Right before, in fact. As in, the same day. On January 1 1959, Rapture exploded into civil war. The war between Atlas and city founder Andrew Ryan rages throughout 1959 and into 1960, culminating in the events of the first Bioshock, in which Atlas summons the player character, "Jack", to the city to break the stalemate between himself and Ryan.

Irrational Games clearly intends to revisit these events, and showcase the descent of Rapture from Art Nouveau utopia to decadent ruin lying at the bottom of the ocean floor. The new DLC will be a two-parter; you'll be able to buy it for $14.95 or a season pass (which gets you the just-released combat-oriented "Among the Clouds" as well as these two follow-ups for $19.99 altogether.

Spoilers Ahead:

If you haven't played Bioshock Infinite and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading.

I mean it.

Last chance.

Alright, fine. Here's where I have to go just a little crazy. Bioshock Infinite ends because Booker allows Elizabeth -- all the Elizabeth's, from all the versions of reality in which Elizabeth exists to kill him. He does this because it's the only way to prevent Father Comstock from being born. The theory the game presents is that after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, one Booker DeWitt chose to be baptized and became Father Comstock. One of them did not, and went on to father a child. Later, upon realizing he'd become sterile, Booker-Comstock made contact with Booker DeWitt and made a deal to pay the latter's debts in exchange for his infant child, Anna.

The entire Bioshock Infinite game occurs because Rosalind and Robert Lutece, the brilliant physicists who invented the technology that allow Columbia to fly, realize that there's no way to stop Father Comstock from setting a series of events in motion that lead to mass murder and genocide against the earthbound America. As a result, the Booker DeWitt that chooses to become Comstock has to die at the moment when Comstock would have been created. Without Comstock, no Elizabeth, no tears, no nothing.

And yet she's here.

Also note that, the Booker DeWitt of 1958 would have been 84 years old. That's not the hand of an 84 year-old man. Despite the fact that Booker's desk calendar reads 1958, it's clearly *not* 1958 when Elizabeth -- this new Elizabeth -- pulls him out of time.

As awesome as this looks, I really hope Irrational treats the source well. The idea of Booker and Elizabeth running around Rapture could be a fabulous way to peek into the city's collapse, but it could also end up rather hackneyed, particularly if the two time periods don't blend well. Players will be looking to see enemies and capabilities from the original BioShock, but updating the 3D files and plasmids for a new game and engine isn't trivial.

Still, I'm excited.