Title: The Art of BioShock Infinite
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Julian Murdoch
Publication Date: March, 2013
Pages: 184 pages
Format: Full color hardcover
Retail Price: $39.99
Genre: Art book
Did you get a chance to play BioSchock Infinite? If you did, I’m sure you will agree you just played a game you won’t forget anytime soon. If not, you are sure missing out on a gem. The game was a huge success to gamers abroad with sales of over 4 million copies, as well as winning 75 video game awards at E3 2011 including Best Original Game and Best of Show. Once you grab a copy of The Art of BioShock Infinite from Dark Horse Comics you’ll see exactly what I mean. Like any successful game, it must come from concepts compiled from unique imaginations, constant brainstorming by some of the best in the business and tough decisions from tons of presented variations. This tome offers you a glimpse into what made this game tick. So let’s get down to it and give you a brief taste of each chapter
Finding Columbia – 38 pages
Here you will find an in-depth look at what it took to create the look and feel of an early 1900’s floating metropolis Columbia. Through a series of paintings you’ll see concepts where the artists primarily focused on creating a sense of openness and height to the city. Concepts also consisted of “Nouveau Scarring” where characters were altered by body splicing from traveling via “Tears”. Preliminary ideas for a mechanical watchman and signature enemies are also included here along with defining details such as: theatrical make-up over shaved heads, with or without lower jaw, or “sharp wing tips for stabby stabby”.
Elizabeth – 16 pages
Ideas for Elizabeth came from every angle “from toddler to stubborn young woman”. The art displayed here gives you transparency to her creation, where you will truly appreciate the extensive varieties and amount of work it took for this femme fatale to come to fruition. When they considered her enormous power potential, they jumped around from the use of telekinetic power and utilizing ‘Tears’ to affect any environment she is in.
Booker Dewitt – 6 pages
Concepts of the disgraced protagonist himself, Booker Dewitt. Just like Elizabeth, his being came from all angles including “countless iterations of expressions, ages, and demeanors”. Surprisingly for the main character of the game, you only get 6 pages (vs 16 pages of Elizabeth) but there is still great work to be seen here in a nutshell.
Songbird – 14 pages
Developed in a way to force the player to ask “Just what is this creature? Alive? Machine? or Both?” Here you will find incredible sketchwork and tremendous detail for the most symbolic character in the game. Braided horns attached to mechanical wings? Rivet placement? Gears for locking wing positions? It’s all here and then some.
Founders, Citizens & Vox Populi – 20 pages
To make Columbia come to life, you need ones to run it, live in it, work in it, and fight for it. Characters included are: Zachary Hale Comstock, Cornelius Slate, Daisy Fitzroy and the militant group Vox Populi. Need more details? Tons of variations for all 3 are included here with no shortage of imagination. Don’t forget to check out the art of workers with amputated arms that are operated by wheel and pulley!
Heavy Hitters – 16 pages
Included here are concepts for: Motorized Patriots (Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and George Washington with porcelain faces in mechanical form) Be sure to check out the concept of GW with American Flags as his wings, packing a rotary cannon! Additional Heavy Hitter’s included are ‘Boys of Silence’ (initially designed to recycle sounds and use them as a weapon), Siren (an enemy that forces you to rethink your target), and Handyman (a Frankenstein’s monster of sorts). Lots of great ideas and art work here!
Advertisements & Propaganda – 16 pages
Additional components that truly bring Columbia come to life. Signage, Ads, and Propaganda gave you sense of an actual running city in the background. Just like any advertisement, unique slogans were created such as: “Live Forever! with Bettermen’s Autobodies”, “Rejoice Upon Heating the Sound of Your Own Voice!” and “Any Stallion Can Be Tamed!” just to name a few.
Vigors – 10 pages
As explained and shown in this chapter “Vigors are concoctions that give Booker control of various supernatural forces”, which included Shock Jockey, Possession, Undertow, and Murder of Crows. This chapter also displays the creation of Vigor Junkies, “those who came to rely too much on the superhuman powers of Vigors” with example pictures of their transformed bodies that occur from their addiction.
Sky-Hook – 6 pages
Booker’s melee weapon and transportation device for Columbia’s Sky-Line was described here as “a very intense iterative process”. Initial designs were focused solely on Sky-Line travel but was later decided to be the dual device the or the user will depend on in the game. Lots of great art examples here.
Weapons & Airships – 10 pages
Just when you thought things couldn’t get more detailed. The creative team “focused heavily” on so much detail when it came to the props themselves, especially the weapons. Such details as gun texture, stains, especially pulling off the 1912 appearance and the Voxs’ unique red accented weaponry. Airships are also described in this chapter, including conceptual detail variations featuring “First Lady” and the creation of environments for Booker to explore.
Columbia – 24 pages
I first thought, didn’t we go over this in Chapter 1? However, this the making of the impressive yet innovative city itself, not just the feel of it. Concepts of the actual buildings from architectural studies (ground and floating) are all here.
Overall, I found the art book and amount of concepts to really hit the spot. It makes me want to play through the game again just to look more at details I may have been blinded to. I am a big fan of the BioShock games which were worth the time and bucks to buy. The price of the book may be enough to buy you a discounted game on its own but for the amount of content I’d say you’ll get what you pay for, especially if you are a fan of the game.