Bioshock Infinite, developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games in 2013, introduced players to a whole new world of Columbia. Columbia is a stunningly beautiful floating city, and one of the most captivating locations in video game history. The game’s designers and developers crafted a unique and compelling world, inspired by various sources, that left an indelible impression on players.
Bioshock Infinite Images – Columbia
Conception and Inspiration
Columbia’s conception began with the idea of creating a floating city that would serve as the game’s setting. The idea was not unique to Bioshock Infinite, as the notion of a city in the sky has been a recurring theme in literature and cinema. The game’s creative director, Ken Levine, drew inspiration from classic works of science fiction such as Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon” and H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds.”
However, the team’s primary source of inspiration was the American exceptionalism movement, a philosophy that propagated the belief that the United States was a unique and superior nation. The game’s designers used the movement’s ideals to create Columbia, a city that embodied the best of America and was meant to serve as a symbol of American power and greatness.
“I think we were able to create something that was not just a setting but a character in and of itself, with its own personality and quirks. It was a place that players could get lost in and explore for hours, discovering new secrets and stories along the way.”
– Nate Wells, Art Director
Bioshock Infinite Images – People
The Creation Process
The creation of Columbia was a long and challenging process. The team spent several years working on the game, from concept art to final implementation. The team’s efforts paid off, as Columbia’s level design and art direction were widely praised.
The team’s approach to creating Columbia was to start with a basic concept and iterate on it until it met their vision. The designers created sketches and 3D models of the city, experimenting with different styles and structures. They drew inspiration from various sources, including the Art Deco style of the early 20th century and the classic Americana of the 1950s.
Once the basic design was in place, the team worked on adding details and creating a cohesive environment. They paid close attention to the city’s history and backstory, fleshing out its inhabitants, politics, and culture. The team also focused on creating a sense of immersion, making sure that players would feel like they were in a real city.
“I was really interested in the contrast between the beauty and grandeur of the city and the darker, more sinister aspects of its history and politics. We wanted to create a place that looked idyllic on the surface but had a lot of depth and complexity underneath.”
– Ken Levine, Creative Director
Bioshock Infinite Images – Action
“I think one of the things that made Columbia so memorable was the attention to detail. We wanted to make sure that every aspect of the city, from the architecture to the signage to the music, felt authentic and cohesive.”
– Shawn Robertson, Lead Level Designer
Columbia is a truly unforgettable location that played a crucial role in the success of Bioshock Infinite. Its creation was a labor of love, and the team’s attention to detail and dedication to their vision paid off in spades. As players explore the city, they are transported to a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar, beautiful and sinister, a place that will stay with them long after the game is over.
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