Bioshock Infinite 1999 Mode details, bad news for "jacks of all trades"

"It's going to be really interesting" watching players cope, says Levine

Irrational's Ken Levine has come forward with more info on Bioshock Infinite's 1999 Mode, designed to push fans of "old school" difficulty settings harder.

You'll run into the same gear, powers and permanent character upgrades or "nostrums" in 1999 Mode as elsewhere, but you won't be able to apply or make use of them all. "Even in regular difficulty mode, you're still making choices about your nostrums, which are similar to the gene tonics [in BioShock]," Levine told Game Informer.

Keep moving, because they certainly will.

"You're still making permanent choices about those. They're stuck to your body permanently. The big difference in terms of choices, in this mode is that you're not going to be able to be a jack-of-all-trades, much like in games we've done before. If you're going in one direction, like one weapon or a certain type of vigor, that's going to come at the expense of other weapons and other vigors.

"If you're specialized in, say, rifles, and you're out of ammo for that and you come across a bunch of pistols or rocket launchers or something, you're going to be not so good with those weapons and you're going to feel that pain. You're really going to be incentivized to find resources for the weapons you're good at."

1999 Mode's constraints should have challenging ramifications for a game that revels in free-form combat, with battles moving from dirigible engine rooms to cobbled plazas in an eyeblink. Levine admitted to us last year that a lack of battle variety was the first Bioshock's downfall, ruminating that "we gave you a huge toolset, but didn't ask you to use it."

"I think that's going to be really interesting when you get into those fights where you feel like you're up against it in a way that you're not normally," he commented to GI. "Modern games can have a sort of even difficulty across all moments, and I really like those [other] moments.

"I'm a big fan of comeback moments. This comes from strategy games for me originally, where you really feel you're down and you manage to work your way back up to a place of power, but you have a period in the wilderness."

For more on the game, check out our sprawling 12 for 2012 round-up of Bioshock Infinite release date, gameplay and story details. Levine reckons you need to offer something "amazing" nowadays to justify a $60 RRP - and by all accounts, Infinite looks set to deliver.

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