Bioshock Infinite - Burial at Sea: Episode 2 to offer a non-lethal challenge through 1998 mode
Irrational may be "winding down", but they still have one final flourish before bowing out. Burial at Sea: Episode 2 is the final piece of Bioshock Infinite DLC, and will give players the chance to inhabit the tear-opening, coin-tossing Elizabeth.
As an example of how differently the game's new protagonist will play, Irrational have also announced a new mode for the game. 1998 mode, like BInfinite's 1999 mode before it, is a "classic" difficulty designed to recapture the spirit of late '90s challenge. Rather than 1999's System Shock 2, 1998 mode is referencing the original Thief: The Dark Project. It will require players to complete the episode through entirely non-lethal methods. It will also replace the entirety of the soundtrack with Will Smith's Just The Two of Us, and Aerosmith's I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing.
Okay, so it won't really do that last thing.
"In Burial at Sea – Episode Two we put a focus on balance and stealth mechanics," wrote Ken Levine, on the Irrational blog. "As we were developing this new style of gameplay, we started to see people self-impose non-lethal playthrough’s. Given the fan reception of 1999 Mode, we thought it would be cool to give them another way to play Burial at Sea that challenged their mastery of stealth tools."
That sounds like an interesting departure for Bioshock combat. Stealth has never been a focus of the series, and a non-violent option has never before been possible. Especially in 2K Marin's Bioshock 2, where you had a massive drill attached to one of your arms.
In recognition of the mode, Irrational have produced a Thief-like mock box, from back in the days when game packaging could be a weird shape.
For our reactions to Irrational's closure, head over to our collective fond farewell.