Bioshock Infinite to get "more demanding" 1999 mode

Bioshock Infinite

Remember back in 1999 when the millennium bug was threatening to destroy the world and games were a bit harder? Irrational are bringing a taste of that to Bioshock Infninite. It's a hardcore difficulty mode with a difference. It won't just decrease your health or increase the "enemy damage" slider, it'll attach more meaningful consequences to your levelling choices, limit your resources, and require you to unlock combat specialisations to use weapons.

A new post on the Bioshock Infinite blog describes the new mode. "With every choice you make, there are irreversible implications," the post says. "If your choices guide you down a path not suited to your play style, you will suffer for it."

Bioshock's distant cousin, System Shock 2 was released in 1999, and the new difficulty mode promises strict resource limits that may prove familiar to long-time Shock fans. Combat specialisation will be an important factor, too. Irrational say that "you'll need to develop them efficiently and effectively throughout the story; any weapon will be useless to you unless you have that specialization."

The post also says that your health will be "set to an entirely different baseline." Unlike some hardcore modes, your progress won't be wiped on death, however. Ken Levine says "there are game saves, and you're gonna f***cking need them."

1999 mode sounds like a thoughtful and intriguing take on alternative difficulty modes. It'd be good to see more games significantly altering their mechanics to create experiences that are different, not just more difficult. What do you think of the idea, will you play Bioshock Infinite on 1999 mode?

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.