BioShock Infinite’s cover art is lackluster but has purpose
While this is purely my opinion, I feel the need to point out the fact that I feel that the cover art for BioShock Infinite is just mediocre. The heroic pose of Booker DeWitt instantly reminds me of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune cover art or even any moment depcting Ash Williams from Army of Darkness. With a project as amazingly awesome and awe inspiring as BioShock Infinite, it comes down to me just wanting something more original and something I shouldn’t be able to compare to anything within the first five seconds of looking at it.
If you’re asking yourself “why is he so passionate about this cover art,” the reason is simply because I care; I really do with bias enriched LOVE for the BioShock series and the work done over there at Irrational Games. Everything that is everything is an aspect I’ve anticipated and drooled over waiting for the February 26, 2013 release date. It is my pure-childlike love for this franchise that has made me question the reason for their choice in cover art.
It is certainly no lack of creativity or lack of imagination of the part of Irrational. As I recall and am quite excited for, there is an entire Dark Horse Comics made “The Art of BioShock Infinite” book being released on February 27th. This art collection will feature the steam punkish designs behind the concept art, Booker, Elizabeth, Songbird, the Heavy Hitters, Motorized Patriots, Handymen, Boys of Silence, Siren, and the city of Columbia itself. My point being with this is that there were several options that I’m sure Irrational had to choose from, yet they went with just Booker.
While Booker is the protagonist, the person you play as, and who is absolutely worthy of being on the cover, I’m still surprised they chose to use him for it. One of the reasons I feel this way is that he is the man behind the arms and tonic wielding first person shooter display. In many FPS games (including BioShock), you don’t even really know what your character looks like. While I don’t exactly support this, it has seemed in the past that showing what your character looks like isn’t a powerful priority for game developers. Controversial to this entire article, I like knowing who I am in an FPS and I know BioShock Infinite is going to make the voice of Booker a key aspect in the game.
So if Booker is alright in my eyes, why do I still take issue with this? I feel that his pose and the background don’t suck me into the great BioShock universe; it’s all very ‘action generic.’ In a parallel universe where I didn’t know anything about BioShock and I just saw this game sitting on a shelf, I doubt I’d be attracted to it. Sure I see the blimps and burning flag, but that still doesn’t do it for me. Like I said in the title, I just find it all to be lackluster.
Sure past BioShock games have had simple covers, but I feel they still worked. For the original BioShock there was a Big Daddy and a Little Sister in Rapture. Again, in this ignorant parallel universe, there is more going on in this cover to get me intrigued in this game. First off, there is a humanoid looking robot in a diving suit with a drill arm – that grabs my attention. Why is it not harming that zombie looking little girl? Are they underwater? From that cover I can’t even tell the game is a FPS. I look at it and find myself wanting more. A rugged looking man with a shotgun warns me that my eyes should look past this generic FPS game. Here in reality though, I know that BioShock Infinite is FAR from a generic FPS game; this bothers me.
While Elizabeth not being on the cover doesn’t shock me that much, she and Songbird seem to be the faces of BioShock Infinite. Everything you see is Elizabeth, Songbird, or a combination of both on the front. With all the hype Elizabeth got for being over sexualized due to the mere fact that she is pleasant on the eyes and has cleavage, I guessed they wouldn’t put her on the cover; despite a lot of people expecting to see her there. At least she made it on the back of the box, right?
With this art announced, it will make the original BioShock the only game in the series not to have the playable protagonist on the cover. Don’t get me wrong, I realize this is all nitpicky and that the cover art won’t affect the game what-so-ever. Like I said earlier though, this bothers me because I do care and because I love BioShock so much. We’ve all waited so long for Infinite and sadly I’ve already put it on such a high soapbox, high enough to touch Columbia. My assumption for this cover is that they want to make you, as Booker, just as a memorable experience as say Elizabeth, Songbird, or Columbia – something that isn’t typically done in a FPS title. The BioShock series loves to push the envelope with storytelling and instead of the protagonist being silent, I suspect lots of prose will be told through DeWitt. By putting Booker on the cover, it breathes just that much more life into the protagonist. Why is it so generic though? I'll never know...
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ