Earlier this past week, Irrational Games announced that they are adding an extra mode of difficulty in BioShock Inifinite called "1999 Mode." The mode is a complete overhaul of the normal difficulties, changing several aspects, including health and combat. With the announcement, Irrational Games detailed the mode: "It's not simply a matter of adjusting the difficulty sliders in the game – the team went much further than that." Indeed, every element of the game has been tweaked to increase the challenge, with players forced to make every shot count, plan out a strategy for every scenario and effectively use weapon customisation to increase their chances of survival."
Ken Levine, in an interview with GameInformer, detailed the mode, answering many of the fans' questions. Below are two of the questions answered in the interview (the full interview can be seen by clicking here):
What decisions do you have to live with in 1999 mode that you don't normally?
Even in regular difficulty mode, you're still making choices about your nostrums, which are similar to the gene tonics [in BioShock]. 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. 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. 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.
Do you worry that the challenge will get in the way of the authored experience that's at the core of BioShock?
I think that's a risk, certainly. Probably what we're going to do is you'll only be able to get to that mode through some kind of unlock. Not unlock in the game through "left, right, up, down," that kind of thing. But the kind of people who are going to play this are hardcore gamers, right? The people who are going to read Game Informer, go to various blogs and websites, and find this information. Those are the kind of people who are going to want this kind of challenge, I think. But yeah, there's definitely a risk that you're going to get pounded so much that you may not be able to take in the environment as much as the guy who is playing on easy or super easy. We want to give something to the people who are more interested in the game aspects and the resource management aspects.
BioShock Infinite's 1999 Mode seems like an insane challenge, but definitely worth checking out. What are your thoughts? Anyone up for this thrilling challenge?