There are many things about BioShock Infinite that I am looking forward to. One mechanic I am wondering about is the rail/roller-coaster. Great idea for travelling between floating islands but I hope it does more.

Why talk about the rail over weapons or enemies? The rail looks like a mechanics that makes BioShock Infinity possible. Separating the massive indoor and outdoor floating islands means they don’t all need to be loaded. Should the player ride a rail to a new area, the destination time becomes predictable (possibly controllable) so the plan can land without any hiccups or waiting. I don’t know this for a fact, this is just what I think is going on.

One thing I am wondering is how rail destinations will be advertised. Will the player always know where they will end up? Can they change mid-way? I imagine most times, the player will know where they will end up before they get on the rail so they will associate rails as a major part of progressing.

My rail wishlist:

  • Mystery Destinations: A rail that’s destination is a mystery so that the player has to ask “Am I prepared?” before they get on.
  • Jumping Between Rails: If two rails come close enough, the player can switch rails (without the possibility of falling). The player may, or may not know where the new rail may go, but it will make the player think “Should I switch?” and come to a decision quickly. The rail already has timing-based events with the rail-riding enemies, a traversal timed-decision would fit.
  • Hazards: Swooping “Columbia Freight” crates could knock an enemy off the edge if pushed into one.
  • Rail/Wrench Melee Attack on Ground: If a rail moves along the ground, so that it is not a necessary form of travel, the player or an enemy can use this as a way of making a melee attack at high speeds. (This would imply a way of getting off a rail at will when close to the ground.)
  • Items on Rail: It would be nice if awesome telekineses objects were in constant supply thanks to a near-by rail. Also, if exploding objects were on the rails, the player could shoot them as they pass by enemies taking the “exploding barrel” mechanic to another level.
  • Dropping Off (scripted): Allowing the player to drop off at will would create the potential for accidental death, but scripting such an event to allow the player to fall to a new or dangerous location is exciting. The rail sets up an expectation of where the player will land. Scripting a fall to an unfamiliar (potentially dangerous) location takes advantage of this expectation. A scramble to gather information and create a plan, or react to unexpected events is a necessary experience in a modern FPS.

General Note: BioShock was one of my favorite games. The verticality of their level layouts was an awesome change of pace from other FPS games and I hope they keep that element in Infinite, as it will set them apart from Call of Duty, Dead Space, Gears and all other FPS titles.