The Art of Bioshock Infinite by Irrational Games Review: What didn’t make it into the game

June 2, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Gaming

The Art of Bioshock Infinite by Irrational Games Review: What didn’t make it into the gameThe Art of Bioshock Infinit Published by Dark Horse Comics on April 9, 2013
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
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In The Art of BioShock Infinite, delve deeper into the city of Columbia-the fabled floating metropolis that serves as a beacon of technology and achievement for the early 1900s! This deluxe hardcover features production designs and concept illustrations focusing on main characters Booker DeWitt, Elizabeth, and Songbird from the highly anticipated BioShock Infinite video game. See the evolution of the Heavy Hitters, the populace of Columbia, the Sky-Hook, vigors, airships, and much more! This deluxe hardcover also features an introduction from BioShock Infinite Creative Director Ken Levine!

Now for something a bit different with a combination of my love for games and books. The Art of Bioshock Infinite is a hardcover artbook featuring concepts that made it to the final game, but mostly those that didn’t. A lot of love and attention has gone into creating and producing one of the games of the year, and the artwork showcased here is evidence of it. With paintings, sketches, coloured designs and comic book sketches covering the major parts of the game, including characters, advertisements/propaganda, vigors, weapons and columbia itself, the book is beautiful to look at.

The way the artbook is set out itself tells us a story of how the game evolved. At first, we’re given a very different introduction of Columbia’s first concepts, the evolution of characters in between and Columbia in it’s final stages at the end of the book. I enjoyed the journey that this artbook had to offer and it heightens my appreciation for the artists themselves. They have a difficult task ahead of them by nailing the concepts in the final game, and we see the stages that they have to go through, from exploring different footwear to their technical design.

What’s immediately evident from flipping through the pages, is that most of the concepts did not make it to the final cut. The artists meticulously explored many aspects of character design and concept creation, from Elizabeth’s costume to Songbird’s mechanical design and the vigors themselves. Many of the concepts are excellent, such as the terrifying enemies of Columbia including an evil toymaker, mutilated people caught in the tears, and flying Big Daddies. From the first cuts to the final drafts, The Art of Bioshock Infinite shows how Bioshock could have been a very different game in it’s earlier stages. Frustrating in a sense, but perhaps for the better considering how the game turned out.

With an introduction by Kevin Levine, the game’s creative director, there isn’t a whole lot of reading to be done here other than extremely brief explanations on some pages about what the artwork is. While this is primarily an artbook, I would have appreciated a bit more depth to it, accompanying the pages of pages of imagery here.

I probably would have been more wowed if I had received this book in hardcover format, but alas, one cannot complain when awarded a Netgalley even in mobi format. I’d recommend this artbook to hardcore fans of Bioshock Infinite who wish to explore the world a bit further, and perhaps budding artists or game designers, but the audience is probably limited to that.

I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to check out this game companion if not for the galley, so thank you to Diamond Book Distributors and Netgalley for this review copy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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