There's far too little to know just what the game is really about yet but it does hint at the whole Imperialism angle.
That's mostly coming through via material presented outside the trailer:
Levine talks about President McKinley questioning whether they should annex the Philippines, just freed from Spain. At which point Levine reads a full quote from McKinley on the issue, as he tossed and turned whether he should do this potentially horrible thing…
"I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way – I don’t know how it was, but it came: (1) That we could not give them back to Spain – that would be cowardly and dishonorable; (2) that we could not turn them over to France or Germany – our commercial rivals in the Orient – that would be bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to themselves – they were unfit for self-government – and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow men for whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed and went to sleep and slept soundly."
That’s what Bioshock: Infinite is about.
When the demo finishes and Levine leaves the stage, and an enormous image appears on the background. A presidential figure with the bell of liberty in one hand, surrounded by crude stereotypes of immigrants of all stripes. The legend beneath it screams: “It is our holy duty to guard against the foreign hordes”. Repurposed period propaganda posters set the tone. “Her eyes.. so blue! Her skin… so white!” asks one poster “… or are they?” before warning about hidden genetic [im]purity. They permeate the game – “FOR FAITH! FOR RACE! FOR FATHERLAND!” caught my eye along with warnings about the ever-elusive “they” taking your gun, wife and just about everything else.
It seems clear enough that Columbia in the game is
America, and that its terrible transition from peaceful world fair to rogue war machine mirrors America's own ideological fall from grace. Like Rapture, Columbia is the failure of a dream.
Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the message, this is clearly a game with something to say, and if nothing else is notable for that reason alone. Bioshock 2
picked an easy target (which isn't to say I agree with the simplistic notion that Lamb = Marx; I suspect that those who actually go along with that didn't pay nearly close enough attention to either Lamb or Marx
) and Bioshock
's was only a little more challenging; but it strikes me that the sacred cow chosen for this
game could conceivably ruffle enough feathers to have a measurable impact on its financial success; particularly given that the 'it's an FPS therefore I shall buy it and play it like Halo
(and then complain when it turns out not to be like Halo
)' crowd was already dispensed with back with the first game.