Irrational Games' next title is another BioShock game, but it takes place as far from the ocean as you can get without leaving the planet.
Irrational Games has announced that its secret Project Icarus is BioShock Infinite, a BioShock game that takes place on massive constructs that float in the sky instead of those sunken on the bottom of the ocean. I know what you're thinking: "So it's BioShock in the air?" Yes, but I wouldn't write the game off so quickly.
BioShock Infinite takes place 58 years before the original BioShock in 1912 on a floating city called Columbia. Though it starts as a symbol of American strength, an international incident exposes Columbia as a "Death Star" armed to the teeth, forcing it to retreat to skies unknown.
Players take on the role of Booker DeWitt, an agent sent to Columbia to rescue a powerful girl named Elizabeth being held prisoner. Players will have more freedom than they did in BioShock's Rapture, able to move around and explore the city of Columbia rather than being stuck within an underwater environment. They will still have to avoid Big Daddy-like enemies, though they're described this time as "a metallic beast with an exposed, beating heart contained in a glass chamber in its chest and a face straight from turn-of-the-century 'strongman' posters."
As you can see in the game's CG trailer, Elizabeth and Booker will have powers that are not unlike plasmids, though Irrational hasn't made a direct connection between BioShock and Infinite other than their names. Talking to 1up, Irrational head Ken Levine likened BioShock Infinite to the type of series that could go different places, sort of like Final Fantasy. He said: "The franchise is not just about Rapture. It's a much broader franchise. And not a lot of franchises have the freedom to do that."
Levine also interestingly said that BioShock Infinite will have a more "wild west" feel, so that players walking into a room will not know if the characters inside are going to attack or be friendly (via CVG). At first glance, BioShock Infinite may seem like the same old game in a new coat of paint, but Irrational is obviously trying to evolve the gameplay while sticking with a franchise that many people enjoyed. A playable demo should be made available at GamesCom next week, though BioShock Infinite isn't expected to be released until 2012.