BioShock Infinite has been given an old school upgrade in form of a new 1999 Mode designed to give players a taste of what gaming was like before endless saves, forgiving gameplay, and videogame hand-holding.
Not for the faint of heart (or the easily frustrated), the 1999 Mode will ramp up the game's difficulty by forcing players to practice strict resource management, punishing them harshly for making poor decisions, implementing “Game Over” screens for those who lack the resources to be resurrected, and generally making the game hell for anyone who slips up in the slightest possible way.
“It’s not simply a matter of adjusting the difficulty sliders in the game – the team went much further than that,” read the announcement on Irrational's blog. “Resource planning? If you’re to survive this mode, proper planning will be crucial. Combat specializations? You’ll need to develop them efficiently and effectively throughout the story; any weapon will be useless to you unless you have that specialization. Combat? You will need to carefully target every shot, and your health will be set to an entirely different baseline. Game saves? Well, yes, there will be those, but according to Irrational Games Creative Director Ken Levine “there are game saves, and you’re gonna f***ing need them.”
Levine noted the 1999 Mode was created based on feedback from a community survey, which indicated a majority of the franchise's fans were interested in trying something a little more fiendish and unforgiving, explaining, "I'm an old school gamer. We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me....We want to give our oldest and most committed fans an option to go back to our roots."
Of course, BioShock Infinite will still ship with the regular Wuss, Delicate Flower, and Coddled Modern Gamer modes (not necessarily the official names) when it lands for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC later this year.