The prequel novelette examines the motivations of the Vox Populi.
Bioshock Infinite’s story might take place in a fanciful land, the balloon city of Columbia, but its conflict has strong reflections in our own world. As most good fantasy stories, the conflict in the newest Bioshock game is an allegory. The city of Columbia was founded at a patriot’s paradise, a place to live for all of those who feel that love of their country is the greatest part of us. Twelve years before the start of the game, the city falls into open revolt, sparked by the Vox Populi movement, who distrusted the leadership of Columbia, and felt that the only patriotic thing to do was question that government, and if necessary, bring it down. They were opposed by the supporters of the government: loyalist who felt that the true patriot would follow his government unquestioningly. Sound like a familiar debate?
The war over these principals becomes the backdrop for the narrative of the game itself, which follows a surface man tasked with rescuing a young woman from the city, which is now embroiled in a decade-long conflict between these two groups. Along the way, he’ll have to make difficult decisions about who to help, and who to kill, quite possibly altering the future of that world forever, as video game protagonists have a habit of doing.
To promote the game, encourage preorders, and get players familiarized with the in-world politics, Irrational Games is releasing a couple of ‘prequels’ to preorder customers. We already heard about Industrial Revolution, the puzzle game that tells the story of the early uprising, and allows the player to direct a bit of the plot before even starting the game proper. Now Irrational Games has announced Mind in Revolt, a 40 page ebook which will be delivered free to fans who preorder through Amazon (or for about three bucks to everyone else).
The book is presented as an in-canon pamphlet explaining the motivations of the rebellion. The novelette contains interviews with the organization’s leader, Daisy Fitzroy by Doctor Francis Pinchot, a psychologist in Columbia, a character whom the player will become familiar with in Bioshock Infinite, though his involvement predates the events of the game. The interviews were written by one of the Irrational writers, Joe Fielder with help from the creative director Ken Levine.
“The research that Pinchot is doing is trying to discover the roots of mankind’s rebellious nature,” Fielder said in an interview with IGN. “Whether it’s from genetics or upbringing, nature or nurture. And the idea is that once they understand it, they can treat it. They can eliminate it. When Fitzroy is captured, she seems like the ideal subject, but he ends up getting a little more than he bargained for in the course of the story.”
He went on to clarify that the book will contain no spoilers, just explanations, “The story is written in such a way that ideally it’ll give you further insight into the characters of the game, the factions, the city, but it won’t step on any of the game’s big reveals or any of the secrets.”
Bioshock Infinite: Mind in Revolt will be made available immediately to customers of the Bioshock Infinitepreorder over on Amazon, Others can buy it later for $2.99. You’ll need a Kindle or a Kindle app for your tablet, smartphone, or PC to read it. Bioshock Infinite will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows on March 26, 2013. It is also available for pre-order over on Steam.