Irrational Games has unveiled a new enemy you'll encounter in BioShock Infinite.
The Motorized Patriot, one of a number of "Heavy Hitter" enemies in the game, is described as George Washington with a chaingun. You'll encounter him throughout BioShock Infinite in non-combat and combat situations. And he packs a punch.
Irrational Games chief creative Ken Levine told Eurogamer in an interview, below, that the Motorized Patriot and his fellow Heavy Hitters are designed to add variety to the combat - something BioShock 1 lacked.
They each have their own backstory and fit into the overall universe, playing a role in the mysterious floating city of Columbia.
The Motorized Patriot, for example, acts as a Columbia tour guide and greeter. But in combat uses a devastating chaingun called the pepper-mill. Kill him, and you can use it yourself.
Irrational released a new video, complete with fresh gameplay footage, to compliment the Motorized Patriot announcement. Check it out below.
The next BioShock Infinite Heavy Hitter will be revealed on 13th March.
What impact will these heavy hitters enemies have on the gameplay experience in BioShock Infinite compared to BioShock 1?
Ken Levine: BioShock 2 had a much stronger combat dynamic than BioShock 1 - and I'm always interested in continuing to improve all aspects of the game. We talked a lot about the setting and the skylines and the scale and the combat and the number of enemies, and the knock on effects of that, which is adding weapons that work for crowd control, weapons that work for long rangers, weapons that worked against enemies in the skyline.
But we also wanted to look at the enemies and say, can we have a little more variety in the types? And also, not just enemies who aren't just strictly people who wear down your hit points. Enemies who have strategic impacts on other enemies, and help out other enemies. And enemies that have different approaches to combat and feel very different in terms of what their combat dynamic is compared to the normal Slicer-ey style enemy you see in BioShock 1 and the sort of enemies you see in BioShock Infinite. That was the genesis of the thinking.
Also, they're a little more colourful, I guess, too, because they don't have to just be a strictly human enemy. The Motorized Patriot, obviously we've had a little fun with him, but he also fits the dynamic of Columbia.
Where did the idea for the Motorized Patriot come from?
Ken Levine: That was a piece of concept art Robb Waters, one of our key concept artists, did. The designers had an idea for him, but they weren't really sure exactly what he was. Then Robb did this amazing piece of concept art, which is basically exactly the character you see, this robotic creature with this cracked porcelain creepy George Washington head and the flags on the back. As soon as I saw that I was like, okay, we've got to do this guy. He's awesome.
With the Patriot and the setting of Columbia, I immediately understood how I was going to write for the guy.
For me, when I see a character, like something Robb will design or anybody else in the team will design, my first thought is, can I write for this guy? With the Patriot and the setting of Columbia, I immediately understood how I was going to write for the guy.
What did you do then in terms of writing for the Patriot? What's his backstory?
Ken Levine: Originally, you see him in a non-combat way. You see him performing various functions in the city. He's a tour guide at a museum, a greeter at a street fair. All these other things used just as a friendly tool in the city. People, including Booker, can modify him and take him over for other purposes, such as combat. Booker can hack into him and take control of him using the hacking system we have in the game, which we haven't talked much about yet.
The other thing about him is he's got this gun called the pepper-mill, which is a very, very high rate of fire, deadly chaingun. The only way you can get that gun in the game is by killing a Motorized Patriot and taking it from him.
There's more than one Motorized Patriot in the game?
Ken Levine: Yes.
What situation results in you having to fight one?
Ken Levine: I don't want to spoil too much of the storyline, but there's a big build up to when you first encounter one. You see them in non-combat situations first, and then there's a very specific sequence where you encounter him. The build-up is thematically tied to what is going on in the game. Most boring answer I could ever give, but I don't want to spoil the story too much.
How does its AI operate in a combat situation?
He's not really into self-preservation. He's sort of the T-800, remorseless, fearless enemy.
Ken Levine: Compared to BioShock 1, the AIs in Infinite, generally, we think about them as a group of AIs that create a challenge for the player to think about how to be able to combat holistically. The Motorized Patriot himself, he's not really into cover, where some of the other AI are much more into that. He's not really into self-preservation. He's sort of the T-800, remorseless, fearless enemy.
You really have to outmanoeuvre and outflank him, because his turning rate is a little bit slower than a lot of the other enemies. But if you get in front of him you're screwed. So you have to be thinking about how you're dealing with it. If he is the only enemy you're dealing with that would be fine. But, generally, you're also dealing with other enemies, who aren't going to allow you to always use strategies you want against the Patriot.
He's got a vulnerability, which is pointed out in the video at one point, about the gears in his back. So you're really trying to outflank him and get behind him. You don't want to be in front of him. And that's made much more difficult by the other enemies.
The enemies in Infinite have the ability to work on group plans and work together. So, they're going to make it that much more difficult for you when you encounter them in a group.
These various Heavy Hitters you plan to reveal, do they all share a common theme, or is an eclectic line-up?
Ken Levine: They're really eclectic. They all have their own individual stories. You've seen two of them: the Handyman and the Motorized Patriot, and both of them have back stories in terms of where they came from. The Handyman we haven't talked about yet, but they've got a bit of a tragic back story, which I'd rather people find out in the game, about how they got into the state they're in. They're not robots. Those are humans who ended up in the state they're in through something we reveal in the game.
The goal is to be the guys who are the change-ups to get through in combat, who change the dynamic of what's going on in a way you couldn't really do in BioShock 1 or 2.
Then there are a couple of others who we will talk about down the round that are quite different. One of them doesn't really have a lot of direct combat abilities - it indirectly affects the combat. So there's a range of them. The goal is to be the guys who are the change-ups to get through in combat, who change the dynamic of what's going on in a way you couldn't really do in BioShock 1 or 2.
Would you describe them as mini-bosses, or do they not fall into a predefined category?
Ken Levine: Honestly, we look at every narrative and every combat situation and say, what's going to make this work? There are narrative constraints with these guys in the sense that it's really important we don't just throw in an enemy without you having a sense of who he is and what his vibe is. We generally like to build that up - you saw that with the Big Daddy in BioShock 1. We really took our time to introduce him and build him up - and the Spider Splicers.
But once we have them going, we look at every combat situation and we say, what's going to make this interesting? Every narrative situation, what's going to make this interesting? We don't have hard and fast rules. The only hard and fast dynamic we want is, we want more variety in the game, and we're trying to hit that on as many fronts as possible.