The Art of Bioshock Infinite” is a mixture of art book and concept art book for the “Bioshock Infinite” game that is well-designed and not just some cash cow coming out in time for the game’s release. It has art showing different parts of the city of Columbia, the various airships in the game and concept of the characters, locales and weapons in the game. It essentially has it all.
The concept parts of the book do an excellent job of showing off the different stages of development. What would have/could have been is always fascinating to those interested in the developmental side of game design. Some of the unused enemies, like the Magician, shed much light into the world Irrational Games has created.
The most striking concept parts are for the female lead, Elizabeth. Her chapter starts off with the many costumes brainstormed on a faceless model before making a final decision. It even has Elizabeth showing off various facial expressions. This care in one character shows off how much the developers want this game to look well.
The scenes which depict different sections of Columbia have a certain charm of their own. They each have that early American oil painting look to them that give off an “Antiques Road Show” painting vibe. Each drawing also gives off one of two feelings: one is a destitute city, the other is “America: F Yeah!” Without playing the game, the viewer will see the later drawings and know this world is some type of satire of American super patriotism gone haywire. That is the sign of a good artist.
There are some things to not like in this book. For one, Booker Dewitt’s chapter is a paltry five pages long. A shame seeing how Booker is the main character and all and Elizabeth got sixteen pages all to herself. Even Songbird, a robotic bird, got 24 pages all to itself. The other negative the “Chapter Seven: Advertisements and Propaganda.” While the examples do ring true of the 19th century America adverts and propaganda, some are just way too boring to look at or too hard to make sense of.
“The Art of Bioshock Infinite” is a nice addition to any fan’s collection when they buy the game or anyone interested in-game design It has some nice concept art and some regular art thrown on to supplement the book.