How Industrial Revolution became BioShock Infinite's puzzle-prequel

By Ozzie Mejia, Oct 31, 2012 10:30am PDT

One of the pre-order bonuses for the upcoming BioShock Infinite is a mini-game called BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution. This side story will offer unlockable items for Infinite and will also serve as a prequel, set 12 years before the events of Infinite. It's made by indie developers Lazy 8 Studios, who some may recognize as the creators of Cogs. We found out more about this effort by speaking with Lazy 8's founder, Rob Jagnow.

"BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution is a Web-based puzzle game where you play as a factory worker in the sky-city of Columbia, constructing and repairing the machines that manufacture weapons and supplies for the city," said Jagnow. "With each manufactured product, you get to choose whether you will stay loyal to Columbia's Founders or if you'll divert the supplies to a rebel faction known as the Vox Populi. The decisions you make impact how the story is told to you and will always leave you second-guessing your decisions."

Side with Columbia's founders or the renegade Vox Populi

Industrial Revolution bears a strong resemblance to Lazy 8's previous work, Cogs. In particular, Jagnow says the team has focused on players' favorite aspects of their last game. "Cogs players have consistently said that the gear puzzles were their favorites," he explained, "so Industrial Revolution gave us a chance to take the best parts of Cogs, expand on those mechanics, and create some challenging new puzzles with the same tactile, Steampunk feel."

Cogs has its share of fans and among those are the crew at Irrational. "Irrational Games approached Lazy 8 Studios very early in the development of BioShock Infinite," said Jagnow. "They already had some ideas about a mini-game that could help tell a deeper story of Columbia's history. Several folks at Irrational had played and loved Cogs, so they thought Lazy 8 Studios would be a good match for development and puzzle design. The long development cycle gave us tons of time to really polish Industrial Revolution into the finely-tuned, lithograph-styled game that you see today."

Industrial Revolution includes 59 puzzles and can be completed in a couple of hours. In order to add a sense of emotional impact to the game, Lazy 8 has made it so that all choices in the game are permanent. While players can replay puzzles at any time, they cannot change their minds on which faction they choose to support. Beyond lending their support to one of the factions, Industrial Revolution also gives players three different Gear items for BioShock Infinite--the Handyman Nemesis, Sugar Rush, and Fleet Feet. Players can also complete Industrial Revolution puzzles for in-game cash to be used in Infinite.

With Industrial Revolution now finished, Lazy 8 Studios is ready to move on from the Cogs formula and begin work on their next game. "We're currently working on an absolutely crazy game called Extrasolar that we believe will be the first in a new genre. It draws from both traditional video games and Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) to build a player experience that will probably feel more real than any game you've ever played."

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