Infinite has been the most talked about game since Journey, with 9's and 10's across the board. Even our most especially hard to impress Jim Sterling gave us quite the surprise with his super duper high rating. Personally, it could've used more of that really fucking awesome skyline/vigor/weapon combat and Elizabeth's character is a tad overrated (a couple hammy performances and a good load of underwhelming facial animations hold her back), but I definitely do think it's of "excellent" quality and one of the best games of the generation.
There's no doubt in my mind that Bioshock Infinite will make 2K/Irrational a profit and then some. Being the successor to the original Bioshock probably helped a good deal, but maybe all the lovely people that made this lovely game possible just simply knew what to do with the hand they were dealt. They knew their market, they knew their legacy, they knew what they wanted to do, and they prepared.
In Layman's terms: They were smart. Their game has been successful on just about every front thus far.
1.) No artistic comprises forced upon the team from 2K (which is especially surprising)
2.) MP was cut because they simply felt it wasn't right
3.) No retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses (a free game was even offered upon pre-orders, with pre-purchasers on Steam being so lucky as to get Bioshock and even the semi-recent XCOM: Enemy Unknown for free) (EDIT: Apparently, I was wrong about this. However, they're just reskins rather than new weapons so no loss for me)
4.) Single player felt very meaty with a decent amount of replay value
5.) Story was self-contained, no sequel or "real ending" DLC bait
6.) High risks were taken with the story's various subject matters
7.) No highly questionable remarks from the developers/publishers (that I can remember)
8.) No Day-1 DLC/microtransactions/etc.
Seems all that they really did was provide a season pass, and well before launch. But how could one really complain considering all they accomplished with the vanilla game? I'm fully confident that any DLC content we eventually see was made with the utmost class.
Bioshock Infinite is just that. Bioshock Infinite. No bullshit.
And, honestly, why does this have to be such a rarity?
Developers and, much more often, publishers are too scared stiff of their own customers. They don't trust us. And as understandable as it is to be afraid of the people that can, in the end, make your product a success or a failure, for one thing.. you shouldn't be afraid. We can smell fear. And two, looking at what the AAA industry is slowly devolving into, this isn't the way to go about combating said fear. Perhaps some simple therapy would be better?
I don't mean to further pretend to be the businessman that I am most certainly not, but I don't need to be one to know that what the market is pulling just isn't flying. And if it is flying, it's scraping it's feathers across the tarmac. You probably know, more than I do, that we're even long past due for total annihilation!
Companies, you need to stop trying to overcompensate for your potential losses with suspicious DLC/microtransactions (because it certainly didn't save THQ), and if you're going to have those Hollywood+ budgets and teams, then make damn good use of them.
What did that humongous budget/team that resulted in Resident Evil 6 accomplish? Not much apparently. And the game itself was only average/solid at best, a fucking mess at worst. And what's this? AHHHHHHHHH!
You think because you have those big numbers backing your development that your teams will just magically poop out a good game? Magical poop is best left to the Easter Bunny. This quantity over quality mindset has to end.
You know what would do wonders? A modest budget and a decent-sized team, used to make a well-polished, interesting/awesome title, well-marketed and demand met. No squandering content for DLC, no more pansy-catering, no rush to finish, just the game and maybe some honest-to-goodness extra content a fair bit after launch to have people come back for a little longer. Hell, release an extra skin for my character and I may just play the entire game all over again just to witness that awesome new skin in action. That's how much I am my games' stupid, skanky bitch.
Or maybe a free update with a new mode or something to build up even more good faith for your next release? Stuff like that pays off.
When I say "Why can't every AAA title be like Bioshock Infinite?", I don't necessarily mean in it's size and quality, I mean in it's genuineness.
Infinite is the most refreshing AAA release in a long long time not just for it's interesting gameplay and story, but for it's lack of fucking nonsense trailing behind it. You don't see Valve or ATLUS doing too bad out there, now do you? Do their thing more.
I feel as if I should be yelling this from EA's proverbial pedestal, down at the higher-ups I would have kicked down a level or two with their blue-collar employees now standing alongside them, but... look at games like Legend of Grimrock. 600,000 sales a huge success?! Oh my god, dude! I kid you not, this is actually 100% true blue in a bin of play-dew. We must be in some weird alter-verse.
Smaller, but also awesome, games like Anodyne or Lone Survivor probably won't see quite that kind of attention, but who wants to bet the developers are happy campers? They probably bought a big, beautiful slab of steak or two from their local market, launch week, with enough leftover to buy their friends a drink.
And if you're looking to make sure you sustain your happy life for a longer term, then make a Dead Space 3. Make a Tomb Raider. Make a Bioshock Infinite (like seriously). Just, please, know what the hell you're doing.