"The trailer signaled that Infinite is a first-person return to the style of idea-driven historical science fiction of BioShock, but set in the skies. Later, Levine would tell me that the game is thematically tied to the work he did in first BioShock in that it is another game about a strange and yet strangely familiar place as well as about expressive, variable gameplay. He doesn't call it prequel though and drew no narrative connections between the BioShocks we have played and the one his team is making. "I don't want to think about that," Levine said to me. "I don't think it's particularly constructive to have that conversation."
After the trailer unfurled Infinite's world, Levine began explaining the game to his audience. Infinite is set in the early 1910s. Its main setting is Columbia, a city that floats on balloons and drifted across an ascendant United States, showing the accomplishments of a post-Civil War American ready to express its idea of excellence.
"Something terrible happens," Levine said, establishing the stakes and the mystery. Columbia proves to be something worse than a beacon of prosperity. "This is not a floating world's fair. Columbia is a Death Star." In the lead-up to the events of Infinite, Columbia is embroiled in an international incident of unspecified horror and then disappears into the clouds. Our character, a "disgruntled former Pinkerton agent" named Booker DeWitt, is contacted by a mysterious man who knows where Columbia is. In that city, DeWitt is told, is Elizabeth, a woman who has been raised there and who the man wants rescued. DeWitt accepts the mission, which will be ours as a player: to rescue Elizabeth and, with her super-powered help, get out of the patriotic-turned-violent Columbia."