Near the beginning of the E3 demo of Irrational Games' Bioshock Infinite, there's a moment when... well, it's the sort of thing that when you talk to other people who have seen it you say, "You know... that part?" And they nod knowingly and say, "Oh yeah. That part. That was awesome."
It starts when Booker DeWitt's sidekick-slash-magical-teammate-slash-damsel-in-distress Elizabeth goes to heal an injured horse by opening up a hole to a parallel reality. While doing so, she accidentally rips a tear into an entirely different world... from the future. An rainy urban scene intrudes upon the colourful Columbian roadway, and a giant neon movie marquis reads: "Revenge of the Jedi". Without warning, a massive, clanging firetruck blasts towards our protagonists, freaking them the hell out as Elizabeth slams the gate shut.
Talking to Gamasutra, Infinite's Creative Director Ken Levine revealed that the assets for that sequence came from an entirely different, cancelled game.
"It was supposed to be to this primeval forest kind of thing, and it just wasn't striking or different enough... but we had assets from a game we abandoned," Levine says.
The high-impact neon anachronism of the world inside Elizabeth's tear is born of assets from a game Irrational killed, says the team. Reviving it "was such a better idea than the idea we were building all these assets for. We made a bunch of changes to really sell it, but we had all those assets just sitting around from a game we never shipped," says Levine.
So, Irrational had been working on a game that featured an urban vibe and a lot of neon. What could it have been? And will we see more of it in Bioshock Infinite?