BioShock Infinite's 1999 Mode will party like it's System Shock 2

Turns out BioShock Infinite's 1999 Mode isn't a parody of a Prince song, but was inspired by Irrational Games' classic PC title System Shock 2, which was released in -- wait for it -- 1999. After conducting a survey of BioShock-player preferences, Irrational decided 1999 Mode would add a layer of difficulty drawn from the hardcore structure of System Shock 2, particularly its permanent-upgrade mechanics.

For example, if you decide to upgrade a shotgun in BioShock Infinite's 1999 Mode, you're committing to a close-range play style for the rest of the game, Irrational Games Design Director Bill Gardner told Joystiq. "The second you pick up a sniper rifle, because you haven't been specializing in long-range weapons, you're going to be pretty gimped," Gardner said.

1999 Mode won't add any new abilities to enemies, but re-tunes the game with scarce resources, health and accuracy adjustments, and the ability-permanence handicap. Nostrums -- equivalent to gene tonics of previous BioShocks -- will be permanent in the normal game modes and in 1999, but the effect on overall fighting style is what puts the hardcore in 1999.

1999 Mode doesn't follow a separate narrative or setting, Gardner said, although he hinted there may be some surprises still to come. "All I can say right now is that 1999 is the year we released System Shock 2, our first game, so that's at least part of it," Gardner said, laughing evilly.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.