At a press event in New York, 2K Games has revealed BioShock Infinite, the third chapter in the successful BioShock franchise.

In development at Irrational Games, BioShock Infinite is set in 1912 and introduces an entirely new narrative as the series trades the underwater city of Rapture for the airborne city of Columbia.

“Originally conceived as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was emerging as a world power, Columbia is dispatched to distant shores with great fanfare by a captivated public. What begins as a brand new endeavor of hope turns drastically wrong as the city soon disappears into the clouds to whereabouts unknown.”

Players assume the role of Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent sent to Columbia to retrieve Elizabeth, who has been imprisoned there since childhood. There, he forms a relationship with Elizabeth “augmenting his abilities with hers” so that they can escape from a city that is now literally falling from the sky.

Players will fight enemies in “high-speed Sky-Line battles,” engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and utilise dozens of new abilities and weapons.

Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games, said “When it came to begin work on BioShock Infinite, we only had one rule: No sacred cows. This game is both true to what people love about the series and unafraid to question every assumption.”

Levine continued, “In order to explore the floating city of Columbia, we needed an entirely new engine. To bring Elizabeth to life, we had to build brand-new animation and AI systems. To create wide-ranging indoor and outdoor firefights at 30,000 feet, we had to rethink, rebuild and expand the BioShock arsenal. The only thing gamers can be certain of is this: the rules of the BioShock universe are about to change.”

BioShock Infinite is in development for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The game is due in the 2012 calendar year.