We haven't been following BioShock Infinite a whole lot since it's unclear if it will add any RPG elements beyond what we saw in Irrational's System Shock spiritual successor, but with the announcement of a "1999" mode, it definitely sounds like that might be the case. Permanent consequences, tough weapon specialization choices, and challenging resource management sound good to me:
BioShock Infinite’s 1999 Mode will feature an especially demanding gaming experience, forcing you to examine your decisions while going through your adventure in Columbia. With every choice you make, there are irreversible implications, and if your choices guide you down a path not suited to your play style, you will suffer for it.
It’s not simply a matter of adjusting the difficulty sliders in the game – the team went much further than that. Resource planning? If you’re to survive this mode, proper planning will be crucial. Combat specializations? You’ll need to develop them efficiently and effectively throughout the story; any weapon will be useless to you unless you have that specialization. Combat? You will need to carefully target every shot, and your health will be set to an entirely different baseline. Game saves? Well, yes, there will be those, but according to Irrational Games Creative Director Ken Levine “there are game saves, and you’re gonna f***ing need them.”
“We want to give our oldest and most committed fans an option to go back to our roots,” said Levine. “In 1999 Mode, gamers face more of the permanent consequences of their gameplay decisions. In BioShock Infinite, gamers will have to sweat out the results of their actions. In addition, 1999 Mode will demand that players pick specializations, and focus on them.”