Games going mainstream has given us mainstream difficulty, much to the chagrin of oldschool players who cut their teeth on the classics. Lovely then BioShock Infinite -- in a nod to the hardcore System Shock 2 -- will feature a "1999 mode" aimed at just the kind of folks who get disgruntled every time they see "Hard" mode really isn't hard at all.
The mode -- which can be enabled on any difficulty -- is based directly on what fans had to say when polled on how they play Irrational titles. Turns out more than half wanted permanent upgrade choices in the BioShock series, so that will be included, plus "demanding weapon, power, and health management". 1999 mode also takes a "harder stand" on respawns. Now, don't freak out: when you die, you'll see...a Game Over screen.
Don't worry, you can handle it, little guy. We believe in you.