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The infinite possibilities of Bioshock

Posted April 20, 2013

Liz and Brooker I’m a little late to the Bioshock Infinite party (thanks to Monster Hunter Ultimate 3) but very glad I waited a bit to play it. Why? Everyone and their mum were asking me what I thought of it, if I had finished it, what did I think of the ending and I just wanted that to slow down before I start to over analyse everything I see while playing.

Then it got spoiled for me.

Someone thought it was be funny to slice in some rather big plot points in the middle of the old E3 trailer. While the game wasn’t ruined as these spoilers were not in context, it did tell me a few things about the main characters that … well … left the shocking reveal a little wet.

Expect many spoilers after the jump.

It was the fact that Elizabeth was Booker’s daughter was the biggest plot point revealed to me in that naughty video. I saw another clip of Comstock shouting about her missing finger which also meant I knew there was something about it from the get go. Luckily I didn’t know exactly what so it meant so some reveals were as shocking as they set out to be.

Bioshock holds a dear place in a lot of our hearts, mainly because it did something very different. Sure it was a shooter but it was a different breed of one. A shooter with a deep and twisting story that left your mouth gaping open time after time, and with such memorable characters and locations you’ll never find that “Would You Kindly?” reveal stale.

Bioshock 2 on the other hand. Well, here’s a guilty admission: I never actually finished it. There wasn’t as much grip as the first and I started to find the farming of splicers while the little sister did her thing repetitive. I’m eager to return to it now I think about it but then I just lost interest.

So when Bioshock Infinite was announced I was apprehensive. The pretty E3 trailer shows just how much the game has evolved in its long and delayed development. In fact, the game presented in that trailer is nothing like the game you can play today. Story scenes changed, cut and remade during the games numerous push backs. Was it for the better? Well, I think we can all agree that it came out just fine.

My main problem with Bioshock Infinite is that it throws so much at you in the last twenty minutes or so of game play. The fact you are both Booker and Comstock is announced literally seconds before the credits roll and while the shock is a good one it leaves you still trying to mull over all the other major reveals that were just thrown your way.

It’s almost all too much at once.

Then comes the theories. Hundreds of them. In another universe is Booker then Atlus? Can the idea of Comstock ever be killed seeing that Booker can continue to deny and accept the baptism in other universes?

More questions: What was Bookers debt and why was he so ready to give his daughter away to clear it?

Which is my major problem with Bioshock Infinite. One of the most definitive and emotional moments in the game isn’t explained or explored. The act of Booker giving away his baby daughter to a stranger to clear his debt is difficult to understand. Was there a promise of a better life for her? Was he that much of a scumbag to give away his daughter? Were his debts money related? Was it gambling? Or Was it moral debt of his time at Wounded Knee?

Sure, the story is clever but it’d been more interesting to see the game finish with all questions answered.

It also leads to the question of what is next for Bioshock? Elizabeth has already outed the basic story lines of each game and it’d be very odd for that theme to continue. Should this be the last Bioshock?

I’m about to begin my second playthrough and find all the Voxaphones to see if anything else gets answered. Let me know your theories and thoughts in the comments.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack permalink
    April 21, 2013 12:52 am

    Call me cynical, but my theory is that your questions will be inanswered in four DLCs released on or before June 12th 2014 for 2000MSP. This deal is a discount compared to their sold-separately price and must be downloaded from within the game to avoid being charged twice. There are no refunds for this purchase.

  2. April 26, 2013 12:12 pm

    I think most of the answers are there, not all of them admittedly, but it doesn’t really ‘give’ you them, so to speak. To get it fully, it takes sitting and thinking about it for a good while after the game is finished – and a half-decent knowledge of quantum theory. If you haven’t already worked it out by now and you’d rather, don’t read this :)

    Far as I can tell, Booker owed a lot of money to some bad people. Drinking and gambling were his way of dealing with the psychological trauma he experienced after Wounded knee. Comstock needed an heir to succeed him but, due to using the Lutece’s machine, was sterile, so decided to take an heir of his (Booker’s) from another dimension. The Luteces go to Booker’s (the one we play as) dimension and make him a deal: “bring us the girl and wipe away the debt”. He takes the deal because he’s desperate and kind of a dick. He regrets it almost immediately and trys to stop them taking her. He fails, and in the struggle Elizabeth (Anne, named after his dead wife) loses her finger. Most seem to agree that’s what gives her those crazy space-time ripping powers, since technically it means she is perhaps the only person to have ever existed in two separate dimensions at once.

    Booker spends an unspecified amount of time (presumed to be years) in that room drinking and wallowing in shame over what he did, and in that time he brands his own hand as both penance and a reminder. Meanwhile, in Columbia, Comstock murders his wife and attempts to murder the Luteces by turning off their machine while they are caught between dimensions, so as to cover his tracks. The Luteces don’t die however, and instead are left adrift in space-time, able to jump between dimensions at will but seemingly never ‘belong’ in one (i.e. never exist fully in any given one). They choose to use this power for redemption and revenge, bringing Booker (you) to Columbia and using him to kill Comstock before he destroys the world (something that the coin toss seems to suggest they’ve done 122 times already and failed) And the rest you played through…

    Oh, and Comstock is really dead in all dimensions. All the different versions of Elizabeth come and kill you at a nexus point – a fixed point in space and time (remember what Elizabeth said about “constants and variables”? The baptism is a constant across all dimensions). By killing you before you take the baptism in any dimension, Comstock never existed. But, by extension, by killing you before you had Elizabeth means all the events of the game never happened, which is why all the versions of Elizabeth disappear one-by-one and then the screen fades to black. With several dimension losing huge chunks of themselves thanks to Elizabeth, but Elizabeth having technically never existed to cause it, it creates a paradox, and the universe(s) revert to the only version of themselves they can; Booker, back living his life with baby Anne (the post-credits sequence). Effectively, Bioshock Infinite never happened, and Comstock didn’t ‘die’ because he, and Columbia, never existed.

    Hope I helped! :) If not, sorry for the essay.

  3. May 14, 2013 4:40 pm

    I too was a bit taken aback by the sudden ending of Infinite. I was left in a state of shock, not just because of all the reveals the ending had thrown at me, but because it just, well, finished. It was like a sudden rush of excitement that went down like a lead balloon as soon as the credits starting rolling.

    I’m gearing up to write my own feelings about the ending on my blog, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. It is, as you say, an undeniably clever ending, but it’s all so sudden that it’s kind of ruined. At first when we ended up in Rapture I thought she was going to be a Little Sister or something, and then the whole bending of time and space happened and my brain was frazzled.

    The sad thing is, I believe that more will be revealed with DLC. Whether they cut bits out of the game so they could then be used s DLC, I don’t know, but that’s what it seems like to me. So many other things weren’t fully explained for me though, like a proper back story to Songbird, and a less confusing explanation of the Lutece ‘twins’ and why Elizabeth was kept in that tower etc.

    I was left wanting much more than the ending gave me, but maybe that’s what they wanted. I will definitely be angry if DLC doesn’t go on to explain things a bit more.

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