Professor Glenda Hayden
Dec 18 2015
Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite detailed Analysis:
“You look at a guy like Walt Disney. He said, ‘I am going to create an experience. How do I lure people into a mood. How do I get their attention? How do I get them to feel?’ You feel as different in Frontierland as you do in the Haunted Mansion, he [Disney] was excellent at doing that without being able to fully control an audience’s attention.”
Those were the exact words of the creative director and cofounder of the Irrational games corporation,the man responsible of writing the well known video game masterpiece Bioshock. Bioshock itself sends its audience into a world of constant mystery causing those that have played them to constantly question the melancholic plots of the series that mesmerizes the imagination. In this essay I will form not only theories but a complete analysis from my research that many have been questioned for so long, as well as a look at how both of the worlds of Bioshock and Bioshock infinite are entwined into an multi universal series of events and adventures.
First, I am going to introduce you to the first antagonist of the prologue of the series; Andrew Ryan. Born and raised in Soviet Russia in the year of 1911 on the outskirts of the metropolis city of Minsk,Belarus. In 1917 he lived through the Russian revolution while it was still under a strict autocratic rule of Tsar.In October of 1917 Russia came under the rule of The Bolsheviks the communist political party of the social- democratic workers ; that was founded by Vladmir Lenin. These events were the cause of both political as well as religious conflicts, and violence while Ryan was a small boy this traumatized him and caused him to eventually flee to America to live a better life as an adult and prosper. While in America Ryan became a wealthy entrepreneur and created Ryan industries. He was an very proud and hard working immigrant with an very strong believe in capitalism and having his own pursuit of happiness. Ryan became famous for his well know intellect and success, and was appreciated for devotion to his country, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 1930’s, during the great depression; Ryan began to question the American government when, the new deals by Roosevelt came into play by; taking from the rich and giving to the poor with his domestic programs. This began to remind Ryan of the communism and socialism of his home country Soviet Russia. In his eyes America became a home to parasites.
“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.”-Andrew Ryan, Bioshock 2007
He felt as if his wealth and rights to enjoy them was being taken away from him.His philosophy is identified as objectivism; this idea was created by Ayn Rand an actual Russian american writer that was lived from 1905 died in 1982 Objectivism is the belief that reality exist independently without consciousness, we only exist through our senses and intellectual perception,that our own self interest is what matter most.
“I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine”.-Ayn Rand
(Andrew ryan’s name is an anagram of Ayn Rand) her philosophy involved four segments of ideas . reality, reason, self interest, and ,capitalism In other words She did not believe it was necessary to help others,or request help from those around her the idea of selflessness is irrelevant to her, which is what makes her and Andrew Ryan similar pertaining to their philosophies.Andrew Ryan was an atheist that strictly believed in the power of science as well man’s intellect, he felt as if spirituality was not necessary for to live a prosperous life,he also felt as if the only duty the government has is to protect its citizens and nothing more.
“What is the difference between a man and a parasite? A man builds. A parasite asks ‘Where is my share?’ A man creates. A parasite says, ‘What will the neighbors think?’ A man invents. A parasite says, ‘Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God”… ‘- Andrew Ryan Bioshock infinite
After the Bombing of Hiroshima In th year 1946 ,Ryan grew tired of America, so he to finally decided to take action by using his entire fortune to build a his own private steam liner and hiring a construction company called wales and wales.By doing this he had to use a building platform called “the sinker” to transport supplies as well as construction crews below sea level. As Ryan’s idea came into motion he began to imagine his invention as an utopia for scientist, artist, as well as business men and women can truly expand without any policies or rules can interfere with their devotion for success.
Rapture was created to have its own economy and own rules and politics it was Ryan very own deep sea realm. In the game the as the player enters the city of Rapture there is an propaganda mini film that introduces Ryan’s philosophy and, who he is and why; he would create such an monumental city under the ocean. so to get an idea of what tone Ryan Andrew gave to attract newcomers to live in this city here is his exact words from the game itself.
“ I am Andrew Ryan, and I’m here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? ‘No!’ says the man in Washington, ‘It belongs to the poor.’ ‘No!’ says the man in the Vatican, ‘It belongs to God.’ ‘No!’ says the man in Moscow, ‘It belongs to everyone.’ I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose… Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, Where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well. “- Andrew Ryan Bioshock (2007)
Entering Rapture the underwater city :Your character has just a experienced plane crash in the middle of the ocean where he ends up being the only survivor, he swims towards a nearby lighthouse and enters the lobby of Rapture; and By now the player may be wondering why name the city “Rapture”? Rature has two definitions in the english dictionary here is both of them; the feeling of joy, happiness or complete pleasure; in the christian belief the word “Rapture” it was the transport of saints; the great exodus from earth’s despair to heaven (after Christ’s return to our world). What does this all mean,why would Andrew Ryan name his city Rapture? you may ask, the name should speaks for itself ; this is Ryan’s idea of heaven and the saints in his perspective are the people he recruited to live there.The important citizens of the city were considered great marvels and hardworking devotees from the surface world that Ryan saw as worthy contenders. These people mysteriously began to disappear from their homes and were secretly selected and taken to Rapture this was known as the “vanishing” unfortunately not all were welcomed and some had to request and be approved by Ryan enable to relocate to the city.The poor and mid-upper class (original builders of the city) were not valued at all and were left to live in the ghetto of the city this area was called papa’s drop, the dark filthy leaking temporary housing area, where they resided with their families.
As the city became crowded, anxiety and delirium became more of an issue due to the of the lack of sunlight. To deal with the issue Ryan hired a psychiatrist that went by the name of Sophia Lamb to help The fall of Rapture: The citizens to remain psychologically sane with their new submarine lives. Unlike Ryan Sophia focused more on the poor,Ryan was against her morals for helping the poor which caused her to become his political rival. Ryan chose to have public political debates with Sophia so the public would see her as weak and untrustworthy but, unfortunately for Ryan the public favored her more.
During this time period plasmids were invented by a scientist named Brigid Tenenbaum. Plasmids are super serums made from modified stem cells called ADAM that causes, genetic changes and mutation giving citizens superpowers. Enable to use active plasmids an component called Eve(liquid form of plasmid) was needed; as plasmids became popular amongst the citizens of rapture the more addiction to plasmids became a danger.These violent mutations were one of the main reasons why Rapture went into complete chaos. Brigid believed plasmids would change humanity forever by rewriting human DNA.
“Imagine if you could be smarter, stronger, healthier. What if you could even have amazing powers, light fires with your mind… That’s what Plasmids do for a man.“-Atlas (Bioshock 2007)
During Brigid’s research she could not find an suitable host to produce Adam besides little girls; so enable to gain the trust of the parents fontain attracted the trust of parents by strating the Little Sister’s Orphanage as a front for charity to poor families with daughters. LIttle did the families know their daughters were being used for immoral experimenting, and that the little girl’s Genetic code was being rearranged they became mutated children they eventually gained the nickname “Little sitters”. With all of the corruption Taking place due to Andrew Ryan disinterest in others safety he does not put an effort towards regulating plasmids and their use as well as child abuse, murder and mutiny. Causing Rapture eventually fall; what mattered most to him is the industrial market.
“The market is patient and we must be patient to”- Andrew Ryan, Bioshock,2007
Both Bioshock and Bioshock infinite introduced the similar ideas both games each had a antagonist with extreme political views, these views were so extreme both men took the liberty of building an utopia that revolves around those ideas.The prophet ,Father Comstock was also known as Booker Dewitt. father comstock is the antagonist of the story and Booker is the protagonist of the story depending on your perspective of good and evil. The reason why they are the same person is because both men are from parallel universes so therefore the Bioshock series are based upon the multiuniversal theory. The story of Bioshock infinite takes place in multiple worlds. The multiverse theory is the idea that there are multiple worlds of existence including our own universe, but these other worlds are located in a different time, different solar system , in each universe has different possibilities that could be unique from our own life experiences.These possibilities are infinite and sometimes finite (constantly the same); these worlds are formally known as parallel universes.Zachary Hale Comstock joined the 7th cavalry of the U.S military, and was a participant in the massacre of wounded knee.Due to personal guilt and condemnation he sought to find redemption by attending an water baptism As (Booker Dewitt) he was baptized by pastor Witting, he then changes his identity to Zachary Hale Comstock as his new christian name,with his new established faith he became involved with politics and formed an an extreme nationalists idealism called American exceptionalism. Zachary believed that America was God’s chosen country, and christianity, racial purity manifest destiny was was a part of an great prophecy of the United states. Father comstock characteristics were based on the political leader Anthony Comstock, who had similar belief, appearance and ,characteristics. he saw columbia as the “new eden and to him the founding fathers were the great prophets, for God’s will to the promise land ,he also saw Abraham lincoln as the United state’s abomination; causing nothing but war and suffering to the American people,Zachary Comstock was a strong supporter of white supremacy.
“ Comstock has earned the titles of “Prophet” and “Father Comstock.” He claims to have the ability to predict the future of Columbia and, attacks from his enemies, the actions of the False Shepherd.”
–Anonymous,Bioshock infinite wikia , 2007
In the game the player will experience several flashbacks of themselves waking up inside of Booker’s office to Robert lutece and or , Rosalind lutece urging Booker saying, “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt,” the girl that they are referring to is Booker’s infant daughter Anna.
Eventually it becomes imperative Anna Dewitt is taken away from her father (Booker) and is taken to another universe to the city of columbia to be raised by her new father Zachary Hale Comstock she is then renamed, Elizabeth Comstock; “and is called the seed of the prophet” Comstock was sterile and unable to have children , leaving him with a strong desire to have a child in desperation he practically kidnapped Anna from Booker by using gambling as a causing him to be indebted to Zachary. Saching
By now the player may be wondering how did the Luteces even contact Booker, it seems to be a puzzling series of events,this is where quantum physics comes in.
“When I was a girl, I dreamt of standing in a room looking at a girl who was and was not myself, who stood looking at another girl, who also was and was not myself. My mother took this for a nightmare. I saw it as the beginning of a career in physics.“
―Rosalind Lutece[src] Bioshock infinite 2007
Rosalind Lutece was a scientist that studied quantum physics and successfully build a machine that allowed her to travel to different universes with this device she managed to meet an male version of herself in year 1892, Robert Lutece ; they could be mistaken as twins but frankly, they are the same person living in the same universe.
Rosalind Lutece collaborated with Zachary and even helped him build the city herself with the help of government funding . Comstock used Rosalind’s device to see the future and alternate universes and because of this, the the citizens of columbia trusted him and, practically worshipped him, he has the ability to grasp infinite amounts of information no one else would ever be able to get besides his daughter Elizabeth.
Comstock was desperate for a child because, of the fact that he was able to see the future with the device, he and the Luteces made the discovery that columbia was going to be able to successfully prosper as long as he had an lineage to carry on the legacy.
They ended up establishing the city in the year 1893 but ,eventually a conflict took place between the two of them. For revenge the luteces returned to Booker to give him an opportunity to rescue Elizabeth from the Tower that she grew up in .Elizabeth often hated her father because she grew up alone in isolation, while her father had surveillance over her. Little did Booker know the tower was being watched by Elizabeth’s childhood friend songbird. Songbird was Elizabeth’s guardian, his loud screeching and destructive presence was intimidating to citizens of columbia. With Booker at her rescue songbird would not stop at anything to get Elizabeth back into Comstock’s power.
“Songbird, Songbird, see him fly, drop the children from the sky. When the young ones misbehave, escorts children to their grave. Never back-talk, never lie, or he’ll drop you from the sky!” -Bioshock infinite ,2007
―A Colombian nursery rhyme
Songbird was created, by fink factory, the design for songbird was discovered through an universal portal, that revealed an combination of an human and a robot that resembled a big daddy, Fink factory of columbia managed to connect with the engineer Yi Suchong from Rapture the underwater city.They conducted experiments that took several times of many trials and errors. They discovered the best psychological match for the creature was a bird was to bond a relationship with Elizabeth. The friendship established between the girl and the machine was not intentional.
Songbird and can be at any point summoned by an whistle melody.
“After playing BaS2, I came across a question about who/what Songbird really is. When you’re in Suchong’s laboratory, you see this blueprint for Songbird. It got me thinking. We know Fink and Suchong collaborated on creating both Big Daddies and Songbird; they shared technologies through a tear. Even though Big Daddies and Songbird are distinctly different, one would think that they would share their basic mechanics. If Big Daddies are humans who have had their bodies grafted to diving suits, wouldn’t this also be the case for Songbird? That idea brought me to my main question, who would be inside Songbird? Fink wouldn’t pick just any person to become Songbird. If he wanted Songbird to imprint to Elizabeth he would probably pick Elizabeth’s mother, but we know Lady Comstock was alive at the same time as Songbird. Who else could it be?” – jujukicks-Bioshock forum user posted 2014, redit.com
The blueprints of songbird existing and Yi suchong’s collaborations with fink can bring about the possibility of the world of Bioshock and Bioshock infinite being entwined or connected but Rapture The entrance to both Columbia and Rapture are through an light house it seems both cities are never seem to exist in the same universe, columbia was built in 1910 and Rapture was built in 1936; but somehow Elizabeth was able to open an tear to Rapture, which therefore allows the player see that her knowledge is infinite because of the fact that shes knew that Rapture existed before it was even created, and before Andrew Ryan was even born. All of these facts supports the idea of why she was aware that Comstock was Booker dewitt, toward the end of the game she takes Booker on an journey revealing to him that he gave her to Robert Lutece to wipe away the debt.During the game the player will have the opportunity to destroy the syphon that was located in the tower she resided in for so long. The syphon was sucking her powers causing her to not be able to use her abilities entirely, after it was finally destroyed Elizabeth begins to see the truth; and fully capable of going to infinite places in the universe.
Booker seems to be going through circles, and he doesn’t come to understand this reality of why he was sent to rescue Elizabeth until she shows him his memory through an portal. According to Elizabeth no matter what Booker tries to do, or go, he always ends up handing her to Robert even if he did end up killing Comstock, and if he was to accept the baptism he would never even had Anna as an daughter, but instead become a prophet.
“There is always a lighthouse always a man always a city”
The sea of doors: In the finale of the game Elizebeth is persistent about helping booker understand how he and why she ended up in columbia in the first place, she begins to explain constants and variables.
what she mean by constants; Constant in the dictionary means, a situation of events that do not change, the problem is unchanging, by constants she was referring to there always being a lighthouse and there is always a man , she was talking about Comstock and Andrew Ryan; no matter what they always exist.
what she meant by variables ;she was talking about the possibilities of an feature in those universes or factor that are liable to change or evolve, causing there to be an unknown prediction.
Every world she discovers is unique and similar in some ways but they revolve around the existence of the lighthouses and cites.
While traveling through space and time together Booker finally discovers no matter what world he enters Comstock always ends up existing and ruining Elizabeth’s childhood, he then realizes that he must kill Comstock as a baby before becomes a man, but Booker is not aware that he and comstock are the same person. until they return to the place where he was baptized again that when he realized he has been the problem all this time,he is his own worst enemy for giving away his daughter. He as an person changed, it was either he became Comstock or, he remained the soldier with many regrets Booker Dewitt. In the end Elizabeth ends up drowning him to death because she is tired of going in circles and seeing herself as well as other people suffer from his actions.
Prebble, L. (2014, January 14). Ken Levine interview: Bioshock creator’s vision for gaming. Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/14/ken-levine-bioshock-interview
Trueman, C. (2015, May 22). The Bolsheviks. Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/
Nordell, G. (2013, October 31). Working minds Quotation by ayn rand. Retrieved November 11, 2015, from http://www.working-minds.com/ARquotes.htm
Monster, E. (Director). (2013). Bioshock The Complete Story Prologue #1 – The Founding of Rapture [Motion picture]. U.S: http://www.eligiblemonster.com. youtube video
Who/what is songbird. (2014). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from https://www.reddit.com/r/Bioshock/comments/270g7q/whowhat_is_songbird_on_the_inside_spoilers/
Quotes for Andrew Ryan (Character). (2007). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0034888/quotes
Quotes for Andrew Ryan (Character). (2007). Retrieved December 9, 2015, from Quotes for Andrew Ryan (Character). (2007). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0034888/quotes
Rosalind Luteceitation machine. (2007). Retrieved December 9, 2015, from http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Rosalind_Luteceitation_machine