How BioShock: Infinite’s Elizabeth Controls The Fate of Columbia

Jan 30, 2012 by  

Bioshock Infinite Elizabeth Controls Fate Columbia

Anyone who has been keeping tabs on the development of BioShock: Infinite knows that story and plot is one area that certainly won’t be lacking. The significance of the female lead Elizabeth has also become clear, but exactly why she lies at the heart of the political struggle in the blimp-city of Columbia has been shrouded in secrecy. Thankfully Irrational Games‘ Ken Levine has explained the prophecy that surrounds the stunning woman, and why both sides will do anything to find her.

The differences between BioShock: Infinite and the game that spawned the series are fairly evident, with sunshine and politics replacing the gloom and Ayn Rand philosophy of the original BioShock. The same elements of science fiction that won fans over with Plasmids and Adam will be returning – as evidenced by Elizabeth’s manipulation of ‘tears’ – but most of the story details to this point have centered around the civil war between Founders and Vox Populi.

Apparently the importance of Elizabeth doesn’t begin and end with providing the player combat options, but extends to the entire airborne city of Columbia as a whole. In an interview with PC Gamer Levine opened up about the more fantastic elements of Infinite, and why the player’s task of protecting Elizabeth will be a tall order:

“Elizabeth is the catalyst for what sets this revolution that’s going in slow motion into one that’s going at hyperspeed. The fact that you bust her out of this tower where you find her at the beginning of the game… the Queen comes into play on the board.

“And each side – the Founders on one side, and the Vox Populi on the other side – feels that Elizabeth is essential to them accomplishing their goals. The Founders want to keep her locked up in the tower, and the Vox Populi want to destroy her. This is because she is part of a prophecy: it is believed that if Elizabeth dies, the city falls with her.

“That’s all the Vox Populi want, to take the symbol of their oppressor and make it tumble from the heavens.”

It’s been somewhat difficult to grasp how the disparate elements of the game’s plot will work together to this point, and this insight certainly helps. Some may have seen the fairly clear rivalry between the establishment (Founders) and proletariat (Vox Populi) and wondered where the room was for some fantasy or science fiction elements. But now that talk has turned to prophecies and collapsing flying cities, that seems clear.

One of the few hints at the strange story threads the developers may be weaving is the mysterious Songbird, and its odd relationship with Elizabeth. Acting as both captor and companion to Elizabeth, the complicated interactions between the two and protagonist Booker DeWitt are obviously going to be interesting. Levine provided a few insights into the way Booker and Elizabeth will drive the plot in ways players may not expect:

“It’s basically a story of sacrifice, and she sets up her own stakes: this is the thing she wants out of life, and this is what she wants least out of life – to go back with this… thing, Songbird.

“And what does she do at the end of the demo? She goes back. And then that puts Booker in a situation where the onus is on him. She made the sacrifice for him, what does he have to do for her?

“It’s one thing to say that the princess is in another castle, it’s another thing to say that she’s there because of you. And not you as in the backstory, but you as in what happened in the game.”

Script and story are two things that BioShock excelled at, so those looking forward to Infinite don’t need any more reason for optimism. If the relationship is as interesting as Levine makes it seem – and the actors remain dedicated to their characters – then the sky is the limit.

BioShock: Infinite is scheduled to release in Q2 of 2012 on the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

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Source: PC Gamer

7 Comments

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  1. irrational is def one of the best narrative driven studios out there, this game will more then likely have the same impact that bioshock one did, and i look forward to that :D

  2. Would I need to play the first two to understand what’s goin on?

    • Nope! Completely new story and setting :D That should make this year a bit cheaper for gamers wanting to jump in.

  3. Sweet

  4. I dunno, I’m gonna miss the darkness and isolation of Rapture, but I’m definitely gonna have to check this game out…

  5. This is one of my top games of the year, can’t wait for a release date.

  6. The revelation that there is a “prophecy” that is central to the plot bodes very ill for me. Bioshock got along fine without any pseudo-religious nonsense.

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