For characters seen throughout the series, such as the Big Daddies, Little Sisters and Splicers, please see here.
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Voiced by: Adam SietzThe protagonist of the first game, an American of rural origin who ended up in a plane crash over the Atlantic ocean and landed right next to Rapture's entrance in early 1960 . He is later revealed to have been Andrew Ryan's bastard son by way of Jasmine Jolene, donated to Dr. Suchong, who engineered Jack to be a Laser Guided Tyke Bomb.
"They told me: Son, you're special, you were born to do great things. You know what? They were right."
- An Ice Person: Winter Blast, which freezes his enemies.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: To pursue Fontaine and prevent him from leaving, Jack must voluntarily become a Big Daddy. Though the process is reversible (as he isn't surgically fused to the suit like the others), the damage to his vocal cords isn't.
- The bad ending suggests Jack has succumbed to ADAM's pull, as the splicers are now loyal to him.
- Anti-Hero: Unscrupulous Hero mostly, as the he will probably kill many splicers in a most painful way (but What Measure Is a Mook?). If he chooses to harvest any of the little sisters, he becomes Nominal Hero. Of course, when he harvests all of them, he'll no longer be an Anti-Hero, but worse than that.
- Badass: In Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Booker is ultimately unable to defeat a single Big Daddy. Elizabeth doesn't even try, she knows she won't even be able to scratch one. Jack kills well over a dozen of them over the course of the game.
- Badass Fingersnap: With the Incinerate! plasmid. One snap and he lights something (or someone) on fire.
- Bee Bee Gun: His Insect Swarm plasmid.
- The Big Guy: It's strongly hinted that Jack is one of these. From the few pictures we see of him in-game, he looks like he's built like Lou "The Hulk" Ferrigno. Suchong's log notes hint that part of his genetic engineering was being made significantly more muscular than normal, to help him in combat.
- Blow You Away: Cyclone Trap and the free Sonic Boom DLC plasmid.
- Brainwashed: Hypnotize Big Daddy, which helps turns them against Jack's enemies.
- Distinguishing Mark: Jack has a noticeable tattoo on his wrist shaped like a chain. After discovering that Andrew Ryan's philosophy was the "Great Chain of Commerce", this provides a subtle clue to the audience that Jack's been in Rapture before.
- it's also obviously a clue for him being genetically engineered to be a slave.
- Elemental Powers: Some of the plasmids.
- Featureless Protagonist: As the Player Character, naturally. There's a good reason for this - he's actually the son of the antagonist, and he has had all his memories wiped before having them replaced with fake memories that are only alluded to fleetingly.
- Heroic Bastard: It's revealed later that he was sold by his birth mother, a prostitute, to Fontaine so that he could be used to bypass Rapture's genetic scanners, which answer only to Ryan and members and his inner circle.
- Heroic Mime: Downplayed. Aside from grunts of pain, he speaks a grand total of 19 words in the entire game, all of them in the opening cutscene. So, surgically altering himself to sound like a Big Daddy may not have been that bad for him after all. He is also heard as a child, in one of the audio diaries.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: There's food and drink absolutely everywhere in Rapture, and Jack can eat or drink it to recover Hit Points and/or EVE. He experiences no real adverse effects to eating every single food item he finds, making him seem like a bit of a Big Eater.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Just how he manages to lug around a pipe wrench, a revolver, a Tommy Gun, a pump-action shotgun, a crossbow, a Grenade Launcher, a flamethrower, multiple types of spare ammunition for all of the above, plus a bunch of Eve hypos and first-aid kits all at the same time without any inconvenience is never explained.
- In the Blood: In the bad ending. Jack makes a play to take over the surface world - continuing Fontaine's legacy - and his sway over the splicers resembles that of Andrew Ryan.
- Subverted in the good ending, where unlike Andrew Ryan or Fontaine, he has no desire to control Rapture and absolutely refuses it when the Little Sisters offer the city to him.
- Kick the Dog: If choosing to harvest the Little Sisters.
- A literal example via audio log, where it's revealed that as a child, Suchong's method of testing the mental conditioning was to force Jack to snap the neck of a puppy against his will.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Though it isn't like the people that he's stealing from are still around.
- Laser-Guided Tykebomb: He was trained by Fontaine in a complex effort to take control of the city.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Jack is the illegitimate, growth-accelerated son of Andrew Ryan and his mistress, Jasmine Jolene. Furthermore, he was raised/conditioned by Fontane and Tenenbaum to be a slave, making them surrogate parents of sorts.
- Manchurian Agent: For Fontaine/Atlas, though anyone with know-how can subvert your orders. Andrew Ryan smugly demonstrates this by saying the trigger phrase, then ordering you about his office like a toy poodle. Just as he's got you at his mercy, Ryan instead orders you to kill him.
- Mind over Matter: Telekinesis. Just about anything can be picked up and thrown with his mind.
- Only I Can Kill Him: Only a blood relative can bypass Ryan's high-tech defenses and penetrate his command room.
- Opening Narration: Jack, the player character, looking at a picture of his parents. It's his only line in the game aside from an audio log near the end.
- Pet the Dog: Every time he rescues a Little Sister right next to the defeated Big Daddy and behind his back leaves a long, bloody trail of dead Splicers.
- Phlebotinum Rebel: In the good ending, Jack is the Spanner in the Works for Fontaine. In the bad ending, he pulls a Faustian Rebellion.
- Playing with Fire: Incinerate!
- Power Incontinence: Near the end of the game, your ability to use Plasmids is tampered with, and your selected Plasmid is randomized every so often. However, this randomization allows you to use Plasmids you don't currently have, and every time it gets swapped, your EVE bar is restored to full.
- Psychic Powers: Again, some of the plasmids.
- Self-Made Orphan: Against your will, you are made to climb to Andrew Ryan's office and bludgeon him to death with a golf club.
- Shock and Awe: Electro Bolt.
- Spanner in the Works: The Burial at Sea DLC for Bioshock Infinite reveals that Elizabeth tricked Atlas into bringing him to Rapture because she knew that, despite Atlas intending to use Jack as a tool to take over the city, Jack would overthrow him in the end.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Triple-whammy: not only are you a test-tube baby conditioned to be the perfect obedient assassin, but you're also Ryan's bastard child - and you've been under mind control for the entire game.
- Trigger Phrase: "Would you kindly" (which makes him obey the speaker) and "Code Yellow" (which tells his brain to tell his heart to stop beating).
- Unwitting Pawn: He was actually helping the bad guy seize control of Rapture, though he never actually had a choice in the matter.
- Villain Protagonist: Potentially, if the player chooses to harvest the Little Sisters.
- Walking Spoiler: Impressively enough, pulled off with the protagonist. It's impossible to go into the details about his past without spoiling over half the game.
- Wrench Whack: His first weapon is a wrench.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once Rapture's computer control has been passed to Fontaine, he drops the mask, locks the doors, and dispatches a squad of leadheads. Thankfully, a Little Sister arrives to herd you into an air duct, leading to Tenenbaum's office.
- Younger Than They Look: Despite supposedly being a young man, Jack was actually born circa 1956, making him only four years old at the time of the game. This was due to his embryo having been genetically altered, Rapid Aging him to around the age of nineteen within his first year of life. It's heavily implied that his aging slowed down to a normal rate sometime afterwards, since his fake passport lists his year of birth as 1936, suggesting that he physically appears to be 24 years old in 1960.
Voiced by: Armin ShimermanThe creator and ruler of Rapture. Born Andrei Ryanovski in Soviet Russia, he emigrated to America at a young age, eventually becoming one the country's richest and most powerful industrialists. However, he eventually became disillusioned with the U.S. after FDR's social policies which reminded him of the country he had fled. The dropping of the atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima were the last straw since Ryan saw them as the corruption of science and industry into making a weapon that allowed "parasites" to destroy what they couldn't seize. Wishing to flee said "parasites" and fearing all out nuclear war, Ryan created Rapture so that he and what he saw as the best examples of mankind could live in peace.
"We've all placed our hand on the Great Chain of endeavor. My hand is on it... Fontaine's is on it. We all pull it and are pulled by it. Yes, these children are an abomination. But it is not my hand alone on the chain that created them. No! Their little fingers were right there, next to mine!"
- 0% Approval Rating: His disapproval rating only gets worse and worse with his hypocritical actions to remain in power, even to the point of half the entire city population rebelling against him. The few who were still loyal to him even after he crossed the line either stab him in the back eventually, or get stabbed by him.
- Affably Evil: Even when talking to people for whom he has nothing but distaste for, he talks in a manner that is more akin to respectfully disagreeing with someone than one of pure contempt - at least when he isn't furious, anyway. Even when he tries to kill Jack when he gets into Rapture, he acts more surprised that someone found his city instead of calling him an intruder.
- Affectionate Nickname: Do you have a nice set of boobs? Then you may call him Andrei.
- Amazon Chaser: Made more explicit in the novel than the game(s), but Andrew Ryan is if anything a little below average height, while Diane McClintock is fairly leggy and Jasmine Joline is all-out Amazonian.
- Answers to the Name of God: Ryan often speaks of himself in these terms."God did not create this Arcadia; I did."
- As the Good Book Says: Though Ryan is an outspoken atheist — even referring to the Bible as "the book of lies" - he considers Ecclesiastes 3 to be pretty apt for this situation.
- Bad Boss: Julie Langford finally gets the sack (literally) by Ryan for violating one of his patents i.e. forking it over to Jack. Ryan cheerfully reads her the fine print as she chokes from poison gas."Julie! We made a business deal, you and I, did we not? Money changed hands. Let me read to you from the agreement, section 3, subsection 4…"
- Badass Creed:
- No Gods or Kings. Only Man.
- "A man chooses, a slave obeys!". He continually repeats it as you wail on him, each time struggling back to his feet. By the end, he's shouting "A man chooses!" through a mouthful of broken teeth.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: When we meet Ryan in the flesh, he's impeccably-groomed, wearing a crisp double-breasted suit, and is the calmest he's ever been. It is likely that Ryan knew his number was up, and wanted to look his best.
- Badass Normal: One of only three characters in the entire game that aren't spliced.
- Badass Moustache: A gentlemanly one, at that.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Ryan grumbles in his diaries about having to endure Diana's "bleating" voice while on vacation, and wishes he were back at the office. However, when she began talking about marriage and starting a family, Ryan seemed to ponder over the idea. After Diane was injured in the New Year's Eve riots, he simply dropped her.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Let's run down the list, shall we?
- Ryan knew he could not compete with Fontaine's business empire, so he used state power to absorb it instead, thus becoming the "Big Government" he founded Rapture to get away from.
- Despite having built a city "where the artist would not fear the censor," Ryan eventually ordered the death of Anna Culpepper, a composer who wrote songs critical of Ryan's regime. Ryan Amusements also wasn't originally a shrine to his ego, but he insisted that it serve a purpose, a fact which is hypocritically highlighted in the tour itself
- He didn't give a toss about the Cold War, and wanted to safeguard the world's finest minds from the threat of the atomic bomb. In his zeal to defeat Atlas, he pitted his citizenry against the rebels over and over and over again until there was hardly anyone left alive.McDonagh: There's an arms race on here in Rapture. But it's not about who can build the best guns and biggest bombs, it's about who can become less of a man and more of a monster!
- At long last, Ryan began filtering pheromones into Rapture's air supply, giving him control over his loyalists' minds, therefore eliminating their self determination, which Ryan considers sacred. His rationale was that, if he does nothing, the people of Rapture lose their freedom in either case.
- He believed that the scientist should not be constrained by petty morality, but he himself was revolted by all the mad science in Rapture, though for very superficial reasons (because the little sisters, big daddies, and splicers were ugly and smelled bad, not because the experiments were cruel and dangerous).
- Big Bad: As the leader of Rapture's Splicers. This is ultimately subverted, however - while he's certainly a villain, it turns out that Fontaine is the true Big Bad in the game.
- The Caligula: Ryan winds up governing an insane asylum, pumping a Hate Plague through the air supply system while he plays miniature golf in his office.
- Casting Couch: The only sure way to get ahead in Fort Frolic is to woo Ryan or his lickspittle, Sander Cohen (good luck with that one).
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: His appearance seems to be modeled after Walt Disney. In addition, he closely resembles Vincent Price and Django Reinhardt (to some extent).
- Control Freak: It's no exaggeration to say Ryan built Rapture because he felt that only he could manage, train, and safeguard the greatest minds of his generation. In the end, though, it turned out he liked to be in control so much that he'd kill anyone who crossed him.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ryan did not curb his competitive streak once Rapture was established. Until Fontaine Futuristics came along, Ryan Industries remained the sole economic powerhouse, making life difficult for other business owners. Even as he praised Fontaine's guile, Ryan secretly plotted to run Fontaine's business into the ground and seize his assets illegally.Ryan critic: How is Ryan taking Fontaine's business any different from, say, eminent domain?
- It says a lot about Ryan that he adopts Frank's corrupt business practices once Fontaine Futuristics goes belly-up. In one diary, he gushes over the "marketing" possibilities of the Little Sisters. Later, he grumbles that the ghoulish children and the "palooka" accompanying them are having the opposite effect on consumer confidence..."I understand the need for such creatures. I just wish they could make them more presentable."
- It says a lot about Ryan that he adopts Frank's corrupt business practices once Fontaine Futuristics goes belly-up. In one diary, he gushes over the "marketing" possibilities of the Little Sisters. Later, he grumbles that the ghoulish children and the "palooka" accompanying them are having the opposite effect on consumer confidence...
- Dark Messiah: Atlas later challenges him for this title and wins.
- Dead Guy on Display: His office wall in Hephaestus is decorated with the moldy corpses of would-be assassins, some of whom were once loyal servants. He plans to mount Jack on the wall next, once he gets ahold of him.
- Disappointed In You: He lets Jack know how disappointed he is upon entering Rapture's Central Control room. Made more ironic given that Jack didn't exactly know what he was doing at the time, or where he even came from.
- Disc One Final Boss: Though you don't fight him directly.
- Disposable Sex Worker: Woe to the call girl who is indiscreet about Ryan's comings (erm...) and goings."I visited Eve's Garden today. It ended poorly."
- Though, to be fair, he did just find out she literally sold his baby. To his worst enemy, at that.
- Drunk with Power: Ryan degenerates into a stereotypical tyrant once things stop going his way, but it's okay as long as he technically doesn't pass any laws.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's personally disgusted by the Little Sisters, and Minerva's Den revealed he attempted to have robotic Little Sisters built, but the Big Daddies would not imprint onto them. In the sequel, he's shown as disturbed by Ryan Amusements, but accepts the fact that it puts fear of the surface world into children.
- He also says he could never raise his hand against Jack, after realizing Jack is his son.
- Expy/No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ryan is essentially an amalgamation of the real life Ayn Rand and the fictional John Galt from Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Like Rand, Ryan is a former Soviet citizen who escaped to America and developed a fiercely individualistic philosophy promoting self-interest. Like Galt, Ryan is a scientific genius who creates the hidden Galt's Gulch where the world's best and brightest can live free of "parasites" (akin to Galt's "looters"). The only difference is, in Bioshock, Ryan's own Galt's Gulch does not succeed, and the world's "best and brightest" — now devoid of enemies — turn on one another, instead.
- Objectivists, pointing out that the vast majority of Ryan's pre-Fontaine issues stemmed from his assuming power over the citizens of Rapture (banning religion, banning travel and trade with the outside world, effectively nationalizing resources, etc.), have argued that he's more appropriately comparable to Gail Wynand of The Fountainhead—who would've been a great hero if he hadn't gone after power over others.
- His willingness to torch his land rather than let the government seize it brings to mind shades of Ellis Wyatt.
- Ryan's breaking with his own moral imperatives was something Rand did later in her life in more than a few instances.
- Ryan's vision of what the atomic bomb represents is also similar to Atlas Shrugged's "Project X".
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: As far as he knows (at least at first...), Atlas' movement has legitimate grievances, and Atlas himself is a blue-collar family man who wants Fontaine Futuristics to be divvied up amongst the people. He still refuses to give an inch, believing that everyone is trying wrestle Rapture away from him.
- Face Death with Dignity: A man chooses.
- Facial Horror: He remains unscarred by splicing for the entire game. It takes three sharp blows with a nine iron to end him, symbolically making him resemble a splicer.
- Fedora of Asskicking: Ryan's screen avatar wears one.
- Fiction 500: The in-universe equivalent of Howard Hughes, and was partly based on him.
- Foil: Received an excellent one in the form of Sofia Lamb.
- Probably even moreso in the case of Fontaine. Fontaine builds up a company from simple foodstuffs to high technology, catching Ryan off-guard when Fontaine Futuristics surpasses Ryan Industries. This he admired. What caused Ryan to have a panic attack was discovering that Fontaine was smuggling surface-produced goods into Rapture, setting off his paranoia that the "parasites" would come nationalize his Hidden Elf Village. Fontaine was also the only man to ever challenge him and win; had a thirst for power that was equally great; wanted no trouble or competition from the likes of Ryan. They were bound to be enemies.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: As seen in introductory video, Ryan smokes a pipe.
- He Who Fights Monsters: By the time Jack crash-lands in Rapture, there is virtually no difference between Ryan and the drug kingpin he fought to destroy. He's also become more violent, beating his mistress to death with a pipe (much like Atlas did to Diane, Ryan's other moll.)
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: Ryan's strident belief in "the chain" backfired on him in the end. Someone else put him out of business.
- Ryan's men were clearly aware of this habit and recorded audios warning the council not to underestimate Fontaine or Atlas, but those memos were either thrown in the to-do pile or didn't get through. Two undercover agents, both of them trapped in Atlas' penal colony, sent word that Ryan's "asylum" program wasn't out, and that they'd better send a squad to mop up the place. Most of the messages came back as undeliverable ("insufficient postage"). Ryan finally dispatches a wet team after Elizabeth is caught snooping about the gulag... not long before it rejoins with the rest of Rapture, spilling the violence into the city and freeing up Atlas to work his magic.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Twice over. His ideals and determination built a business empire unheard of in reality, and Rapture itself was a true Objectivist Utopia... for a time. Isolating Rapture from the surface created Fontaine - his own personal Al Capone to run the resulting smuggling black market; worse still, after Fontaine was killed, Ryan nationalized Fontaine's business in an outright betrayal of Rapture's guiding philosophy, and rushed ADAM onto the market without bothering to regulate its sale or use- thus leaving the blame for the many thousands of addictions and the civil war squarely on his head. All downhill from there, but he might have been able to salvage things if he hadn't taken Sofia Lamb's bait and thrown her in prison with all his other enemies - giving them a leader, his own personal Bolshevik.
- Another misstep was exiling Atlas and his capos to a makeshift prison in Fontaine's tower block. Among those swept up in the dragnet were splicers and store clerks who had traffic with Fontaine. Ever the opportunists, Atlas' men immediately set out to swell their numbers, offering the survivors amnesty, safety, and revenge. With Elizabeth's help, the towers are converted into a miniature Columbia and float back up to the city, just in time for New Year's Eve. Boom.
- Hollywood Atheist: His entire personal code hinges on the idea of free will; that we are all the sum of our own decisions and actions.
- Homage: In his confrontation with Jack and subsequent death scene, Ryan is echoing Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. Specifically, the way Kurtz admonishes Willard for just following orders ("an errand boy") is similar to Ryan's speech.
- Hypocrite: As the civil war gets worse and worse, he starts betraying his stances, citing it was for the good of city. But pretty much everyone who knew him could tell he was becoming no worse (and in some ways, no different) than the people he was fighting against.
- If I Can't Have You: Did this to a forest that he owned, burning it to the ground when the government tried to nationalize the land and turn it into a public park.
- Ignored Epiphany: The only time Ryan shows any kind of self-doubt is in the final diary. Even then, his vendetta with Atlas won't allow him to capitulate. He'll destroy Rapture rather than let his enemy have it."Could I have made mistakes? One does not build cities if one is guided by doubt. But can one govern in absolute certainty? I know that my beliefs have elevated me, just as I know that the things I have rejected would have destroyed me. But the city... it is collapsing before my... Have I become so convinced by my own beliefs, that I have stopped seeing the truth? Perhaps.... But Atlas is up there—and he aims to destroy me, and destroy my CITY! To question is to surrender—I. Will not. Question!"
- It's All About Me: He believes that everyone behaves like this."In the end, all that matters to me... is me. And all that matters to you... is you. It is the nature of things."
- It Will Never Catch On: Ryan confessed he wasn't paying attention to the plasmid craze or the warnings of his council. "I'll spend an hour pretending to listen..." He later kicks himself for allowing Fontaine to beat him at his own game.
- Join or Die: In Burial at Sea, he gives this exact option to Elizabeth, who refuses his offer. He calls her a "rube" and writes her off as another parasite. The newly-unemployed Suchong was a bit more accommodating; when he shot back, 'How much?', Ryan laughed his head off.
- Lack of Empathy: Displayed in Bioshock Rapture, the only thing he cares about is his city. Any complaints given to him he just brushes aside as "whining".
- Mayor of a Ghost Town: He still clings to the idea that Rapture is in recovery, though this is largely due to his perception that his opponents will win if he were to say otherwise. It's almost akin to a Villainous Breakdown."Rapture is coming back to life. Even now, can't you hear the breath returning to her lungs? The shops reopening, the schools humming with the thoughts of young minds?"
- Mayor Pain: The guy rubbed out most of his own City Council!
- Megacorp: Ryan Industries was formed during the construction of Rapture. It was to be the Standard Oil of its time, rolling all of his smaller businesses into one. The result was that Ryan owned most of the city's infrastructure and raked in all the utility costs, including the parks (citizens had to pay to get in), the oxygen produced by the trees, Rapture Radio (his propaganda arm), the law enforcement and security apparatuses, the Vita-Chamber, and the The Gatherer's Garden vending machines.
- Moral Myopia: Ryan only shows flexibility when his own interests are at stake."In the end, all that matters to me ... is me. And all that matters to you ... is you. It is the nature of things."
- Never My Fault: After building up his own mob of splicers, he blames them for their own deformities, citing their "carelessness" in overusing his plasmids. Same goes for the Little Sisters. Ryan has become completely boxed in by the tenets of his philosophy, is unable to admit that his costly experiment has failed, and finally embracing delusion rather than confront what he's become.
- Bioshock Rapture delved into this even more as he views any (very serious and economical) complaints to him as people "refusing to be self sufficient" when it's his own rules that are keeping many of the less fortunate people from getting ahead in Rapture and his refusal to make concessions to help them.
- Non-Action Big Bad: He chooses to talk with Jack instead of fighting him.
- Office Golf: Does this while Rapture collapses around his ears.
- Offing the Offspring: However, when it finally comes time to kill his illegitimate son, he can't do it.
- Older Than They Look: According to the Bioshock wiki, Ryan was born in 1892, which would make him 67 or 68 at the time of the first game. From his pictures on the audio diaries he looks like a healthy man in his mid-forties, and while he seems older when you meet him at the end, he certainly doesn't look nearly 70. It's justified. In Rapture, you'll often see ads for a gene tonic that makes you look 'twenty years younger!' Apparently, they actually work.
- Our Founder: A bust of Ryan greets newcomers to the city.
- Playing with Puppets: Ryan does this to you when you confront him.
- The Pornomancer: Has a taste for fashion models and exotic dancers, which doesn't do his public image any favors. Women, however, can't get enough of him. (Diane McClintock was an admirer.)
- In Burial at Sea, in addition to admiring her intellect and coveting her strange abilities, there's the subtle implication that this might be part of the reason for his interest in wanting Elizabeth to join his side. Yeesh.
- Principles Zealot: Had a very rigid belief system that took him far, but started to break down when he applied it to governance.
- Rasputinian Death: The first golf swing bloodies his face; the second shatters his jaw. It takes the club literally protruding from his cracked skull to finally drop him.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Ryan inserted an "in perpetuity" clause into the tenant agreements for prospective citizens. Roaches check in...
- Salt the Earth: When the Federal Government threatened to lease a fragment of Ryan's vast estate as a national park, he torched the entire forest as a form of protest. Years later, this becomes his solution once Atlas is on the cusp of seizing Rapture.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: That, plus power and influence, seems to do more of the talking in his life even after he set up the egalitarian rules of Rapture.
- Self-Made Man: After leaving the USSR, where he was a wealthy landowner, he came to America and managed to become even richer.
- Shoddy Knockoff Product: Once Fontaine got a foothold in the plasmid market, Ryan realized his mistake and began plotting ways to absorb Fontaine Futuristics into Ryan Industries. However, with Fontaine dead, Ryan lacked understanding of how to properly manufacture them, and rushed a line of faulty plasmids onto the market.
- Significant Anagram: His name contains all the letters to spell out Ayn Rand.
- The Social Darwinist: Anyone who complains about city conditions is deemed a "weak link" in his chain. As much as Ryan loves humanity, he doesn't seem to like people very much.
- Start My Own: He was born Andrei Rianofski in the USSR; Belarus, to be exact. Though the free market of the United States allowed him to make his fortune, Ryan grew disillusioned with Roosevelt's New Deal and decided to uproot himself again. Rapture was carefully (indeed, pointedly) constructed off the coast of Greenland, giving it equal distance from both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
- Start X to Stop X: Betrays the cornerstones of Rapture to 'protect' it, seizing Fontaine Futuristics in the bargain. Against the warnings of McDonagh, Ryan starts building his own army of splicers to combat Atlas'. Meanwhile, everyone and his mother is splicing like crazy, desperate not to get caught in the crossfire.
- Straight Edge Evil: In spite of all the dangers in Rapture, he doesn't appear to have made use of any Gene Tonics or Plasmids to defend himself. In fact, it's very likely that he's only used one gene tonic (anti-aging) in all his years spent in Rapture.
- Stubborn Mule: His overconfidence and a string of bad decisions led to the uprising. Ryan believed that he could deal with any contingency.
- Suicide by Cop: He does this to prove that Jack is a slave, not a man. Also counts as a bizarre example of Better to Die Than Be Killed, since Jack is a tool in his eyes, not a man with free will.
- Taking You with Me: Before dying, he set up Rapture up to self-destruct, though you quickly remedy that.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives Jack one when they meet in person, deriding him as nothing more than a pawn of Fontaine, while also making it clear that while he's choosing to die at this moment, he could have used the Trigger Phrase to kill Jack if he wished.
- There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: "A man, or a slave?"
- His lecture on the difference between parasites and true men, like himself.
- It gets worse:Diane McClintock: I asked Ryan how can he do such things to innocents! He said, "Innocents? If they haven't chosen to defend Rapture, they've chosen to side with Atlas and his bandits. No, there are no innocents. There are heroes, and there are criminals."
- Übermensch: A now-famous example of this trope: he rejected what the world and its moralities entirely, and built the outrageous city of Rapture to have his way.
- The Unfettered: Ryan ticks all of the boxes.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: For all he knew, World War III was almost at hand. He couldn't risk allowing the existence of Rapture to be known.
- Villain Has a Point: His last words to Jack are meant to be this, showing that he was a pawn of Fontaine. He's right about this, but Jack couldn't have helped it.
- We Have Reserves: Preserving 'his' city is all that matters. He greatly expanded Fontaine's harvester policies, even leaving dead splicers lying in the streets for Little Sisters to easily find, prevented anyone else from leaving, and imprisoned or killed anyone even suspected of working with Atlas (making the dissenters even more irate) He seems to have given no thought to the distress this was causing his citizens. This further fed into the general panic.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In his own mind, he probably had the best of intentions, perceiving the outside world as morally bankrupt and parasite-infested.
- Wicked Cultured
- With Us or Against Us: One of Diane's diaries implies that, by the end, Ryan was forcibly rounding up un-spliced citizens and enlisting them to fight Atlas.
- Why Won't You Die?: Ryan's question to Jack about a third of the way into the game.
- You Have Failed Me: He sees nothing wrong with murdering a woman in cold blood for selling his unborn child, or gassing a scientist who was trying to save Arcadia from his poisons, or with decorating the entrance hall to his office with the grimly mutilated corpses of his enemies.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Ryan doubled his assets overnight once Fontaine took his dirt nap — pure coincidence, obviously.
Voiced by: Karl HanoverAn Irish fisherman who guides Jack over his shortwave radio. He brought his wife and son to Rapture in search of a better life, but is now desperately trying to get them out. He is gradually revealed to be the leader of the Anti-Ryan rebellion. 'Atlas' is later revealed to be a persona adopted by Frank Fontaine, who has been manipulating Jack even before the game begins.He serves as a major player in the second half of Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea, demanding for Elizabeth's assistance in escaping from Fontaine's Department Store.
"I'm Atlas, and I aim to keep you alive."
- Accent Relapse: Fontaine goes from an Irish accent to a Bronx one when he reveals himself.
- Amusingly, the guy who voiced Atlas is actually Irish, doing an exaggerated version of an Irish accent. So, you end up with an Irish guy voicing a wiseguy pretending to be an Irish guy.
- Action Survivor: He's one of the few remaining citizens who isn't spliced, though that changes once Jack recovers and begins hunting him. In a panic, Atlas/Fontaine douses himself with massive quantities of ADAM until he becomes unrecognizable.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "Would you kindly?"
- Ax-Crazy: In Burial at Sea. Weeks spent fending off splicers in a shantytown has not helped his mood.
- Bad Samaritan: He arranged for Jack to return to Rapture in the first place. Under the guise of a rebel who is fighting Ryan's regime, he coldly manipulates Jack into killing Ryan and handing the keys of the city over to Atlas.
- Big "NO!": Lets one out when the sub containing his family is destroyed.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: He's really itching to grease Elizabeth; he would sooner cave her head in than tolerate that smart mouth. When she laughs off his empty threat of a lobotomy, he gets hopping mad.
- Cast as a Mask: Despite being a pseudonym that Frank Fontaine uses, he has a different voice actor. This is Lampshaded in Bioshock 2, where he comments that he has to work at making his accent sound convincingly like another person's.
- False Reassurance: Atlas scolds his lackey for playing Russian Roulette with a captive instead of rubbing her out as ordered, grumbling 'Don't torture the poor girl, for God's sake' or something to that effect. As the captive is Elizabeth Comstock, this becomes hilarious later.
- Fauxreigner: Since Rapture is full of people of multiple nationalities with various accents, it's easy to get fooled into thinking that Atlas was raised in Ireland. You get little hints every now and then when the Irish accent slips on certain words (in particular, the description of the research camera), or when he uses distinctly American phrases like how Nitro Splicers are "sounding off like it's the fourth of July," Cohen being a "Section 8" (U.S. Army terminology for being judged mentally unfit for service), and an American football allusion. After the reveal, Fontaine himself even taunts Jack's gullibility by putting on the voice again with even more exaggeration than before.
- Hero Killer: Beats Elizabeth to death with a monkey wrench at the end of Burial at Sea: Part 2
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He's even more thin-skinned than Ryan.
- I Lied: He sure doesn't believe in the letting the grass grow under his feet; Atlas has his boys chloroform Elizabeth the instant she delivers on her end of their deal!"Didn't your mum ever teach you not to put your trust in strange, foreign men?"
- Knight of Cerebus: This series was never known for being lighthearted, but when he shows up in Burial at Sea, everything starts going to hell.
- La Résistance: How Atlas' followers view themselves.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: The result of plastic surgery, to disguise Fontaine's features. This was purposely done since Fontaine, a notorious gangster, could only climb so high up the social ladder; as "Atlas", he sought to convince the city that he was the working-class hero it needed.
- Line-of-Sight Name: He names his fake son and his fake wife "Patrick and Moira". It is the title of a musical by Sander Cohen, for which the player finds some posters in two places: Fort Frolic and the Atlas Headquarters.
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Following the first failed attack on Ryan's operations, Atlas and his boys were imprisoned in Fontaine's old haunt, which was then unmoored and allowed to drift away. Even in absentia, though, Atlas still had sympathizers in Rapture, and they kept in touch via telegraph. When he made his triumphant return, they were ready.
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Type I, after Atlas reveals he is actually Fontaine. Gets to be Type 2 by the time you reach the final level, by which time he's spliced out of his goddamn mind.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Too many examples to list here, the foremost being his cold-blooded, needless killings of Diana McLintock (hammered to a desk, causing it to cave in on itself) and Elizabeth in Burial at Sea (killed with a wrench).
- Atlas is not particularly fussy when it comes to dishing out death, clobbering Elizabeth before he's even checked to see if the letter she handed him is legible or not.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When he gets upset. It's especially noticeable at the end of the Burial at Sea DLC. As he's standing over Elizabeth, screaming at her to tell her what Suchong's code reads, he doesn't even bother putting on the fake Irish accent because of how mad he is.
- Perma Stubble: After a week or two stranded on the sea floor, he looks like something caught in a fish net.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: As shown in BioShock Infinite in Burial at Sea - Episode 2, he calls Dr. Yi Suchong a "slant", an offensive term for people of East Asian descent that refers to the slant of their eyes. Of course, he's not vilified for speaking that way. And it ''is'' Suchong.
- Rebel Leader: What he is revealed to be, though he stops considering himself one by the time he becomes a symbol of rebellion.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: Before interrogating Elizabeth about the whereabouts of the "Ace", Atlas fires up an old phonograph of The Platters singing "The Great Pretender." This song has great significance to Atlas himself.
- This Is no Time to Panic: His lukewarm assurances to Jack after he shoots up plasmids for the first time.(as lightning shoots from Jack's palms and he wails in terror)
Atlas: Steady now. Your genetic code is being rewritten. Just hold on and everything'll be fine.
(Jack falls off a balcony)
- Took a Level in Jerkass: He's considerably more brash in Burial At Sea than he is in the original game, considering that it takes place during his time as a revolutionary.
- Torture Technician: Something of a hobbyist. He's chummy with Dr. Steinman and keeps up on all the latest medical procedures, or at least the painful ones. (Paradoxically, he has nothing but contempt for actual doctors.)
- Would Hurt a Child: By driving a scalpel into her brain no less.
- Verbal Tic: He tends to use "Would you kindly" in a lot of questions. Justified because it's Jack's command phrase.
- Voice with a Radio Signal: He spends most of Bioshock talking to Jack instead of meeting him face-to-face. The same goes for Elizabeth in Burial At Sea, though he does meet up with her.
- You Got Spunk: Said to Elizabeth, suggesting he's far less merciful under normal circumstances. He eventually loses patience and beans her with a wrench anyway, but it took him 2 weeks as opposed to 2 seconds, so cheers for him.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: He's presented as a heroic leader of the underclass in Bioshock, and is humble and self-effacing in his interviews. In Burial At Sea, however, he behaves more like a Spear Counterpart to Daisy Fitzroy.
Voiced by: Anne BobbyA high ranking scientist of German-Jewish origin within Rapture, who mothered the Little Sister project and later came to view them as her surrogate children, in atonement for removing them from their parents and experimenting on them.
"What makes something like me? I look at genes all day long, and never do I see the blueprint of sin. I could blame the Germans, but in truth, I did not find tormentors in the Prison Camp, but kindred spirits. These children I brutalized have awoken something inside that for most is beautiful and natural, but in me, is an abomination... my maternal instinct."
- Alter Kocker: She's not that old and senile, but occasionally, bits and pieces of her Yiddish upbringing slip in her use of English.
- The Atoner: As mentioned above.
- Big Good: Of the first game, after Fontaine takes over. She briefly serves this role in the sequel.
- For Science!: Her initial outlook on her work, even to the point of collaborating with her Nazi captors.
- Germanic Depressives: A rather justified case.
- Hot Scientist
- Averted in game, as everyone refers to Tenenbaum as creepy. Dr. Suchong notes that her voice is "thick and grating" and she wears the "same stained jumper day after day." Apparently her audio diary picture is her spruced up a bit.
- Heel Realization:''"One of the children came and sat in my lap. I push her off, I shout, 'Get away from me!' I can see the ADAM oozing out of the corner of her mouth, thick and green. Her filthy hair hanging in her face, dirty clothes, and that dead glow in her eye... I feel... hatred, like I never felt before, in my chest. Bitter, burning, fury. I can barely breathe. And suddenly, I know: it is not this child I hate."
- Les Collaborateurs: Despite her Jewish heritage, her love of science led her to become an aide to the Nazi scientists of Auschwitz.
- Mama Bear: She wasn't warm to the idea at first, but eventually grew into it.
- Mission Control: After The Reveal in the first game.
- Motherly Scientist: Eventually became this.
- My God, What Have I Done?: As the above quote demonstrated, she came to realize the hell she put the Little Sisters through.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Her audio diary portrait◊ (in the first game, anyways) bears a striking resmeblance to the actress Geraldine Fitzgerald.
- Pretty in Mink: One of her outfits includes a fur-trimmed cape.
- Redemption Earns Life: The only one of Rapture's leadership who tried to save those who were experimented on for the sake of the ADAM trade (the Little Sisters, Jack and -to a certain extent—Subject Delta), she's also the only one of the leadership who survives the game.
- Restored My Faith in Humanity: Jack brings this about in her if he rescues the Little Sisters rather than harvesting them.
- Teen Genius: She was correcting the methodology of trained scientists when she was only sixteen.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The first two chapters of BioShock 2 imply she'll have as large a role as she did in the first game, then after meeting up with her, she flees from Lamb, sending Delta off to Sinclair. She came back in the Minerva's Den DLC.
- Despite it practically revolving around the Little Sister plot, in Burial at Sea, she is only passingly mentioned and not by name.
Voiced by: Greg Baldwin and Karl Hanover (in BioShock 2)An infamous New York con man and former business rival of Andrew Ryan's who rose to prominence and power through the sale of prohibited goods. His later discovery and marketing of plasmid technology was instrumental in bringing about Rapture's civil war and downfall.
"Spent the morning jawing with that Kraut scientist. She's damaged goods, all right. Just like all those chumps they scraped out of them prison camps. But she's no crackpot... she's gonna make me the kinda scratch that'll have Ryan look like he's runnin' a paper route. She just needs some supplies to get the ball rolling... and a friend to watch her back."
- Abstract Apotheosis: Fontaine came to represent the values of the city in the end.
- The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Fontaine builds himself up into the city's leading drug baron. According to Burial at Sea, Suchong took a cue from Jerimiah Fink and experimented with peddling plasmids in beverage form. However, the cost of bottling ADAM far outweighed that of the syringes, causing a steep drop in profits; Fontaine ordered him to cut it out, adding that "the boys in marketing" could come up with a flimsy excuse to roll back their product line.
- The Alcatraz & The City Narrows: Fontaine's shopping center. Following his last stand with the police, the remnants of Fontaine's army were hounded into the department stores and cut loose — literally, the entire hub was uncoupled from the city and sunk. When Elizabeth restored the district to its rightful position (via the Lutece particle), the prisoners swarmed rapture and the war began in earnest. In Burial at Sea, the mall serves as a preview of Rapture's fate: it's swarming with masked maniacs, and beginning to flood.
- American Accents: A clear case of Joisey/Da Bronx, to more clearly ram home that he's a gangster.
- Badass Moustache: A pencil mustache.
- Bald of Evil: Quite a shiny dome he's got there. One wonders how he was able to pass so well as the fully-haired Atlas.
- Bioshock Rapture reveals that he shaves his head because "the ladies like him bald". It likely makes it easier for him to disguise himself, as well: His Lex Luthor-ish dressing room is hidden within his nightclub in Burial at Sea: Among the items is a giant dressing room mirror, some costumes and numerous wig stands.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy/Sculpted Physique: His end boss form. Apparently, hulking yourself up with ADAM causes your privates to wither away.
- The Barnum: He's as phony as a rubber check. Frank expresses amusement in his diary that no one in Rapture gave thought to who would scrub the toilets. They can't all be captains of industry. This led him to believe that Rapture's citizenry was really gullible; experience bears out this belief."Rapture: The confidence man's playground."
- Brooklyn Rage: It even slips through his Atlas disguise when he gets angry enough in Burial At Sea!
- Card-Carrying Villain: He's a blood-soaked gangster who kicks the dog as a matter of routine. The problem is, so does Suchong, Ryan, Cohen, et al.
- Carrying the Antidote: Lot 192, an antidote to the Mind Control Plasmid. Fontaine ordered its creation as an insurance policy, fearing the plasmid might be used against him. Jack gulps the serum in order to rid himself of Fontaine's remaining Trigger Phrases, which Tenenbaum couldn't dismantle on her own.
- Cement Shoes: The freezer in Fontaine's Fisheries doubles as a dumping ground for mooks who decided to cross him.
- "Frank Fontaine" is the name of a fishing mogul who was unceremoniously dumped off the side of his own boat, courtesy of Frank Gorland.
- Character Name Alias: While his real name is Frank, his real last name is unknown (and it's stated that only a handful of people in the world know it).
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Fontaine has a rather eerie habit of betraying everyone who works for him, usually in a fit of pique. One minute, he's recruiting lower-class workers with the promise of making some real money. The next, he's pocketing their smuggling profits and threatening to turn them in to the cops if they complain. His most ardent fan, Diane McLintock, was murdered on the tiny suspicion that she might connect Atlas with his old identity. Elizabeth ended up becoming the linchpin to Atlas' escape from prison and his return to Rapture; Frank executed her once her usefulness was at end — and then panicked once he realized it wasn't.
- Create Your Own Villain: Ryan was moved by Fontaine's flattering letters to invite him to Rapture. Ryan at first observed Fontaine's rise to power with pride, pointing to him as example of what Rapture was built to foster. Even when Fontaine's empire began to compete with his own, he merely admonished Fontaine's opponents to "offer a better product." And the cancer spread from there.
- Fontaine may be a smuggler and a brute, but his attempts at legitimate businesses were big successes. Being hounded by Ryan's private police—who employed violent measures to crack down on the smuggling ring—pushed Fontaine into more overt criminality. Fontaine Futuristics did one better, giving Frank enough clout to challenge Andrew Ryan directly. Again Ryan responded with extra-legal measures to smother his business, and again Fontaine dug in and turned to crime — this time building up a splicer army. Even if Fontaine was like Gandhi, it's unlikely that Ryan would tolerate any competitors on his turf for long.
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster : Frank was just a hoodlum when he left the Bronx. Few months in Rapture, dude's got his own office towers.
- Diabolical Mastermind: He eventually gains a lot of power within Rapture, even rivaling Andrew Ryan's, because "he's got the ADAM, and that makes him the guv'nor". His smuggling operations continue, but with Fontaine tucked safety away in his office across town. He can even throw some of his own men to the wolves if he has to, knowing the evidence will never point to him.
- The Dreaded/Shrouded in Myth: It's often mentioned how the inhabitants of Rapture are terrified of Fontaine, even years after his apparent death. Dr. Suchong, one of the few people in Rapture not to be impressed by him, points out that it's all an image Fontaine himself took great measures to cultivate, and that beneath it all he's just a very skilled flim-flam man.Ghost 1: "Hey, Fuck Fontaine."
Ghost 2: "You don't fuck Fontaine, Fontaine fucks you!"
- Drunk on the Dark Side: After overdoing a self-defensive splicing.
- Evil Gloating: It's practically endemic to the man. After The Reveal he divides his time between stopping your heart with code phrases and pontificating about how awesome his (admittedly, rather impressive) accomplishments are. He even brags to himself in his audio diaries, which at one point almost gets his cover as Atlas blown.
- Evil Laugh: After Jack beats in Ryan's skull with a golf club, Atlas begins to drop the Irish brogue while laughing maniacally.
- Eviler Than Thou: Fontaine might not be "the greatest electrical engineer of our time", but when it comes to cutthroat business practices, he's Ryan's equal.
- Faking the Dead: The more Ryan fought to suppress him, the stronger Fontaine got. Finally, he decided the best course of action was to become a martyr, thus completely discrediting Ryan."As if this was the first time I had to dodge a bullet! They're comin' to my house expecting a show, but they're gonna get a disappearing act. Say goodbye to Fontaine... *cocks shotgun* And hello to Atlas!"
- Final Boss: A very spliced up Fontaine is fought at the end of the game.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was just a lowly bookie in the old days. Though a twist of fate, one of Ryan's shell companies did business near a dockide bar owned by Frank (seized from one of his debtors). Fontaine did some sniffing around, eventually determining that Ryan was building something big at the bottom of the Atlantic. Adopting the reputable identity of Frank Fontaine, he took over a fishery and offered his services to Ryan. Of course, Fontaine brought a few 'associates' with him...
- Functional Addict: Prior to the boss battle, Fontaine has clearly been using ADAM, but only enough of it to survive the dangers of Rapture. Unfortunately, when Jack corners him, Fontaine splices up with all the ADAM he's been able to gather, driving himself mad in the process.
- He also mentions having tried Nose Candy and Floor Polish, ho ho. note
- Gambit Roulette: Though Fontaine's plan was ultimately successful (at least up to the point his creations teamed up and killed him), it does seem a bit needlessly complicated and dangerously susceptible to bad luck.
- Greater Scope Villain: Much of what caused Rapture to go into decline was due to his influence, since he helped create the demand for ADAM that caused the development of the Little Sisters and Big Daddies, and subsequently created Splicers. And, as luck would have it, he's also the true antagonist of the original game, as well as Burial At Sea.
- He Knows Too Much: Diane walking in on "Atlas" at an inopportune moment. Taking a powder, perhaps?
- A tabloid reporter met his untimely end while snapping photos outside of Fontaine's penthouse. His corpse is found rotting next to the tripod camera.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He had Jack created to kill Andrew Ryan... only for Jack to turn on him when Fontaine showed his hand and tried to kill him. He was also partly responsible for creating the Little Sisters, a group of whom swarm him to deliver the killing blows.
- I Have Many Names: Gorland, Barris, Wiston, Moskowitz, Fontaine, Atlas and... Wang?
- Just You and Me and My GUARDS: "You think I'm alone in this world?" Fontaine's final boss form summons various splicers and drones to distract you while he refuels.
- Karmic Death: He is done in by a group of Little Sisters, like those he victimized in his "orphanage" and encourages Jack to harvest throughout the game.
- Kill and Replace: BioShock: Rapture reveals that he murdered and stole the identity of the real Frank Fontaine in order to take over Fontaine Fisheries and gain access to Rapture.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Inheriting control of a fish-packing company, he established himself as a rugged entrepreneur in Rapture, setting up a front to disguise his smuggling activities. The same goes for "Little Sister's Orphanage" and "Fontaine's Home For the Poor", which use the poor as grist for his splicer mill.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Fontaine couldn't take Ryan on directly - even as the mogul's power base was rapidly eroding - and needed to assemble a mob to do the heavy lifting: first as a crime boss, then as a leader of the downtrodden, and now as Jack's hypnotic controller.
- Like a Son to Me: He claims Jack is the closest thing he's ever had to a son.
- Malevolent Mugshot: His bald mug adorns the logo for Fontaine Futuristics.
- Master of Disguise: He mentions having spent six months as a "Chinaman" once.
- The Mob Boss Is Scarier: Electrodes? Pfft. Whatever.Jimmy: Whatever Ryan thinks he can do to me, FONTAINE CAN DO DOUBLE!
- Not So Different: Interestingly, Fontaine never commits any crime that Ryan isn't also guilty of — except Fontaine is slightly more honest. For instance, where Fontaine recklessly stoked fear in the populace to sell them guns, Ryan did the same to sell plasmids (which were much more unstable than Fontaine's products).
- Not So Harmless: McDonagh discovered this when he led a raid on the smuggler's hideout. Somebody tipped Fontaine off.(bewildered) Them Splicers come screaming out the woodwork, burping fire, spitting ice... Like demons out of the Bible they were! Never seen nothing like it. It wasn't a business he was building, it was an army!
- One-Winged Angel: He confronts you after splicing himself into a hulkish superman with multiple plasmids and more than a passing resemblance to the mythical Atlas. It's twice as ironic when you realize that in the end he's defeated by a bunch of little girls.
- Posthumous Character: As one of the main instigators of the uprisings against Ryan, Fontaine was gunned down by Ryan's men prior to the game. Except not. He used that opportunity to fake his death and return as the Rebel Leader Atlas.
- The Sociopath: Fontaiane was a vicious animal to begin with, and even moreso once Ryan had him on the run.
- Super Strength: One of the few gene-tonics he's been willing to use before the final boss battle; during the climax, he uses it to create obstacles that can slow Jack's pursuit.
- Take Over the City: This was his original goal. Now that Rapture stands in ruins...
- Take Over the World: Fontaine's new dream is to unleash ADAM on the surface world.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else: Fontaine is an interesting case: He's the ultimate "parasite", according to Ryan's belief system. But without ample help from Ryan, Suchong, and Tenenbaum — all pursuing their own "enlightened self-interest" — he could never have risen as far as he did.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Tenenbaum. Though there was no romance, a paparazzo posted outside Fontaine's home reported he and "that spooky Kraut" were seeing each other, much to his puzzlement. In the symbolic sense, Fontaine considers he and Tenenbaum to be Jack's actual parents.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Both as Atlas and as the benefactor of "Fontaine's Home for the Poor". This is reflective of real-life gangsters, who are often venerated as neighborhood protectors.Peach Wilkins: Fontaine's promising something better. He's like one of us, y'know? Like he's worked a day in his life.
- Visionary Villain: Ryan slowly began to realize this about him. No matter how many rackets are bust or smugglers they hang, Fontaine is simply too devious and smart to be caught red-handed. Fontaine wasn't interested in just making money; he was challenging Andrew Ryan for control of Rapture." This Fontaine fellow is somebody to watch. Once, he was just a menace, to be convicted and hung. But he always manages to be where the evidence isn't. He's the most dangerous type of hoodlum... the kind with vision."
- War for Fun and Profit: The gun-dispensing "Power to the People" vending machines were built by Fontaine. They were a cynical ploy to spur paranoia and armed conflict between the citizens of Rapture, who were growing fearful of the splicers as well as their own government. Needless to say, this was a successful side venture for Fontaine Futuristics.A gun in every home, peace on every street
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Fontaine plays a mean game of Speed Chess. When his initial plan — get the entire city hooked on ADAM to the point where he is effectively in charge — breaks down with Ryan seizing his legitimate assets, he fakes his death, reinvents himself as "Atlas", and triggers a citywide civil war by exposing Ryan as everything he (and by extension, the hardcore Objectivists who followed him into the ocean) hated. During the fighting, everyone got spliced to the gills, resulting in crippling ADAM addiction, and the conditions for peace included handing Fontaine's seized assets over to Atlas.McDonagh: Strikes me that Fontaine wasn't overly inconvenienced by his own demise.
Voiced by: T. Ryder SmithArtist, writer, actor, director and composer, famous for writing Rapture's national anthem, "Rise, Rapture, Rise", as well as many other strange and eccentric works. Notably hostile towards those who question his art and/or closeness to Andrew Ryan. Jack first encounters him in Fort Frolic, after Cohen jams Atlas' radio transmission and blocks the exists; welcoming Jack as a fellow artist, he gives him the task of killing his former disciples and photographing their corpses.Cohen makes an appearance in Burial At Sea, hosting a private party at his personal club before the New Year's Eve Riots.
"I know why you've come, little moth. You've your own canvas. One you'll paint with the blood of a man I once loved. Yes. I'll send you to Ryan, but first, you must be part of my masterpiece. Go to the Atrium. Hurry now! My muse is a fickle bitch, with a very short attention span!"
- Affably Evil: Weirdly friendly towards Jack throughout their time together, often complimenting him on his fighting style or his talents as a photographer. Also, he apologises profusely after launching a horde of splicers at him.
- Berserk Button: Just try questioning his art. He could even rise from the dead to attack you if you hit his Quadtych!
- Beware the Silly Ones: You don't get a chair on Rapture's board without some degree of cunning. Cohen might be a hack and a joke, but he can see through most subterfuge (although he claims true "artists" are more attuned to life, etc.), and isn't buying into Elizabeth's Rapture guise.
- Bonus Boss: You don't have to kill him to advance the plot, although sparing him (or killing him in Fort Frolic instead of in his house) prevents access to his bedroom, which contains a Power to the People machine. He only attacks if you hit him first (in Fort Frolic) or if you disturb the dancing splicers in his house.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Splicing has given him a pair of permanent bunny-ears.
- Can't Take Criticism: In the middle of the Fort Frolic mission he decides that you are a doubter, keep in mind you literally said nothing to him, and launches a four wave splicer assault on you set to a Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky.
- Celebrity Survivor: One of the most active media personalities in Rapture prior to the civil war, now thriving in the anarchy of the city's collapse.
- Condemned Contestant: Making Kyle Fitzpatrick perform the same 'piano lesson' over and over. On a piano covered with dynamite. True to form, Cohen is displeased with his rendition of Cohen's Scherzo #7 no matter how hard he tries.
- In Burial at Sea, the pair of dancers who fail to "open themselves to the music", as Cohen puts it, are electrocuted into unconsciousness and dragged up to the ceiling via harnesses.
- Depraved Homosexual: If the audio diaries and the novel are to be believed; rumors about young men 'never returning from his dressing-room' circulate pre-Rapture, not to mention his 'living sculptures' of scantily-clad proteges portraying Caligula. Splicing and post-Rapture drugs don't help.
- Evil Is Petty: According to audio logs, a rival artist spoke out against Cohen's nationalistic support of Ryan. He responded by first calling her a "musical gremlin" and then smearing her as a Bolshevik. The possibility of commies in their midst was enough to alarm Ryan, who put the word out to "make sure the little red bird stops singing."
- Cohen's more recently acquired distaste for Ryan wasn't even provoked out of the latter becoming a despot; rather, he just began to perceive him as boring.
- Guttural Growler: The switch from "foppish" Cohen to "serious" Cohen.
- Karma Houdini: Surprisingly, he can come out on top of the game, to be seen as the true winner, and the Fort Frolic part eventually ends as this. If the player chooses not to kill him, and not disturb him in his apartment, he accomplishes his goals, completely as planned, gets exactly what he wants, and walks away scot-free in the end. Him of all people.
- King Mook: Cohen is the only Splicer to sport a gold/bronze rabbit mask rather than the common white/gray ones. As a Houdini Splicer, Cohen performs a lot of paranoia-inducing teleports.
- Large Ham: Very large.
- Laughably Evil: He is a ton of fun to listen to and watch.
- Mad Artist: Even before he jacked up on ADAM, he was pretty out there. And violent.
- Cohen's Scherzo #7 was analyzed and then played by a semi-professional pianist on YouTube. According to him, it's nearly impossible to play (the central section has no repetition and goes all over the keyboard); small wonder it was used to torture a guy.
- Man of Wealth and Taste
- Monster Clown and Uncanny Valley Makeup: Cohen's face is smeared with pancake makeup, lipstick, and eyeliner.
- His appearance in Burial At Sea is still out there: his drawn-on eyebrows, eyeliner, glittery eye shadow, and lipstick. According to Booker, he's "halfway to splice-town" by the time of the riots.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Cohen eventually pulled some strings with the Council — and particularly Ryan — to "Put the bump" on Anna Culpepper, as stated by Security Chief Sullivan (who had to do the dirty work). With this competition gone, Cohen experienced a rare era of extravagance before the Rapture Civil War forced him to shutter Fort Frolic.
- Never My Fault: He labels anyone who criticizes or doesn't think he's an artistic genius as a "Doubter". The real reason people don't consider him an artistic genius is because his art is either mad or crap.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: His concept art and waxed mustache are based on the painter Salvador Dali. Dali was also as eccentric about his own work, and very opinionated about his critics and other popular artists.
- Cohen's personalty was also inspired by "the man who owned Broadway" George M. Cohan, a multi-talented American entertainer who is best known for his ultra-patriotic works.
- Not Quite Dead: It's possible for you to not kill him and that he could come back from the dead; don't be surprised if you hear him laughing maniacally in Cohen's Collection in the sequel.
- Patriotic Fervor: "Rise, Rapture, Rise" will fill you with entrepreneurial pride. Or stomach ulcers.
- Performance Artist: A lethal one.
- Playing with Fire: If he ever gets pissed off enough to attack you in person, a lot of fireball-tossing will be involved.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: "Rise, Rapture, Rise" adds a new wrinkle to his contemporaries' accusations that Cohen only rose so high because he was in Ryan's good graces.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The Wild Bunny"It's my curse! It's my fucking curse!!"
- "I'm SANDER FUCKING COHEN!"
- The Starscream: The last surviving member of Andrew Ryan's council (and his biggest fan) has been left to rot in Fort Frolic. He spares your life in hopes that Jack will kill Ryan for him. Ryan is unaware of Sander's anathema for him, and expresses disappointment that Jack strolled out of Fort Frolic unmolested.
- Stylistic Suck: A quick glance at the lyrics to "Rise, Rapture, Rise," Cohen's paean to Ryan, shows that the song is absolutely execrable.
- Taken for Granite: Mad Artist Sander Cohen doesn't actually petrify people, but he does the next best thing by covering their bodies in plaster and posing them. Almost everyone in his domain is either a dead statue, or a person pretending to be a statue. One of his "students" took to using his ice powers, rather than plaster, to freeze people in poses.
- They Called Me Mad!: "Screw you! Screw all you fucking doubters!"
- White Dwarf Star: His reputation has already waned by the time Ryan recruits him for Rapture, with his comeback production receiving less-than-stellar reviews; Cohen, talks of nothing but his "projects" and his admirers. Being the only headliner in Rapture helps get him to prominence again.
- Wicked Cultured: Yes, it's true that most of his sculptures and poems range from crap to utterly mad, but there's no denying that he's also a very talented composer.
Dr. J.S. Steinman
Dr. J.S. Steinman
Voiced by: Peter Francis JamesBefore Rapture's societal collapse, J.S. Steinman was one of the city's most famous medical professionals; already a highly innovative plastic surgeon, he used ADAM to sculpt his patients to the highest possible standard of beauty. Unfortunately, he also tried a few of these new techniques himself. As such, by the time Jack meets him, Steinman has degenerated into a splicer, and now sees his patients as little more than human-shaped canvases on which to practice his skills as an artist-specifically, cubism.
"With genetic modifications, beauty is no longer a goal or even a virtue, it is a moral obligation. Do we force the healthy to live with the contagious? Do we mix the criminal with the law abiding? Then why are the plain allowed to mingle with the fair?!"
- Asshole Victim: A smug creature with a low regard for his patients, or should we say test subjects. He rationalizes using up and discarding the Little Sisters for ADAM, likening it to euthanasia.
- Berserk Button: By the time Jack meets him, Steinman is a very strong believer in Beauty Equals Goodness, and considers anything ugly to be offensive to the point that he's willing to kill and/or mutilate it on sight.
- The Beautiful People: Fancies himself one, and considers the non-handsome of Rapture to be one step above germs.
- Boss in Mook Clothing/Warmup Boss: He's the governor of the Medical Pavilion, and the first boss you face.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Good luck trying to determine his standards of beauty. One of his victims was even considered "too symmetrical."
- Dissonant Serenity: His audio diaries, especially "Not What She Wanted," which records the moment in which Steinman finally loses his mind and begins performing a facelift on a patient — who'd only been scheduled for a nosejob. He whistles to himself while a nurse screams for help in the background.
- Dressed to Heal/King Mook: Steinman uses the generic Dr. Grossman model, the only differences being that he wears an orange smock and takes much more punishment.
- Functional Addict: BioShock: Rapture revealed that Steinman had a drug habit on the surface which caused his first hallucinations of "the Goddess". Yup, definitely the guy you want running your medical ward.
- Mad Artist/Mad Doctor: Even before he went bananas, Steinman had a feeble grasp on the Hippocratic Oath. Inevitably, he started seeing imperfection everywhere and dubbed himself "the Picasso of surgery".
- Manufacturing Victims: By using ADAM in his treatments, Steinman unwittingly ensured that any of his patients that weren't already addicted had a pretty good chance of becoming addicted after leaving the surgery. And given that excessive use of ADAM tends to result in disfiguration, quite a few of his patients would have returned for further treatments.
- Professor Guinea Pig: His audio diaries reveal that he was more than willing to use his experimental techniques on himself. You know what they say, the plastic surgeon who lifts his own face has a fool for a patient.
- Punctuated Pounding: "She (stab) WON'T (splat) STAY (splork) STILL!"
- Room Full of Crazy: Most of the Medical Pavilion has been turned into this under Steinman's watch, with numerous messages from the man himself smeared on the walls in blood.
- Sanity Slippage: Unlike many of the splicers, Steinman's audio diaries clearly show his descent into lunacy, beginning with his feelings of dissatisfaction with the banality of his work, then his thoughts on cubist art as applied to surgery, and finally his hallucinations of the goddess Aphrodite... though she apparently encouraged him to go to Rapture in the first place.
- "We all come down here, figured we'd all be part of Ryan's Great Chain. Turns out Ryan's chain is made of gold, and ours are the sort with the big iron ball around your ankle."
- Conspiracy Theorist: He thinks, among other things, that Frank Fontaine is still alive, and that you might be working for him. Never mind that, as Atlas informs you soon after, Fontaine's been dead for a while. Of course, refer to Properly Paranoid...
- Flunky Boss: He doesn't fight you alone when the time comes to throw down.
- Funetik Aksent: His is pretty thick, and extends to some of the subtitles if you have them on.
- King Mook: His character model is that of a Nitro Splicer, only with a welding mask.
- Lower-Class Lout: He's not exactly the most cordial fellow you'll ever meet.
- Mad Bomber: When you get attacked by a Spider Slicer, he sends you a grenade launcher to help even the odds. When he comes after you himself, he's got the abilities of a Nitro Splicer.
- Morton's Fork: Work for Fontaine, Ryan strings you up. Try to quit Fontaine, and he kills you. This leads to...
- Properly Paranoid: All that rambling about Fontaine not being dead, and you being his flunky? Turns out that he's right about all of it (though you weren't aware of it at the time).
- Sanity Slippage: His paranoia about Fontaine has not been very good for his mental health.
- Third-Person Person: Often refers to himself by "Ol' Peachy".
Dr. Yi Suchong
Dr. Yi Suchong
Voiced by: James YaegashiDr. Yi Suchong was one of the leading scientists in Rapture, who worked for Fontaine on plasmid tests, as well as designing Little Sisters and the first of the Big Daddies. He and Dr. Tenenbaum were also responsible for creating Jack and the mental conditioning that would be used to control him.
"War. A terrible thing. Japanese kill every man in my city. Except for Suchong. Suchong have opium. Very good opium. This war, terrible thing too. But not for Suchong."
- Asian Speekee Engrish: As shown in his diaries.
- Asshole Victim: He's killed by a Big Daddy.
- Child Hater: Suchong hated children, and scarcely bothered to conceal it in any way. One of his big dreams was to find a way to make children age quickly to make them more efficient and "domesticatable."
- Eventually, he succeeded in this by creating Jack.
- Children Are a Waste: In one loading screen, a scientist, Dr. Suchong, is quoted saying that children are a waste, because they mature slowly, and consume resources while contributing nothing. He then remarks that "There must be something to be done to speed the process..."
- Death by Irony/Gone Horribly Right: Minutes before his death, he complained that the Big Daddies didn't seem to be especially protective of the Little Sisters; after he made the mistake of slapping one of said Little Sisters in the face, he ended up getting drilled to a desk by one of the supposedly neglectful Big Daddies. Eureka!
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In BioShock: Rapture, to the point he utterly fails to recognize Tenenbaum's Heel-Face Turn. Even Ryan and Fontaine are able to understand Tenenbaum's change of conscience, while Suchong literally doesn't even know the word "conscience" (it being a word he didn't consider important to learn when learning English).
- Evil Counterpart: To Tenenbaum. They have similar backstories, as both were victims of the Axis Powers during World War II who became brilliant scientists, came to Rapture, and researched plasmids. However, unlike Tenenbaum, who had a change of heart and worked to reverse what she had done, Suchong maintained his cold For Science! attitude until it got the better of him (see Karmic Death).
- Evil Genius: One of the chief offenders in Rapture, even more so than Steinman and Tenenbaum.
- For Science!: Although his principal concern was always how he himself could benefit financially from his research, his secondary motive seems to have been scientific advancement, regardless of collateral damage. Even the deaths of his patients provided valuable insight: after the clinical trials for Telekinesis showed it was possible to stop a bullet in mid-air if not for slow human reaction times, Suchong was inspired to create the Sports Boost plasmid.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: One of the few characters with glasses... and one of the biggest sociopaths.
- Freudian Excuse: His childhood was spent as a servant to Japanese nobles, whose children bullied him.
- Hypocritical Humor: In Burial at Sea, audio logs show that, just like how Jeremiah Fink stole his plasmid ideas, he's perfectly willing to steal Fink's ideas of drinkable genetic powers. He lampshades this too.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: As the quote illustrates, Suchong has a habit of making himself valuable to the enemy. In fact, after Fontaine was killed and his company seized by Ryan Industries, Suchong's only major complaint was that Ryan didn't pay as much as Fontaine.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By a Big Daddy drill.
- Karmic Death: After going into so much detail as to how much he despised children and how responsible he was for the creation of the Little Sisters and the Big Daddies, Suchong finally dies as a direct result of slapping a Little Sister in the face and angering her Big Daddy.
- Kick the Dog: Suchong has a very literal example in one of his audio diaries. While Jack was still being prepared, Suchong gave him a puppy to play with; after seeing that the boy had gotten quite attached to it, he activated Jack's mind control and ordered him to break the dog's neck.
- Lack of Empathy: He might not be an obsessive control freak like Andrew Ryan or an exploitative megalomaniac like Fontaine, but Suchong manages to make himself just as bad as them via his most obvious character trait: he couldn't care less about anyone but himself.
- This is why it took so long for the imprinting of the Big Daddies and Little Sisters to form - he couldn't recognise that, while trying to replicate the Songbird's imprinting onto Elizabeth, it wasn't due to pheromones or hypnotherapy, but it was genuine love and loyalty... something so completely foreign to him. 'Mistaking An Ounce of Emotion for a Pound of Science' as Elizabeth herself puts it.
- Mad Scientist: Back when Rapture was at its zenith, he was tied with Tenebaum in this regard. Moreso after she went and pulled a Heel-Face Turn.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Yi Suchong's "Free" Clinic. Fittingly for Rapture, the clinic was created more as a business venture than as a genuine act of charity.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: It's his birth date, natch. So much for Rapture's "greatest genius".
- The Sociopath: In BioShock: Rapture, he's shown to be more cold and heartless than even Fontaine or Lamb, to the point that he even scares Fontaine.
- Sophisticated as Hell: This is a guy who will redact all of his lab notes, but still refer to Tenenbaum as "foreign bitch" in code.
- The Stoic: Again, in BioShock: Rapture, he seems to be the least perturbed character in the book, managing to maintain an attitude of amused indifference to the insanity around him.
- In Burial at Sea, he manages to lie to Booker, despite being interrogated for 15 hours.
- Third-Person Person: As shown by his quote above.
- Tested On Humans: Many of the working-class citizens of Apollo Square who could not afford Steinman's astronomical bills came to the clinic seeking aid. Suchong used the Free Clinic as a place to further his experiments by using his patients as test subjects. The Doctor is in...
- War for Fun and Profit: He welcomes the civil war as an opportunity to advance his Plasmid research.
- Wild Card: This is why he aids both Fontaine and Ryan, and criticizes both in his audio logs.
- Yellow Peril
- You No Take Candle/Third-Person Person: Suchong tends to talk like this, although it seems more a force of habit than any inability to speak the language.
- Although he drops it sometimes in his more personal audio diaries (such as "Plasmids are the Paint"), so this may be a case of Obfuscating Stupidity.
Professor Julie Langford
Professor Julie Langford
Voiced by: Susanne BlakesleeA renowned botanist who was recruited by Andrew Ryan to build an undersea forest that would provide oxygen to Rapture. She eagerly accepted, and built the massive garden called Arcadia. She was angered by Ryan's increasing control over the garden as he began charging people to see and for the oxygen it provided, but continued working for him in order to continue her experiments with ADAM and plant life.
- The Atoner: Her reason for working on the Lazarus Vector in the first place—she feels bad about all the ecological destruction she unleashed during WWII to flush out Japanese camps in the jungles.
- Badass Bookworm: While we never see her in action, she's one of the few non-spliced denizens of Rapture that you encounter. Either she doesn't venture far from the safety of her well-fortified home, or she knows her way around some firearms. Either way, she gets a few points.
- Berserk Button: Those trees are the last thing in Rapture she cares about. Ryan killing them makes her turn against him.
- Deadpan Snarker: In her Audio Diaries, she has this attitude toward the Saturnine cult.
- Dying Clue: 9457 You get it after Ryan gasses her lab, and she writes it out on the fogged-up glass of the observation window.
- For Science!: She doesn't really care what happens to the rest of Rapture so long as she can continue her experiments. Her zeal is so strong, she became trapped in Arcadia during the lockdown, refusing to leave her office when she was close to a breakthrough.
- Only in It for the Money: She balked at Ryan privatizing the Arcadia gardens, and was in the middle of a tirade when she remembered who signs her checks."The only thing worse than a hypocrite is an unemployed one."
- Only Sane Man: Other than Tenenbaum, she's actually one of the only normal, fairly reasonable, unspliced humans left in Rapture. She's also the only other one besides Tenenbaum who doesn't outright try to harm Jack (as Ryan does), instead giving him instructions for what materials to gather so she can undo the poisoning of Arcadia's air before they all suffocate.
- Parental Abandonment: According to her second-to-last audio diary, she has a daughter. One whom, given what else we know about her, she probably hasn't seen in years.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ryan gasses her office after she decides to help Jack restore Arcadia with the Lazarus Vector. The specific reason is that her contract made all her intellectual discoveries Ryan's property, and by trying to give it to Jack she was betraying him.
- "I thought Andrew Ryan was a great man. I was a fool."
- Break the Cutie: Things went badly for her during that fateful New Years party, and it only got worse from there...
- Horrible Judge of Character: Dating Andrew Ryan, and her later admiration for "Atlas".
- It's All About Me: At first, Diane comes across as a whiny, high-maintenance bimbo. After the New Year's Eve attack, she blames the loss of her looks and social life on the rebels ("They've ruined everything for me!"). Once she confronts them, though, she quickly pulls her head out... and develops a crush on Atlas. Oops.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Before her injuries and Dr. Steinman's "treatment". ("He's taken a personal interest in my case!") She went from Ryan's girl to being unable to get a date.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Diane's Audio Diary portrait is based on the mugshot of Tanya Williams, a woman working at the Melody Lane club in San Francisco, arrested in 1942 for "indecent entertainment."
- Non-Idle Rich: Like many in Ryan's camp, Diane was radicalized when she explored outside the bubble of Olympus Heights and saw what was happening to the lower classes.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog After personally participating in a few raids, she was eventually introduced to Atlas himself. Her corpse can be found atop a desk in Atlas' hideout Fontaine suspected she might have overheard him speaking in his real voice.
- The novel confirms she did overhear him, after which Fontaine guts her like a fish.
- Took a Level in Badass: After joining Atlas' rebels. She even managed to take out a few Big Daddies on her own, something she gushes about in her last diary.
- "I told Mr. Ryan when we were building this place; either you build her like a bathtub, or she's gonna turn into a sewer. "No, McDonagh," he said, "we're not gonna build no bathtub... we're gonna build Eden."
- Almighty Janitor: Quite possibly the most sensible person on Rapture's council. Too bad Ryan ignored virtually all of his advice, even on the bleedin' plumbing.
- Badass Mustache
- The Bartender: The Fighting McDonagh's tavern, which he built and managed.
- Broken Pedestal: When Ryan nationalized Fontaine Futuristics, McDonagh lost the last of his faith in the man.
- Cool Old Guy
- The Consigliere: To Ryan. At first. BioShock: Rapture shows he was the closest thing Ryan had to a genuine friend, but that gradually falls apart as Ryan becomes increasingly irrational.
- Deadpan Snarker"Leaks... Lunatics... And now, bleedin' ghosts. Ain't Rapture grand?"
- Defector from Decadence: He was one of Rapture's staunchest evangelists until Ryan went off his nut.
- Go Out with a Smile: In the novel, after knowing that his family got out safely.
- Ignored Expert: His first Audio Diary is a message explaining to Steinman that if pipes in Rapture aren't heated, the cold ocean water will make them freeze and burst. The diary is found near an area that's frozen.
- Nice Guy: Especially noticeable in BioShock: Rapture, where he's one of the most genuinely moral of Rapture's citizens and the closest the book has to a main hero.
- Only Sane Man: Among Ryan's advisers, although he eventually stopped listening to McDonagh.
- Posthumous Character: The player can find his body displayed alongside several others in the entrance hall to Ryan's building.
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Considering the hacks and morons he had to work with on the Council, it's amazing McDonagh tolerated it for as long as he did.
- Take This Job And Shove It: After Fontaine was killed in a shootout with Ryan's men, McDonagh implored Ryan to leave Fontaine's assets alone, and not "put it in the pockets of us, who put him into the ground." However, Ryan got greedy and nationalized Fontaine Futuristics, contradicting all of his big talk about "free enterprise." McDonagh resigned his position on the city council in protest, knowing Ryan had just doomed Rapture.
- True Craftsman: He first met Ryan while he was installing the bathroom plumbing in Ryan's posh Manhattan suite. Ryan balked at McDonagh using brass fixtures instead of the cheaper tin ones that were ordered, and McDonagh replied that he would pick up the extra cost of the fixtures, as a point of personal pride that none of his work had ever leaked. This impressed Ryan, and is what caused them to become friends in the first place."The next day I finds out... I'm Ryan's new general contractor!"
- Unfazed Everyman: For all the crap that happens in Rapture, McDonagh does a damn fine job of hanging onto his sanity; even as everyone around him loses theirs.
- We Used to Be Friends: As the situation in Rapture worsened, McDonagh realized the only way to save his beloved city was to kill his benefactor, Andrew Ryan. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful; his body was impaled on a pillar outside of Ryan's office.
- Working Class Hero: He's a real self-made man, unlike Fontaine (who is a fake one). McDonagh represents the mission of Rapture as originally intended.
- "Hanging now, is it? That's what we've come to? Now look, I don't make the laws here, I just enforce them. But I didn't come to Rapture to string men up for running contraband. If Ryan and his crew have their law, then they can have my badge!"
- Ate His Gun: He is probably the corpse in the Upper Wharf of Neptune's Bounty, since the corpse is wearing a full police uniform and is holding one of his diaries.
- Badass Mustache: If the mug-shot on his Audio Diaries is anything to go by.
- Brooklyn Rage: Sullivan is a New York native who worked "the meatball beat" in Little Italy. Hilariously, none of his RICO experience prepared him for the likes of Sander Cohen.
- Cowboy Cop: "Give 'im a taste, Patrick." (ZZZZAP!)
- Da Chief: Electrocuting suspects for info? Okay.
- Dead Man Writing: In his suicide note, Sullivan left behind an incriminating security tape of Ryan's lover. This put Ryan on the trail of his illegitimate son, making Sullivan inadvertently responsible for Jasmine Jolene's murder.
- Dirty Business: In addition to his usual duties, he also took care of Ryan's dirty laundry, though he sometimes questioned his employer's ethics.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Seen in BioShock: Rapture, especially as the city begins to fall apart.
- The Fettered: He had a sense of justice and a sense of standards, which made him a good cop. Being pushed past those standards is what eventually breaks him.
- The Ghost: He's never explicitly located in Bioshock in the flesh. Some say his corpse is the one containing one of his diaries in Neptune's Bounty, but it's still a bit inconclusive.
- Heel Realisation: In the audio diary he recorded just after he killed Anna Culpepper, he's obviously not far from breaking into sobs of self-disgust.
- Just Following Orders: After eliminating Fontaine in a fiery shootout, Sullivan was assigned another case: Anna Culpepper, a composer who earned Sander Cohen's ire for dubbing him "Ryan's Songbird." Cohen exploited his connections to have Culpepper named Public Enemy No. 1, which Sullivan deeply resented.
- My Greatest Failure: He killed Anna Culpepper in her apartment at Olympus Heights while she was preparing a bath. Disgusted with what he did, he took a half-finished knitted blanket from Culpepper's flat to remind himself of the deed.
- Punch Clock Villain: In the beginning, Sullivan was put in charge of stopping Fontaine's racket, a job he performed using whatever measures he deemed effective (such as torturing and executing suspects). It came as a rude surprise when he found himself acting as Ryan's goon squad against a bunch of hapless, innocent critics of the regime.
- Take This Job And Shove It: When Ryan introduced the death penalty, Sullivan threatened to hand in his badge.
- "Cohen's not a musician. He's Ryan's stable boy. Ryan's corrupt policies crap all over the place, and Cohen flutters around clearing it up. But instead of using a shovel, like you would with a proper mule, Cohen tidies with a catchy melody and a clever turn of phrase. But no matter how nicely it sounds, he can't really do anything about the smell..."