Characters: BioShock Infinite
The central cast of BioShock Infinite
Due to the nature of the game, there are many, many
spoilers on this page, many of which are unmarked
open/close all folders
"One thing I've learned; if you don't draw first, you don't get to draw at all."
The main Player Character
of BioShock Infinite
. Booker is a former soldier and Pinkerton Detective
who has been tasked by a mysterious employer to extract Elizabeth from Columbia. He is world-weary and cynical, having been involved in his fair share of dirty business
over the years, and will do whatever it takes to complete the job.
- Action Dad: He was a father. Not any more. Except he still is; he just doesn't realize the child he gave up is by his side.
- The Alcoholic: If the bottles all over his office are anything to go by, he became this after My Greatest Failure. Comstock also mentions drinking and gambling when he first addresses Booker.
- Alternate Self: Booker is the Columbia counterpart to Jack (with elements of Delta as well) with the journey starting at the lighthouse. As Elizabeth reveals in the ending, this is a bit more literal than it appears at first. In every universe, there is a man, a lighthouse, and a city. He is also Zachary Comstock, but only in a universe where he underwent the baptism and became a new man.
- Anti Anti Christ: Booker is, in a roundabout way, both this and a Satanic figure. As Father Comstock, he is destined to wreak havoc on human civilization, and likely won't stop until the world bows at his feet. As Booker DeWitt, it is foretold that he will attempt to topple Columbia and steal back Elizabeth.
- The Antichrist: The Founders, a very zealously religious faction, refer to him as the "False Shepherd". Given what ideology the Founders hawk, this should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Anti-Hero: Booker has done a lot of bad things in the past, and he's the "hero" of the story.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Yes, sure, a city at the bottom of the sea is ridiculous. Unlike all the other sights Booker has seen by that point, starting with a floating city in the skies and getting more insane from there.
- The Atoner: For his part in the Battle of Wounded Knee and the things he's done as a Pinkerton. Unbeknownst to him, he is also atoning for selling his infant daughter.
Sometimes there's a precious need for folks like Fitzroy
Elizabeth: How come?
Booker: 'Cause of folks like me.
- Badass: An entire city of crazies with superpowers and guns won't keep him and his objectives apart.
- Badass Normal: How he started the game. He fights for a while before getting his first offensive Vigor and Gear. He was also one in his past and since he's the past version of Comstock, it adds a whole new light to the words, "Comstock wasn't there".
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Invoked. Booker does not consider himself a good guy, and unfailingly insists on performing any morally dubious actions that Elizabeth would be willing to do.
- Big "NO!": He lets one out when Anna/Elizabeth is being taken from him in the ending.
- Brooklyn Rage: He lives in New York and he's a very violent individual.
- Byronic Hero: Let's just say Booker's life isn't a road of sunshine and happiness, what with taking part in a massacre at a young age, being a thug Pinkerton Agent, alcoholic, and cynical as hell. And that's not even getting into the fact he sold his daughter...
- Clothes Make the Legend: The incarnation of Booker who lives in Rapture wears a strikingly similar outfit, apart from a red necktie in place of the kerchief.
- Combat Pragmatist: The very first in-game fight sees Booker distract the men about to execute him by tossing a baseball into the air, grab one by the collar and drag him to meet his buddy's Sky-Hook face-first, then steal the Sky-Hook and turn it against its owner (rending flesh and snapping bones like kindling) before putting down another half a dozen police. It's not hard to guess how he might have been deemed too vicious for the Pinkertons — he never hesitates to kill nor is he ever particularly repentant about doing so in the name of protecting himself or Elizabeth.
- The Comically Serious:
- Cowboy Cop: If how he interprets his 'job' during the game is any indication, being an insanely violent loose cannon with a disregard for rules is probably part of what got him fired.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He was told to "bring us the girl" to "wipe away the debt". That's only the tip of a very big, very complex, and very dark iceberg, which the game (and most of the spoilers on this page) revolve around.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He is firmly opposed by the very religiously-flavored Founders and Comstock (often characterized by them as a devil, a satanic influence, or The Grim Reaper), and he has done a lot of bad things, the specifics of which we're probably better off not knowing. He's still more palatable as an individual than Columbia's collective jingoistic insanity, though, and becomes a better person over the course of the narrative.
- He also has a fairly progressive attitude racially (in that he treats everyone with an equal amount of indifference). His response to a black man he sees smoking and is afraid of Booker telling anyone: "Hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em, pal. I ain't no gendarme." And if you choose to throw the ball at Fink instead of the mixed-race couple, there's the fact that he even does that, not to mention he sounds quite pissed about the situation. Considering the time period, such an action would be surprising even coming from a non-Columbian ten times nicer than Booker is. Not that there isn't a good reason for him to be more sensitive than most about racism. During the Battle of Wounded Knee (now called the Massacre of Wounded Knee, possibly because of him), he killed countless Native Americans, and burned teepees down with women and children still inside (ostensibly to gain the acceptance of his comrades after a comment about him having some Native ancestry.) Regret and self-loathing over this is largely why he is so fucked up. So opening up that wound by trying to stone a mixed-race couple probably isn't a good idea.
- Dead Man Writing: You find at least two recordings from him in an alternate Columbia where he was killed — including one he recorded as he lay dying.
- Deadpan Snarker: See First-Person Smartass.
- Death by Childbirth:
So, Mr. DeWitt, is there a woman in your life? Booker:
There was. She died. Elizabeth:
Giving birth. Elizabeth:
Oh... you have a child? Booker: No.
- Death by Irony: The Multiverse exists because he refused (and didn't refuse) his baptism. He dies by being drowned in the waters where he wasn't (and was) baptized.
- Determinator: He can and will weather all the hell Columbia throws at him to get Elizabeth out of Columbia, especially when his motives for doing so shift from business to personal. This is eventually subverted in the Bad Future, when it is revealed that not even his Heroic Resolve can overcome Songbird, and he has died in many realities attempting to do so. He gets help from that reality's Elizabeth to defeat it and rescue his Elizabeth.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: One possible interpretation of the post-credits ending, though in the most extreme variation possible. Through Booker's death at the baptism at the end of the game, the only universe which remained a constant was the one where he refused the baptism and never went through with selling his daughter — an outcome which leads to Comstock never being "born", Columbia never being built, and neither civilization coming to an end. Essentially, he had to kill himself in an infinite number of universes so he and Anna can presumably live happy, normal lives. The part people argue about is whether he remembers what happened over the course of the story—events that, of course, were retconned out of existence by the ending itself—and will use them as motivation to get out of the bottle and NOT be willing to sell his daughter to clear debts.
- Empowered Badass Normal: With Vigors, Infusions and Gear.
- Even the Guys Want Him: At least three male NPCs around Columbia come at him with thinly-veiled overtures, including one as blatant as "Howdy, sailor..." (as well as "I'm fond of the Greco-Roman style. If you want, I could always teach you," and "If you're willing to go into that booth with me, I'm sure I could find you a set of trunks...").
- Exposition Fairy: A ghostly imitation of Infinite's Booker in Burial at Sea. He briefs Elizabeth (now playable) via the radio, provides instructions on how to navigate Rapture, and lends moral support where needed.
- Extreme Omnivore: You can make him eat food that has been thrown in the trash bin.at one point two oval objects are found in a toilet, they turn out to be potatoes. and yes before you ask eating them will give you health just like normal. Given that he'd been struggling with debt, it's probably not a stretch to say that this could be in-character.
- Face Death with Dignity: After realizing that Comstock exists because of his own actions, he tells Elizabeth that he's both Booker Dewitt and Zachary Comstock before she drowns him — symbolically accepting his own sins and those of his other self. It's even more pronounced considering how little he struggles as he runs out of air.
- Featureless Protagonist: Averted; unlike the previous protagonists in this series, he has a full name, an established personality, a consistent voice, and a backstory. His face is also seen in two reflections at the beginning of the game, in the Voxophones recorded by an alternate reality version, and is visible on the alternate versions running around the multiverse confluence in the finale.
- First-Person Ghost: Does not cast a shadow or have a reflection, except during some scripted events (e.g. the washbasin at the start of the game, or his reflection in the glass while being rocketed to Columbia). Jumping onto a skyline after the 15th wave in a Clash in the Clouds game shows he's just a pair of arms.
- First-Person Smartass: Particularly when encountering the Siren. To say nothing of his first impression of Rapture.
A city at the bottom of the ocean
- For Want of a Nail: After the battle of Wounded Knee, Booker attempted to cleanse himself through a baptism. In one reality, he accepted the baptism and became Zachary Comstock; in another one, Booker was unable to follow through with it, and rejected the whole notion of redemption, leading to a life of deep gambling debts.
- The bloodied form of Jeremiah Fink is holding a voxophone of Booker's last words — in this reality, at least. This alternate Booker was caught in a Vox-Founder crossfire and succumbed to his injuries because Elizabeth wasn't there.
- Future Me Scares Me: Booker avoided baptism at the last moment, while in an Alternate Timeline he took the baptism, found religion, and became Comstock.
- Good Counterpart: In Burial at Sea, "Booker" is Elizabeth's post-homicidal guilt given form. The Siren was said to have been pieced together from Elizabeth's resentment. This suggests that Booker manifested in a similar way, but with a benign purpose.
- Goomba Stomp: When hanging onto a Sky-Line or freight hook, Booker can perform a Sky-Line Strike when an enemy is in range.
- Heel Face Door Slam: Arguably applies to Booker at the end. It is ultimately left up to the audience to decide.
- In the backstory to Burial At Sea, Elizabeth warps back to her kidnapping 18 years ago and and tries persuading Comstock not to pull Anna through the tear. Unfortunately, her distraction merely delays Comstock, causing the baby's head to get caught in the closing iris and decapitated. The Reverend, now too shaken to continue with the Columbia project, re-assumes his Booker identity and escapes to the Rapture universe to get away from his troubles. Elizabeth hounds him down and finishes him with a Big Daddy drill.
- Heel Realization:
- Wounded Knee made him come to the conclusion that he was beyond forgiveness, and he simply stopped seeking it by drowning himself in guilt.
- Finding out that he sold his own daughter to Comstock, and that she became Elizabeth, leaves him completely shocked.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He allows Elizabeth to kill him so that Comstock is destroyed for good.
- Heroic Neutral: Couldn't spare a damn about the corruption of Columbia or the budding revolution. All he cares about is finding the girl, and wiping away the debt. Everything in between is a means to an end.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Booker's fairly unrepentant about being forced to kill in order to protect Elizabeth and himself, which initially causes her to try to run away, scared out of her wits at witnessing such carnage:
Elizabeth: You killed all those people! You're a monster!
What did you think
was going to happen?
- Ironically, this makes him no different than Comstock, who's equally unrepentant in his efforts to secure Elizabeth's legacy, having had dozens of people murdered (including his own wife) in order to achieve his goals.
- Indy Ploy: When presented with a problem, Booker tends to go in with both guns blasting, and in his case it seems to work really well.
Elizabeth: You can get us out of here??
Booker: Yes! I just... (mumbling quickly) need to supply enough weapons to arm an entire uprising.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's especially evident near the end of the game that he's become one of these, when he pleads with Elizabeth to go to Paris after dealing with Comstock and just getting away from his dark past. And then there's the event in which he recalls seeing Anna get taken away from him, in which he just starts become so regretful and horrified at what he's done.
- If you note the Lat/Long coordinates when they finally get the airship underway, they are actually headed to Paris.
- Liar Revealed: At the start of the game, Booker is only motivated to complete his job largely out of self-interest. He later goes as far as to lie to Elizabeth that he's bringing her to Paris just so he can finish his task.
- Lima Syndrome: At the start of the game, he lies to Elizabeth about taking her to Paris. By the end, he genuinely wants to take her there rather than take more unnecessary risks.
- Made of Iron: He does take a lot of punishment in the game, after all. In one particular scene, Booker gets hit in the head with a wrench by Elizabeth, wakes up only to get punched in the face by a Vox, and is pushed off an airship from a pretty fair height. What does he do? Gets up and keeps going.
- Manly Tears: Though we don't see them, we can hear Booker cry when he fails in trying to get Anna back from Comstock.
- Mark of the Beast: The "AD" scarred onto the back of Booker's hand mark him as "The False Shepherd" to any of Comstock's followers that bother to look.
- Mark of Shame: It's revealed that the letters marked on the back of his right hand are a self-inflicted version. They are actually the initials of his daughter, Anna DeWitt, aka, Elizabeth Comstock, whom he sold to Comstock, aka, his alternate self; after trying and failing to rescue her, he branded himself as a reminder of his crime - a "hair shirt," as the Luteces put it.
- Meaningful Name: "Booker" - one who makes and binds books. "DeWitt" - of white. A blank book. Appropriate for a video game protagonist. And for the umpteen versions of himself — not just one blank page, but an entire book of them.
- Also possibly named after physicist Bryce DeWitt, who further developed Hugh Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Given the themes of the story, this is highly appropriate.
- Mixed Ancestry: Despite being nominally Caucasian in photographs, it's revealed that he has more than one Native American ancestor in his family tree and is capable enough at speaking Sioux. During the Wounded Knee Massacre, he acquired the nom de guerre of "The White Injun" for all the gruesome trophies he collected. Adding Fridge Horror if you know what tribe was there — the Lakota Sioux, his own people.
- Moral Event Horizon: Deliberately invoked to be Deconstructed, as his story shows what kind of psychological damage an ordinary person can do to themselves after they do something they consider irredeemable. As soon as Booker gave his daughter away to clear his debts, he went mad with grief and regret, chased down the people he sold her to, and tried to fight them to get her back. When that failed, the shame of what he'd done and the self-loathing it brought influenced his reconciliation sickness upon entering Comstock's universe, transforming a desire to get his daughter back into Fake Memories about someone asking for Elizabeth in exchange for his (now non-existent) debts being settled. When Booker realizes this, it breaks his heart so completely that he chooses to quietly Face Death with Dignity and allow himself to be drowned by his daughter so that the whole thing is wiped from possibility.
- Morality Chain: In Burial at Sea, "Our" Booker returns to life minutes after his Rapture version bites the dust. This one is actually a figment of Elizabeth's subconscious, sent to remind her of their objectives. He serves as the voice of conscience during Episode 2.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Has this reaction after he remembers that he sold his daughter, Anna a.k.a. Elizabeth.
- Nice to the Waiter: Whenever he runs across a black janitor or attendant, Booker treats him much more politely and compassionately than the average citizen of Columbia, and often urges them not to put on their usual "subservient" act around him.
"Hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em, pal. I ain't no gendarme."
- Nominal Hero: Kills plenty of enemies and only wants to bring Elizabeth out of Columbia to "wipe away the debt", even going as far as to lie to her about going to Paris.
- Noodle Incident: If you know anything about the Pinkertons' usual MO (and if you don't, Google it), then you really have to wonder just how in the hell someone gets kicked out of them. Especially for "Behavior beyond the Acceptable Bounds of this Agency."
- Not in This for Your Revolution: He temporarily helps out Daisy and the Vox solely for the purpose of securing an airship out of Columbia. However, in one alternate universe where he falls in with the Vox at a much earlier time, he ends up becoming a martyr for their cause without intending to be. He was killed in action, and Daisy Fitzroy decided to enshrine him to give the rebellion the spark she needed.
- One-Man Army: With or without Elizabeth.
- Papa Wolf: As the game progresses, Booker turns very protective and is willing to tear Columbia apart to get Elizabeth to safety.
- Parental Substitute: One possible interpretation of his relationship with Elizabeth. Turns out to have been her Disappeared Dad all along once you learn he actually is her father.
- Perma Stubble: Meanwhile, Comstock grows from this to a Beard of Evil.
- Person of Mass Destruction: As Yahtzee has said, while BioShock and System Shock 2 has the protagonists arrive late to the party and have to piece together what happened, Infinite has Booker arrive just in time for the party, because the party is him. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy or not, Comstock was not wrong about Booker being an Anti Christ.
- Pet the Dog: Booker's racial attitudes for the time are fairly enlightened, in that he doesn't treat other races differently (aside from one player choice, of course). This may stem from his experience at Wounded Knee; while Comstock buried his guilt with a veneer of saintly righteousness, Booker instead became more humble and thus less likely to look down on others. He also surprisingly ahead of his time when it comes down to matters of gender, though this is not particularly saying much as this is the same attitude in Columbia.
- Phone Call From The Dead: In Burial at Sea, Elizabeth is nonplussed to hear Booker on her walkie-talkie, taunting her over the killing of his Rapture counterpart.
- Pinkerton Detective: Formerly. He was kicked out for being too brutal even for them.
- Player Character: In both Infinite and episode one of the Burial at Sea DLC.
- Although the latter is later revealed to be a version of Comstock.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Father Comstock appears to demonstrate his supernatural powers by seeing into Booker's "bloody" past, triggering a nosebleed. The bleeding is actually caused by Booker's suppressed memories of his earlier encounter with Comstock.
- Retgone: Booker kills himself in the dimension where he took the baptism and became Comstock, so all the Comstocks of every universe no longer exist. And seeing how Comstock was responsible for Columbia's creation and Elizabeth's abduction, apparently no Columbia and super-powered Elizabeth, either... which means the whole game's events are erased from existence. Perhaps.
- Retired Monster: Although he's become The Atoner for his Dark and Troubled Past, Booker still nonetheless has very few qualms about having to kill a lot of people during the game, something that initially terrifies Elizabeth.
- The Reveal: Comstock was at Wounded Knee and the Boxer Rebellion because he is Booker, a version who accepted baptism and a new name with it. He still didn't lead at Wounded Knee, mind you (he was just a corporal), making Slate's rage still somewhat justifiable. But that single choice—to baptize or not—is the heart of the game, as Comstock goes on to found Columbia, become sterile from peeking into Lutece Fields, and arrange for the purchasing of some other timeline's Booker's daughter because of Heir Club for Men reasons.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: At first Booker is only interested in retrieving Elizabeth to do his job and wipe away his debts. However, as the story unfolds, he's willing to tear Columbia apart to get Elizabeth to safety. He goes on a more direct one after she's recaptured late in the game, blasting his way into Comstock House and potentially murdering in cold blood several of the unarmed scientists torturing her to get her back. To be fair though, those scientists may have chosen to turn the generators back on in alternate realities.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Whenever you touch fire.
- Self-Serving Memory: A rare case where this is a plot point. In the ending, when the Luteces recruit him, they mention that his memories are changing. "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt" thus becomes "rescue Elizabeth" rather than "I sold my daughter."
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Booker did not die in the version of reality where he rejected the baptism. He died in the version where he did get baptized and went on to become Comstock. Thus, Comstock / the "Evil" Booker is erased from existence, while the "good" Booker never crosses paths with his inter-dimensional counterpart, thus never selling Anna to him, and allowing father and daughter to finally have a normal life... as long as he can take care of that gambling debt.
- The Stinger shows Booker waking up in his office, and heading into the room where he keeps Anna's crib. The screen blacks out before we see if she is there. It is possible he remembers what happened during the story, but it's never indicated.
- Shadow Archetype: To Comstock. Justified because they're the same person, though post-Wounded Knee they diverge in how they cope with the crushing guilt of what they've done. If there's any trait that Comstock and Booker share, it's that they both have incredibly poor ability to handle their own guilt. Booker is crushed under the weight of his own sins, and too full of self-hatred to believe he could be worth any redemption. Comstock, however, constantly runs away from his own guilt, and is completely unable to confront his guilt and deal with the fact that he's a horrible person. As a result, Comstock is always seeking someone else's life as a form of escapism, taking any excuse to not be the murderous, guilt-stricken Booker DeWitt. However, where Comstock chose to dissociate himself from his own guilt, Booker is entirely too aware of what kind of person he is, and is broken by it. Still, at least he displays actual regret and responsibility for his actions, making his method slightly healthier. Slightly.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He was traumatized by his own actions in the Battle of Wounded Knee. To put it in perspective, it is now known as The Massacre of Wounded Knee. It's easy to see how a baptism to "wipe away" all his sins would have been appealing; even easier to guess why he decided he didn't deserve it. At least, this version didn't.
- Significant Birthdate: According to his Pinkerton badge, it's April 19. It's less significant for him than it is for Comstock.
- Supporting Protagonist: Booker, The Protagonist, is a deep, three dimensional character who gets plenty of development in his own right, but the story isn't about him. The whole game is focused on Elizabeth, from the narrative to her importance in gameplay. Subverted at the end of the game, where the focus shifts to Booker's past and his alternate self. In fact, the sudden revelation at the end and all the foreshadowing in the game make it feel like the story was about Booker all along.
- Teens Are Monsters: He was only sixteen years old when he was at the Battle of Wounded Knee, which nowadays is often referred to as a massacre. It's implied Booker himself might be the reason why. It's revealed that Slate's soldiers gave him the nom de guerre of "The White Injun" because he collected so many grisly trophies from the dead, while Comstock's Voxophone recordings reveal that after he was (correctly) accused of having Native American blood, he decided to prove them wrong by burning tepees down with the inhabitants (women and children) still inside. Since this took place before the point of divergence where Booker and Comstock chose different paths, Booker is guilty of this as well.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Zachary Hale Comstock is actually a Booker DeWitt who takes the baptism and a new name following the events of Wounded Knee.
- Trapped by Gambling Debts: The reason for his mission: "Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt." Turns out that line actually means he had to sell his daughter Anna to Comstock (via the Luteces) in order to clear his debt. When he's dragged through a tear, his brain made up memories to give him the justification for finding Elizabeth.
- Unscrupulous Hero: He later starts to care about Elizabeth and genuinely wants to bring her out of Columbia so she can have a good life. That said, he still does kill a lot of people, and he initially isn't very interested in stopping Comstock, only doing so later at the insistence of Elizabeth.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: He gives little thought to much of Columbia, a flying city, and the advanced technology within it. This could serve as foreshadowing that he'd been there before, and was used to it by the time he arrived. On that note, he considers Rapture, a city at the bottom of the ocean, to be kitschy.
- The Watson: He knows enough about physics and combustibles from his time in the army. The higher technology of Columbia confounds him, though. He needs Elizabeth's giant brain to understand it ("Quantum particles suspended in space-time at a fixed height!"), and even then, Booker is often left in her dust ("So... not giant balloons").
- You Are What You Hate:
- In a recording of Comstock's, he rages about his fellows looking down on him because they guessed at his Native American ancestry, and did what he did in the Battle of Wounded Knee to put the "lie" to the idea.
- Also his rant at Comstock about abandoning his daughter, while killing him, is very likely directly just as much at himself — not that he knew that at the time.
Elizabeth Comstock/Anna DeWitt
"There's a world of difference between what we see, and what is."
Voiced by: Courtnee Draper
The main heroine of BioShock Infinite
. Elizabeth is a young woman who has been locked in a tower in Columbia for most of her life, being isolated from the rest of the world and guarded by the mechanical Songbird. She jumps at the chance to escape her imprisonment, but her idealism is slowly hardened as she is faced with a number of truths about herself and the city she is in. She has the ability to manipulate "tears" in reality
that bring objects in from and often create passages to parallel worlds
, though she is unsure about whether her power creates new
universes (based on her own desires) or simply opens the gateway to pre-existing ones.
- Action Girl: In the second part of the Burial at Sea DLC.
- Action Survivor: While she generally doesn't participate directly in combat, Elizabeth is quite helpful in a fight, either by using her Tears to open up new combat possibilities for Booker or by tossing items for him to use.
- Adorkable: Due to her life of confinement and limited real world experience, she tends to treat even the most mundane of things with a sense of wonder, and those can lead to some really funny moments. On the other side of the trope, she's spent that life of confinement becoming educated in a variety of fields.
- Adrenaline Makeover: Elizabeth, on account of Characterization Marches On and being Promoted to Playable for Episode Two. Further justified by having been Brought Down to Normal and focusing heavily on stealth rather than outright gunfights.
- Alternate Self: She also is aware of her alternate Elizabeths, and even teams up with them in a combination of three incarnations to bring about Booker's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Analogy Backfire: Elizabeth is initially supportive of Daisy's revolution, even going as far to compare it to (what else) Les MisÚrables. She's forgotten the rather important detail of the rebels getting creamed that that story, but there is a certain romance to overthrowing a government, and Elizabeth is a romantic character.
- Animal Motifs: She is consistently referred to as the Lamb of Columbia in Founders' propaganda.
- She is also marked as a caged bird by the Luteces.
- In late stages of the game, she is put on a "leash" and compared to Ivan Pavlov's dog.
- Apocalypse Maiden: She was being raised and groomed to become one, ultimately through sheer suffering.
- The Atoner: Elizabeth in Episode Two is consumed with guilt over the fact that she exploited Sally in Episode One to lure Comstock to his death. The irony certainly isn't lost on her.
- Authority in Name Only: The Elizabeth of the 1980s forsook Comstock House, just as she had forsook her father's beliefs. However, like Columbia itself, the stronghold kept right on ticking even without her involvement. In this future, it's little more than an asylum: every floor is dilapidated, and snow is pouring in through the windows.
- Badass: Have to be one to survive a place like Columbia.
- Badass Bookworm: Being one hell of a bookworm? Check. Willing to smack those books at an intruding stranger? Double check.
- Barrier Maiden: Inverted. The epilogue of Infinite reveals that Elizabeth lost her pinky when an (artificially-created) tear closed over it. The missing 'piece' was left behind in an alternate reality, upsetting the balance of the universe. For this reason, Elizabeth's mere presence causes tears to open up all across Columbia and Rapture. It is her death at the hands of a Big Daddy that restores the natural order.
- Barrier Warrior: She cannot project force fields, but Elizabeth can leap into tears to escape pursuit. She can also summon items, obstacles, and NPC friendlies. The reverse is also true: Elizabeth finally brings down the Songbird by transporting it to the sea bottom near Rapture; the water pressure crushes it to death within seconds.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. As the game goes on, she gathers a nice array of cuts and bruises, including a rather vivid-looking shiner under her left eye, which she sports for the last portion of the game. Zigzagged in Episode Two, as both of her corpses are modestly lacking in gore.
- Been There, Shaped History: Comstock's goal for her in Infinite. She achieves this in two very different ways, once in a Bad Future and again in Burial At Sea.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- She's sweet, innocent, adorable, and the single most dangerous thing in Columbia. And then there's that Bad Future.
- In the last act of the game, she graduates from being the single most dangerous thing in Columbia to being the single most dangerous thing in the multiverse.
- In Burial at Sea, what she lets happen to that version of Comstock.
- And of course in Burial at Sea Part 2, what she lets happen to the city of Rapture.
- Blood Spattered Innocents:
- After shanking Daisy Fitzroy.
- And at the end of Burial At Sea.
- Brainy Brunette: Elizabeth is very intelligent, and extremely book-smart, growing up in a tower with nothing to do but read, practice whatever skills struck her fancy, and repeatedly attempt and fail to break out. However, being isolated in that tower with no other contact also means she is very inexperienced at actually interacting with people.
- Break the Cutie: The game is not kind to her, especially in the later levels. She starts out rather perky and somewhat childish, but gradually grows shell-shocked and steely.
- Symbolized by her losing her initial innocent Belle-like dress in favor of a more adult outfit, and along the way she gets a haircut, too.
- Brought Down to Normal: Her status as a living quantum superposition is undone when she returns to Rapture in Episode Two of Burial at Sea, due to entering a universe in which she has died. As further proof of this, her pinky is revealed to be restored.
- Can't Hold Her Liquor: In Burial At Sea Episode Two, Elizabeth gets drunk from a single drink, as opposed to Booker who can put down several before the effects kick in.
- Changing of the Guard: Episode Two of Burial at Sea features Elizabeth as the player character due to Comstock's death at the end of Episode One.
- Character Development: She starts off as a Wide-Eyed Idealist. She goes through many different changes throughout the story.
- Clothing Damage: Receives some over the course of the game.
- Composite Character: The art book states she's inspired by a number of Disney princesses, and boy, does it show.
- Specifically, she's Rapunzel sharing a body with Belle and later wearing part of Mary Poppins' outfit.
- This is lampshaded in Episode Two, where a bird lands on her finger and sings during a dream sequence.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Her Bad Future self eventually became Comstock's heir and declared war on all mankind in the entirety of the multiverse.
- Damsel out of Distress: Save for her capture in the Bad Future, Elizabeth is capable of taking care of herself when captured. The game also makes a point of indicating to the player that during battles, Elizabeth does not need protection.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has her moments, especially in Burial at Sea.
- Death Seeker: Elizabeth suffers a major case of Break the Cutie throughout the course of Infinite, eventually flat out telling Booker that she'd rather have him provide a Mercy Kill for her than go back to the tower.
- It gets progressively worse during Burial At Sea: Episode Two, to the extent that even Atlas' attempt to torture her for information fails when she taunts him that she's really Not Afraid to Die and that killing her would be doing her a favour. During her final confrontation with Atlas, she remains Defiant to the End despite knowing that she's walking to her death, jeering Atlas to simply get on with it.
- Deuteragonist: Infinite is just as much, if not more, Elizabeth's story than Booker's. Just about the only things keeping her from Protagonst status are 1) The Reveal about Booker's nature (IE he's Comstock) and 2) the fact that she's not the Player Character. (At least until the DLC.)
- The Dreaded: According to Booker, the residents of Columbia fear her, or at least fear what would happen should she escape confinement. For that matter, so does Booker.
Elizabeth: Booker... are you afraid of God?
Booker: No. But I'm afraid of you.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: She gives off this vibe sometimes, especially in Burial at Sea.
- Fallen Hero: Her Bad Future self.
- Fanservice Pack: Elizabeth is even more attractive◊ in Burial at Sea, judging by the amounts of fanart and screenshots.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The thimble she wears on her fingored pinky.
- Fashion Dissonance: The corset under her blouse which she exposes later in the game is of the wrong style for the era the rest of her first outfit accurately dates from. This is likely intentional given all the other intentional anachronisms in the game.
- Femme Fatale/Guile Hero: Elizabeth in Burial At Sea, with a dash of AntiHero for good measure. It even turns out her entire purpose in hiring Booker was to get him/Comstock killed.
- Fingore: She's missing most of her right pinky finger, which she has not had since she was an infant. Specifically, she loses it to a closing Tear when she's stolen away by Comstock — as Anna DeWitt. Rosalind Lutece even theorizes that this may be why she's as powerful as she is, since a part of her exists in both her current and original timelines, and apparently "the universe doesn't like its peas mixed with its porridge".
- Flower Motif: Red roses.
- Friendless Background: She's been locked away her entire life with no one for companionship save for Songbird.
- Friend to All Children: In Shantytown, there's an optional scene where she sings Will the Circle be Unbroken while kindly offering an orange to a small boy who was hiding under the stairs. In addition, when Daisy Fitzroy attempts to kill Fink's son, Elizabeth fatally stabs her with a pair of scissors.
- Geeky Turn-On: In Burial at Sea, invokes this in the art and music stores to distract the owners long enough to allow Booker to sneak into the offices and look for the invitation mask.
- Generation Xerox & In the Blood: In a possible future, Elizabeth finally snapped under pressure and was indoctrinated into Columbia's ideas. Booker gets to witness her prolonging Comstock's crusade by leading the New York assault.
"It wasn't the torture that broke me. It wasn't the indoctrination. It was time. Time rots everything, Booker. Even hope."
- In between Episodes One & Two of Burial at Sea, Elizabeth engineers the capture of a Little Sister named Sally by Atlas' crew, all to entrap Booker/Comstock. According to Rosalind and Robert, Elizabeth felt remorse for abandoning the girl once the deed was done; she requested the scientists' help to steal back Sally (similar to how the Luteces helped Comstock exile himself to Rapture as penance for killing the Anna of his universe). Through her travels through space and time, Elizabeth learns that she is indirectly responsible for the creation of Songbird, the Big Daddies, and numerous plasmids and vigors being peddled by Suchong and Fink. She wonders if she's bound by fate to continue Comstock's violence, but is dissuaded by 'Head' or 'Ghost' Booker on the radio, who proposes that Elizabeth is following in his footsteps by rescuing a child — 'settling the debt.'
- Girl in the Tower: Well, not exactly a tower, more like a very tower-like science facility inside of a tall statue, but since it's based in a literal flying city it's not like she can easily escape. The development team even refers to her as a girl "trapped in her tower."
- Go Out with a Smile: In Episode Two of Burial at Sea, upon regaining her memory after Atlas administered the deathblow to her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Elizabeth and her counterparts choose to drown Booker to eliminate all the versions of him that would become Comstock, despite knowing that this would also erase them. After it's done, all but the main Elizabeth is shown to wink out of existence before the Fade to Black, leaving it ambiguous about her fate.
- Burial At Sea suggests that the older Elizabeth in Rapture is the same as from the main game and despite this, somehow continued to exist and retain her memory of the events of Infinite. Additionally, in Episode Two she sets in motion the events that would lead to BioShock 1, knowing that she would die but the Little Sisters would be freed.
- Hotter and Sexier/Older and Wiser: Elizabeth's Xenafication in Burial At Sea is justified in that, in addition to looking the part of the Femme Fatale, Elizabeth spent her time in Rapture learning much more than lockpicking.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She's around 5'6" tall. Booker is 6'1" tall. (Note: trope In Name Only; both she and Booker are above average height for today, much less 1912.)
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: When with Booker, she can pick locks if he has enough lockpicks for her, break codes pointing to hidden stashes, scrounge up ammunition, health packs, money, and Salts, and open tears that she is asked to open. She can also withstand point-blank RPG friendly fire without blinking an eye.
- Idle Animation: The developers gave her a lot of these to make her more life-like. She examines furniture, inspects merchandise, looks inside pipes, reads books, leans against walls, sits on benches, sidles up to people to overhear their conversations... trying to find every one of her behaviors is almost a game in itself.
- In addition to the above, there are also a number of occasions where, if Booker guides her to certain locations, complicated interactions with NPCs will result, such as the "medicine ball incident" on the beach.
- Important Haircut: Cuts off her ponytail after she kills Daisy.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Considering the range of emotions she needs to exhibit, her big, sky-blue eyes are one of the most important aspects of her design. They serve as a form of visual shorthand. Her baby-self is instantly recognizable as Elizabeth by her distinctive eyes, despite lacking every single other distinguishing feature, and the scene being Deliberately Monochrome.
- Living MacGuffin/MacGuffin Girl: As the Arc Words say, "Bring Us The Girl and Wipe Away The Debt."
- The Load: inverted. One of the selling points of the game is that Elizabeth can take care of herself, and she can. Enemies solely focus solely on (IE, shoot at) Booker, and she's Friendly Fire Proof for emergencies. In addition, she: throws you ammo, health and mana pickups if you're running low on those things; highlights Elite Mooks with a special cursor; alters the battlefield with Tears to give you additional strategic advantage; and resuscitates you if you die. There's only one section near the end where you're deprived of her company, and you will quickly notice how much you have come to rely on her for help.
- Luke, You Are My Father: She's actually Booker's long-lost daughter, Anna.
- Master of Unlocking: One of the skills she's picked up in the tower is lockpicking. As long as she has a hairpin, or a supply of lockpicks, she can bypass most locks.
- Men Act, Women Are: Enforced by the in-game mechanic: Earlier builds had her able to use weapons and vigors, but this likely proved too expensive to be feasible in the long-term. In the final build, Elizabeth is in more of an assistant role. In-Story, however, this trope is lampshaded and gradually subverted, especially in the game's final act.
- Mercy Kill: She's forced to do this to Songbird by drowning it outside Rapture.
- At one point, she heavily implies that she wants Booker to do this to her if she is captured again.
- Mundane Utility: After gaining complete access to her powers she teleports several feet instead of climbing a ladder.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- After she kills Daisy.
- Her Bad Future self also undergoes this. By the time that happens, however, she could no longer stop Columbia from destroying New York and the world.
- Her initial shown motivation for returning to Rapture in Burial at Sea: Episode Two.
- Mysterious Waif:
Booker: They won't stop until they have you.
Elizabeth: Why?! What did I do to them?
Booker: You frighten them.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Burial at Sea: Episode One reveals she inadvertently caused the death of her younger self (Anna) by preventing the kidnapping from taking place. Not only that, she uses another girl, Sally, as bait to lure Comstock (who by this time has locked himself away in Rapture) back out into the open; as a consequence, Sally is turned into a Little Sister, and later carted away by Atlas to be mined for ADAM.
- In Episode 2, she is the cause of several events during the fall of Rapture, such as helping Atlas' army get back to Rapture, indirectly causing Suchong's death via Big Daddy and being the one who gave Jack's codephrase to Atlas in the first place. However, the latter is somewhat mitigated as it was part of a larger Thanatos Gambit to bring Jack to Rapture and ensure Atlas' eventual downfall.
- Nice Girl: Though she understandably gets mad at Booker a few times, because he keeps lying to her or acting in ways she finds morally repugnant.
- Non-Player Companion: To Booker.
- Note to Self: After Elizabeth is killed by a Big Daddy, she pops back into the Rapture universe to look for Sally, causing a paradox which both strips away Elizabeth's powers and obliterates her short-term memory. Anticipating this, "Booker" is planted into Elizabeth's brain to keep her on track.
- Of Corsets Sexy: After being forced to change into a new outfit, Elizabeth comes out wearing her corset outside her dress. While a corset is a period-appropriate piece of clothing (and Elizabeth is in fact wearing one beneath her first outfit), it would commonly be worn as underwear rather than outerwear in that era, suggesting that it is for a bit of light fanservice. Justified in the same scene, where Elizabeth notes that the hijacked airship (which used to ferry the now-deceased Lady Comstock) had nothing else available. Lady Comstock is depicted in the same outfit only with a proper shirt, so it can be assumed Elizabeth couldn't find it and/or just didn't bother.
- Older Than They Look: Due to her petite build, somewhat adolescent personality (from having grown up locked inside a tower her whole life), and the schoolgirl-like outfit she wears for the first half of the game, it's very easy to mistake Elizabeth for someone in her mid teens. She's actually about 20 years old. Indeed, your subjective impression of her age goes a long way towards whether you see her as a daughter figure, or as a potential romantic interest for Booker, which can really affect your impression of the ending revelations.
- The Omniscient/The Omnipresent: After her Power Limiter is destroyed, she dramatically increases in power and ability. She claims she can see "through every door" into an infinite number of alternate universes, and is able to guide Booker through his own flashbacks.
- Only One Name: Her last name is never mentioned, but it's assumed to be Comstock, given that she's his heir and all. In reality, it's DeWitt.
- Phlebotinum Rebel: Screw you, Comstock, and your megalomania!
- Physical God: She becomes this after the tower Siphon is destroyed.
- Portal Cut: How she lost her pinky finger.
- Power Glows: Near the end of the game, as the Siphon is destroyed, her eyes and hair begin to glow a dazzling white.
- Power Incontinence: Early in the game, a kinetoscope shows tears appearing all over the city, with the populace confused as to their origin. This is implied to be a result of Elizabeth creating them unknowingly prior to the Siphon being brought online.
- Power Limiter: Her tower is designed to siphon off most of her power. When she is removed from the tower, her power begins to grow and she gains further ability to manipulate tears. Once it's destroyed at the end of the game, she reaches godlike levels.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Can get these if she uses her powers too much, though this only appears in the first gameplay demo. However, use of her power can cause others to have nosebleeds when her manipulation of Tears in reality re-aligns their background and hence their memories.
- Reality Warper: Has the power to manipulate space-time "Tears" to do anything from manipulating objects to Time Travel.
- Red Baron: "The Lamb of Columbia" as she is referred to inside the city. Ironically, this leads to a Stealth Pun, as she appears to be the Columbia Alternate Self of Eleanor Lamb.
- Restraining Bolt: In the Bad Future Columbia, Comstock's scientists installed a device that would give her horrible shocks if she tried to use her Tear powers.
- Ret Gone: Her other selves — well, possibly except for the player's Elizabeth — cease to exist once they help Booker kill himself in the dimensions where he took the baptism and became Comstock. However, Elizabeth still exists, but now as the normal child Anna DeWitt, since Comstock is now gone and thus never abducted her or exposed her to dimensional travel in the first place.
- Burial At Sea suggest that the version of Elizabeth from the main game survived and retains her memory of the events of Infinite.
- Sheathe Your Sword: In Episode 2 of Burial at Sea, this is Elizabeth's rationale for using the tranquilizer bolts on splicers. Elizabeth (and, by extension, the figment of Booker on her radio) worries that she is treading the same path her father did.
- Social Engineering: Uses this to great effect in Burial At Sea, leading Booker to comment that she's a bit of a grifter. She acknowledges that she inherited her resourcefulness and ability to blend into a variety of roles from her father.
- The Scrounger: Searches anything useful for Booker, during and out of combat. She even calls it "scrounging".
- Shows Damage: Throughout the game, Elizabeth wears two fancy royal-blue dresses. Both of them get dirty and torn throughout the game. Elizabeth's hair and skin gets dirty during the game as well. And later in the game, after Elizabeth is kidnapped and experimented on, the bruises of the torture she endured are still visible, most notably a shiner under her left eye as seen in the photo above. And of course there is the Character Development scene where she cuts her long hair (off-screen) and wears a short hairstyle throughout the rest of the game.
- In Burial at Sea episode 1, Elizabeth begins showing scuffs and bruises after passing a certain point in the game. In episode 2, we don't see her face for much of it due taking on her point of view as the player character; therefore seeing the extent of her injuries in a mirror towards the end of the game is a bit of a shock.
- Averted in standard gameplay, where she can't take combat damage: she's immune to Friendly Fire, and the enemies focus exclusively on Booker. (The Founders' soldiers would of course want to avoid harming the Lamb of Columbia; why the Vox Populi show equal politeness to her isn't particularly addressed, though Fridge Logic can easily be applied.)
- Spirited Young Lady/Plucky Girl/The Pollyanna—>Determinator/Silk Hiding Steel: The trajectory of her Character Development.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Which explains why she gets mad if you hurt Songbird, even if she considers being captured by it to be a Fate Worse Than Death. (Content was Dummied Out that depicted their relationship as having a greater emphasis on Songbird as an abusive spouse.)
- Suddenly Always Knew That: Despite never seen handling a gun at all throughout either Infinite or Burial at Sea Episode 1, other than when throwing them to Booker, Elizabeth is an instant expert with every weapon she comes across in Episode 2.
- Super Empowering: It's implied in one of the logs that Elizabeth has her Reality Warper powers not because of an inherent trait, but because a part of her was trapped in another universe. Most likely her pinky finger. It's further implied that the Luteces are completely aware of how to make this happen. Vigors are manufactured from the constant flow of power cosmic being drained from her by the Siphon. Or not. See the trope page for Burial at Sea.
- In the Bad Future, Evil Overlord Elizabeth is able to impart some of her powers to her "children", the Boys of Silence and their minions. She probably does it by repeatedly merging them with alternate universe versions of themselves.
- Superpower Lottery: It's made very clear that Elizabeth is the most powerful thing in Columbia, if not the BioShock franchise in general. The only reason she can't just mop the floor with everything on her own is because there's a Power Limiter in place. Once that's removed, she becomes deific in power and capable of perceiving time "as it is", essentially omniscient.
- Take Up My Sword: The ending to Burial At Sea does it backwards, revealing that Elizabeth lured Jack to the city in Bioshock 1. Though Elizabeth herself is beaten to death by Atlas, Jack completes her mission of freeing the Little Sisters.
- Thanatos Gambit: In Episode Two of Burial at Sea, Elizabeth willingly sacrifices herself to trick Atlas into bringing Jack to Rapture, dying content in the knowledge that she'd brought about his eventual downfall and that Sally and all the other Little Sisters would finally be free.
- Took a Level in Badass: Elizabeth goes from being your non-action backup to knocking out Splicers and using guns in Episode Two. (Though it's up to the player to decide how deadly she should be; it's possible to complete Episode Two without Elizabeth killing anyone directly, though it can be difficult to complete without Elizabeth using Possession to get Big Daddys and turrets do the dirty work for her.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Elizabeth is much ruder to the Burial at Sea version of Booker than she was in the main campaign, because this Booker is actually an alternate version of Comstock, who had the Luteces scrub his memory and send him to Rapture rather than face the guilt of causing the death of Anna in his reality. Elizabeth realises this about herself in Episode Two: by using Sally as a means to manipulate Comstock and then leaving her to rot in Rapture when she was done, she unintentionally became no different than Comstock, who would also discard people who no longer were of use to him.
- True Blue Femininity/Purple Is Powerful: Elizabeth wears clothes that reflect the changes in her character throughout the story, ranging from blue and white dresses of varying maturity to a sexy but serious ensemble of purple, red and black in the last DLC.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Much like Ico, you'll end up worrying for her. Unlike Ico, she ends getting split up multiple times and, while fighting, there's no way she can ever be captured permanently. When it comes to the buildup of the Bad Future, this is effectively a Player Punch.
- This trope is used to ultimately heart-breaking effect in Burial at Sea.
- Vocal Evolution: Of the tied-into-character-development type. She actually runs an impressive gambit of wide-eyed innocence, to disturbed acceptance of the violence and death Booker leaves in his wake, to barely-tolerant frustration, to a more cold cynical outlook, to a retention of warm belief, to post Break the Cutie vindictive Tranquil Fury, to creepy monotone omnipotence on the levels of Dr. Manhattan. It's especially noticeable because her mode of speech is unusual to begin with, archaic in word choice and poetic in cadence.
- Vocal Dissonance: This does result in a bit of oddness in the later parts of the game, when she's become quieter and more ragged-sounding when she speaks. When Booker asks her to pick a lock, her responses are still in her chipper Cheerful Child tone.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: According to her Bad Future self, Elizabeth didn't turn evil because she believed in Comstock's cause; instead, because the Booker DeWitt of her timeline was killed before he could rescue her from the Songbird, the specialists managed to convince Elizabeth that "The False Shepherd" had abandoned her. It was this sense of betrayal, more than any the tortures that had been used to indoctrinate her, that left her accepting Comstock's mantle simply out of a desire to see the world burn.
- Women Are Delicate: In Burial At Sea Episode Two, Elizabeth can't take as many bullets as Booker can, and doesn't carry as much weapons; which is used as an in-game justification for Episode Two's stealth option. In Infinite and Episode One, however, she's indestructible. At least up until the gap between the two episodes...
- Xenafication: She gains this in Episode Two of Burial at Sea.
"Father" Zachary Hale Comstock AKA Booker DeWitt
"The Lord forgives everything, but I'm just a prophet... so I don't have to. Amen."
"And then, the Archangel showed a vision: a city, lighter than air. I asked her, "Why do you show this to me, archangel? I'm not a strong man. I'm not a righteous man. I am not a holy man." And she told me the most remarkable thing: "You're right, Prophet. But if grace is within the grasp of one such as you, how can anyone else not see it in themselves?""
The leader of the Founders, and an embodiment of their ultra-nationalist, racist, elitist, xenophobic, and hyper-religious beliefs. Comstock is known as "The Prophet", and has turned Columbia and its people into a living shrine to himself. He is obsessed with the concept of cleansing the soul to achieve rebirth, and wishes for Elizabeth to follow in his footsteps.
- Abusive Parent: He had his daughter Elizabeth locked up in a tower for her entire life. She didn't even know he was her father! ...Though technically, he's not.
- Aesop Amnesia: A rather literal example in the Burial at Sea DLC. An alternate version of Comstock accidentally caused the death of Anna during the kidnapping attempt and his overwhelming guilt led him to demand to be sent to Rapture, where Anna did not exist and where as "Booker" he would have no memory of what he did. Unfortunately, this led him to end up losing his (adopted) daughter the exact same way as Booker Prime.
- The Alcoholic: In both Comstock's quarters and the adjacent stateroom on the Hand of the Prophet, there is a fairly considerable amount of booze scattered around. Not terribly surprising, as while both he and Booker both spiraled into addiction after Wounded Knee, Booker eventually squared with his past. Comstock, who didn't, became a religious fanatic in order to justify his actions. Booker's reappearance might have reminded him, at least subconsciously, that he's a fraud and a murderer, and pushed him back Off The Wagon.
- Alternate Self:
- He seems to be this universe's version of Andrew Ryan, with an ideology similar to Sofia Lamb's. The big twist is that he's really this for Booker DeWitt.
- In Burial at Sea, it turns out the player character isn't an alternate version of Booker, but rather an alternate version of Comstock, who had the Luteces send him to Rapture to forget the awful things he had done.
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: He spearheaded the campaign that led to the creation of Columbia, a floating city, which is seven kinds of awesome. The fact he then turned it into a nightmarish, theocratic dictatorship is... somewhat less so.
- Answers to the Name of God: Comstock's last gasps ("It is finished") are traditionally attributed to Jesus' crucifixion in the Book of John.
- Armchair Military: What drove the wedge between Comstock and his top general, Cornelius Slate. In the Prophet's ongoing biography he emerges, somehow, as a warrior god who foiled the Boxer Rebellion and won the day at Wounded Knee. Slate remembered it slightly differently... Comstock wanted to have his cake and eat it, too, insisting on a falsified service record to replace his old one — the one he redacted when Booker "died" and the Prophet was born. Slate was unaware of this.
- As the Good Book Says: While he does not use many exact quotes, he does pepper his speech very frequently with allusions to The Bible. Most of the Voxophone memos of him the player can listen to sound like sermons, and given his position and the echo in the recording suggesting a very large enclosed space, they may very well be literally recordings of sermons he made.
- Badass: He was Booker after all, and Burial at Sea shows us that he hasn't forgotten how to kick ass.
- Becoming the Mask: Comstock works tirelessly to keep up his image as a religious leader. He boasts about Wounded Knee, even though Slate and his comrades knew him as DeWitt. He really was at Wounded Knee, but he would rather mark them as traitors than reveal his original identity as Booker. A Voxophone found in the Clash in the Clouds DLC has Rosalind say this of him explicitly.
Rosalind: But at some point, the man became incapable of distinguishing his performance from his person.
- When he comes to Rapture and becomes Booker once more to escape the guilt of Elizabeth's death in Burial at Sea, he loses all traces of his "Comstock" persona, so that the ending once more comes as a shock.
- Believing Their Own Lies: Besides the above quote about distinguishing his performance from his person, it's telling that even after it's revealed that his prophetic abilities are mostly derived from the Luteces' machine, he refers to his visions as having come from an "Archangel".
- Big Bad: Undoubtedly — he's responsible for Columbia existing, and why it turned out the way it did.
- Beard of Evil: Cleverly, it keeps the player from noticing that his face is very similar to Booker's. It was way easier to tell in his previous incarnation, where he didn't have the beard and only sported slicked back hair.
- Boomerang Bigot / You Are What You Hate: Possibly. An audio log implies that he is part-Sioux. Though Comstock vigorously denies this, he blandly remarks that he burned alive a good many "squaws" before his regiment finally accepted him.
- This is foreshadowing to his identity as an alternate universe Booker from an audio log found in Emporia of Preston E. Downs meeting of Booker and finding out that he speaks Sioux and one from Slate referring to Booker as "the White Injun".
- Cast as a Mask: Doesn't share Booker's voice actor, despite being the same person as him. Flipped on its head in Burial at Sea - still being younger and unaware of his past, he's voiced by Troy Baker again.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Just ask the Luteces; he had both of them killed because they knew the truth about Elizabeth. And killed his wife when she threatened to go public with that same truth.
- Crusading Widower: Except he killed his wife himself.
- Cutscene Boss: Booker wrenches him away from Elizabeth, strangles him, hits his head against the baptismal font, and then drowns him in the water, all the while in a state of abject and frothing rage.
- Dark Lord on Life Support: It's revealed fairly early on that Comstock has been diagnosed with cancer, and does not expect to live to see Columbia conquer "the Sodom Below" — hence the reason why he needs Elizabeth to take up his mantle. Later entries reveal that he is also sterile and prematurely aged, all three conditions being a side-effect of his overexposure to the Luteces' machine.
- Dark Messiah: By naming his political party the "Founders", Comstock established a clear connection between himself and the founding fathers. His chicanery was convincing enough for Congress to loan him the money for Columbia's construction. His ego spiraling out of control, Comstock decided that the U.S. didn't deserve him and anointed Columbia as the "true" America; hence the grandiose flag sporting a single star.
- Deader Than Dead: To prevent the bad future from occurring, it would require removing the possibility that it could ever occur, and thus require the death of Comstock at the very moment he is born. As Comstock is a new identity created by Booker accepting his baptism, eliminating Comstock requires that Booker must die at that very moment. The Stinger implies, though, that only Comstock was essentially excised from the possible Bookers.
- It is confirmed in Burial at Sea that Rapture's Comstock is the last one; due to Elizabeth's interference in 1893, Comstock changed his name back to DeWitt to pick up where he left off, drowning in alcohol and IOUs. Although he manages to give Elizabeth the slip, she tracks him down to Rapture and finishes him.
- Death by Irony: Comstock's beginning as a villain was a baptism, and he forced all newcomers to Columbia to be baptized as a sign of loyalty to him. Fittingly, Booker drowns him in a baptismal font.
- Dramatic Wind: Pretty much every statue of him in the game is carved to make his beard be blowing noticeably to his right.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Baptism. Baptism is supposed to metaphorically make you into a new person, so the sins you have committed don't apply to you anymore. Comstock adopted a new identity after his baptism and came away believing that it had retroactively justified his sins into not sins, and therefore they were actually admirable deeds. He would go on to take his initial sins to horrifying lengths following this line of thinking.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Played With in regards to Lady Comstock. In his rise to power, Comstock genuinely loved Lady Comstock and she meant a whole bunch to him. But as he become more megalomaniacal and monstrous, Lady Comstock couldn't take it anymore and was about to tell the truth about Elizabeth. Comstock then subsequently murdered Lady Comstock in a fit of panic.
- His relationship with Elizabeth is a subversion. He claims that everything he does to and for her is for love, but it all falls flat. And then there's getting into details to what he does to her in the Bad Future...
- In Burial at Sea he does seem genuinely concerned for Sally, a little orphan he adopted. He tortured Suchong for fifteen hours to find her and objects to a plan to flush her out by potentially burning her. However, when she refuses to come with him, he shows a darker side.
- Evil Old Folks: The one time Booker and Elizabeth meet him face-to-face, he's quite polite and talks to Elizabeth like a kindly old grandfather. Subverted in that Comstock is actually pushing forty. His wizened appearance is the result of abusing dimensional travel.
- Evil Overlord: Of Columbia.
- Evil Twin: Of Booker — well, a twin in (almost) the same sense as Rosalind and Robert.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Whenever he addresses you using the city's speakers, his voice has this effect on top of Voice of the Legion.
- Fallen Hero: Booker DeWitt with a baptism who no longer accepted the responsibility of his actions while basically considering himself A Prophet Am I.
- Faux Affably Evil: He behaves like a calm, loving and caring father-figure. In truth, he's an utterly ruthless megalomaniac with one hell of a god complex. He even says that forgiveness is the Lord's duty, and therefore, he doesn't have to forgive anyone, which means that he's free to kill anyone who has "wronged" him.
- Foreshadowing: Much of it at the start, beginning with pointing out the initials on Booker's hand to mark him as the "False Shepherd", even knowing about Booker's past along with his supposed "deal". It's because he is Booker and he knows everything about him, including that he would be coming to Columbia sooner or later to reclaim his daughter.
- The Fundamentalist: Both religiously and nationalistically.
Comstock: Go back to the Sodom from whence you came!
- Four Is Death: The Founders are evangelists for the Big Three: Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson—or rather macho, deified versions that look and sound nothing like the originals. Comstock himself, or sometimes the angel Columbia, tops the pantheon.
- A God Am I: Well, he at least claims himself to be just be following than will of God, but he's not very humble in general past that...
- Gone Horribly Right: He considers his true "birth" to have been his Baptism after Wounded Knee. To wit, this is to say he wanted to be granted forgiveness from the things that he did previously. It was supposed to make him understand that he had done wrong and could become better for it, but instead he became even worse and was convinced that he could do no wrong.
- Heel-Faith Turn: He claims that his discovery of faith saved his soul. In reality, it only provided him with the belief that he could do no wrong, which leads to a lot of suffering.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Whatever moves Booker makes against Comstock, Comstock will still remain alive in at least one of his "tears" in the universes; the Luteces have already tried to enlist Booker numerous times to end the cycle — 122 times, to be exact, judging by Robert Lutece's coin-flip tally. Booker is content to go back in time and strangle Comstock in his crib if necessary. Bad news for him: Elizabeth and her alternates gang up on Booker and drown him to prevent him from ever becoming the Prophet.
- In Burial at Sea, Elizabeth exposes "Booker" as yet another Comstock. This version killed the Elizabeth of his universe by mistake, undoing all of his plans and ruining his self-image as a changed man. As penance, he fled to Rapture and retook the name of "Booker DeWitt", which spared him from the erasure.
- Hypocrite: "The Lord forgives everything, but I'm just a prophet... so I don't have to."
- Also the fact that he accepts a baptism and changes his name and identity to try to free himself from the guilt of what he did at Wounded Knee, but he takes credit FOR THE VERY SAME DEEDS.
- I Hate Past Me: Both Comstock and Booker despise each other. Whereas Booker grows to despise Comstock over the course of the game, Comstock has held Booker in hostility long before he arrives in Columbia. They're both the same person, with different reasons to hate their shared past. Besides Never My Fault, Becoming the Mask, and any related tropes, it may be his defining trait- The entire game happens because he doesn't want to be Booker.
- Ignored Epiphany: It's implied he started using his religious faith as a shield against his guilt, rather than being forced to deal with it like our Booker — leading him to conclude the Indian Wars were justified and that America is still being undermined by undesirables.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How he meets his end at the drill of a Big Daddy in Burial at Sea.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex / I Just Want to Be You: It's hinted that for all his dismissive comments about Booker, he's deeply envious of Booker's ability to come to terms with their past, as well as have a child that he cannot due to his sterility. Lampshaded by the Luteces in Burial At Sea, who imply that his decision to steal Elizabeth and try the same with Sally is simply transference for his self-loathing and desire to be someone else.
- It's All About Me: The way his religion works. It's all a giant coping mechanism to keep himself from feeling guilt for his past. While forgiveness in Christian traditions typically means "Sin no more," inspiring people to do better, Comstock's religion tells him "You cannot sin."
- Knight Templar: He sincerely believes in what he does as the will of a perfect and all-forgiving God, even knowing how harsh his actions often are.
Comstock: Is it not cruel to banish one's children from a perfect garden? Is it not cruel to drown your flock under an ocean of water? Cruelty can be instructive, and what is Columbia but a schoolhouse of the Lord?
- Large Ham: Though not always, he does occasionally chew the scenery, particularly in some of his Voxophone recordings and in the later half of the game.
- Meaningful Name:
- Zachary is a shortened and Americanized pronunciation of the Hebrew name Zechariah, meaning "The Lord has remembered" in English. It is the name of two biblical figures: the priest Zechariah ben Jehoiada, and the prophet Zechariah.
- He shares his surname Comstock with a number of 19th century U.S. politicians and judges. One of the more noteworthy associations is with moral crusader Anthony Comstock, who, in his position as postmaster general, introduced stringent obscenity laws and prosecuted violators with such zeal (personally crediting himself with driving 15 artists/authors to suicide) that his name is synonymous with heavy-handed censorship laws.
- Hale is a name which is believed to have originated from either the Old English word halh, which refers to a nook or hollow where people may find shelter, or the Saxon term haelaeh, which refers to qualities of heroism such as courage or strength.
- Messianic Archetype: Comstock wields this trope like a bludgeon in Columbia; half the population are convinced that he's a prophet, and that Elizabeth is his divinely ordained successor.
- Misery Builds Character:
- His plan for molding Elizabeth into an Apocalypse Maiden includes Cold-Blooded Torture and destroying any hope she may have of escaping Columbia.
- Comstock escaping the guilt and misery of his past lead him to becoming who he is, as opposed to Booker.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Lady Comstock thought he was having an affair with Rosalind Lutece. He wasn't, of course, but in her defense that sounds far more plausible than "Lutece helped me buy this baby from an alternate universe version of myself."
- Never My Fault: Comstock has severe trouble facing his own guilt, to the point that this is arguably his most defining trait. He only exists because he's a version of Booker that accepted baptism and created a new identity to bury his guilt over Wounded Knee. Driving the point home further, Burial at Sea features an alternate Comstock who accidentally killed Elizabeth when he tried to take her from her own world, and then had the Luteces move him to another world so that he could escape his guilt over that, too.
Rosalind Lutece: Comstock was never one to own up to his errors, was he, brother?
Robert Lutece: Never comfortable with the choices he made...
Rosalind: Always seeking someone else's life to claim as his own...
- Non-Action Big Bad: Despite his vast propaganda toward militarism, the most violent thing he does himself personally is grab Elizabeth's right arm and demand Booker tell her why she's missing digits from her pinky. After that, Booker smashes his head, strangles, and drowns him with ease. Of course, he's prematurely aged and terminally ill, so that's about all he could be expected to do.
- Not So Different: From Daisy Fitzroy or Booker DeWitt. All brutally dedicated to achieving their goals, whatever lies they have to tell or means they have to resort to. There is a reason for that. This is extremely emphasized in the first Burial at Sea episode: When he's left without his city and his resources, he's so similar to Booker that it's hard to tell the difference but for a few key differences in perspective.
- Omnicidal Maniac: He plans for Elizabeth to destroy human civilization on the surface world as his version of the final judgment.
- Orcus on His Throne: Comstock rarely attends to matters directly, preferring to let either his army or the Songbird deal with you; the only time he ever confronts you in person, it's to command a suicide bomber to destroy the airship you're riding. Of course, given the poor state of his health, this is justified.
- Pet the Dog: In Burial at Sea he is quite protective of Sally, a simple orphan he adopted. He fights through a small army of splicers to reach her and objects to Elizabeth's plan to try to force her into the open with extreme heat. How valid that is, and how much this redeems him, are subject to debate.
- Phony Psychic: His directives supposedly all come from the Archangel Columbia, including his plans for a dynasty to take over before the cancer claims him. This is actually the standard playbook of a tyrant, but he rationalizes it through scripture. He's actually been using the Luteces' machine to peer into other realities, claiming credit for any wondrous discoveries he finds.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Via Deliberate Values Dissonance, which makes some of his positions seem monstrous to a modern audience, though merely "extreme" by the standards of his contemporaries.
- Also it's debatable how genuine his racism is. His identity as Comstock certainly is racist, but Booker doesn't appear to be, at least from his interactions with people of different races. Booker may have deliberately chosen this character trait for his new identity to feed Columbia's sense of isolation, superiority, and victimization, to better present himself as a savior and protector. When he became the mask, however, his pretend racism may have shaded into the real thing.
- Right Wing Militia Fanatic: An early 20th century version of this and it may even be taken Up to Eleven since he believes America isn't American enough.
- Sanity Slippage: A constant among the various identities - his newfound nationalist zealotry apparently consumed his original self in the wake of his baptism, and the advanced age and cancerous side effects from his exposure to the Luteces' Tears pushed him further into senility. Even his Burial at Sea counterpart, still younger at the time of Elizabeth's death, went into an outright fugue state upon creating a new identity in Rapture, and only learned who he really was by the time of his death.
- Shadow Archetype: For Booker.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Elizabeth tries talking sense to "Final Comstock", but when diplomacy doesn't work out, she and the Luteces wind up chasing him to Rapture and executing him. Somewhat subverted in that Comstock begs for forgiveness by the end. But it's too little too late.
- Sinister Minister: Par excellence.
- That Man Is Dead: His whole life before his baptism, when he was Booker DeWitt.
- Time Master: He's Nostradamus with heavy artillery; a formidable foe, indeed.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: He goes farther than either Andrew Ryan or Sofia Lamb in trying to make his vision of Eden a reality, ultimately plotting to have his utopia destroy "the Sodom Below."
- Villain Protagonist: Of the first Burial At Sea DLC, though how much of a villain he is is unclear.
- Villain with Good Publicity: "Hero of Wounded Knee". See a description of that "battle" for why that term is not appropriate.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the last third of the game, his repeated failures at capturing Elizabeth/killing Booker slowly make him more unstable. When confronted in person on the Hand of the Prophet, the previously Faux Affably Evil Comstock ends up flipping out at both in rage.
- Visionary Villain: And an extremely charismatic one, too, able to secure funding to build a flying city on the basis of a few visions.
Comstock: "And then, the archangel showed a vision: a city, lighter than air. I asked her, "Why do you show this to me, archangel? I'm not a strong man. I'm not a righteous man. I am not a holy man." And she told me the most remarkable thing: "You're right, Prophet. But if grace is within the grasp of one such as you, how can anyone else not see it in themselves?"
- Voice of the Legion: Often addresses Booker through speakers that cause a deeper-pitched delayed echo of his voice. On the other hand, this could just be Booker's perception; his brain's way of telling him that Booker and Comstock are one and the same.
- White Man's Burden: He is a big believer in this, taken past the point of Unfortunate Implications and straight into rationalization of slavery, detesting Abraham Lincoln as emancipating blacks from their "rightful place". He sees the duty of the white people to rule over and shepherd all the others.
- He also says the trope name word for word in an audio log.
- You Killed My Father: Daisy Fitzroy was accused of killing his wife. It is later revealed that Comstock had her killed because she wouldn't be willing to keep Elizabeth's secret. Fitzroy was a scullery maid in the wrong place at the wrong time he could use to deflect blame away from himself.
- Younger Than They Look: Comstock is the same age as Booker, but appears older due to the Luteces' experiments taking a toll on his health.
Lady A. Comstock
The late wife of Comstock who supposedly gave birth to Elizabeth a mere seven days after conception. She is worshipped as a martyr after her (supposed) assassination at the hands of Daisy Fitzroy.
Voiced by: Bill Lobley
The major leader of industry within Columbia. Though affable, his business practices are wildly unethical, to the point where he demands sixteen-hour work days and ruthlessly exploits the underclass of Columbia in the name of profit.
A musician by trade and brother of Jeremiah Fink. Albert was the one who introduced his brother to the use of Tears, after finding one in his studio.
- Bit Character: The one time anyone gets to see him is when he's dead in his Magical Melodies studio.
- Plagiarism: All of "his" music is stolen from bands he observed through his Tear — which is the reason why songs like "Tainted Love", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", and "Shiny Happy People", among others, can be heard throughout Columbia.
- Possibly subverted, in that the Bee-Sharps promotional image specifically says they're singing the "songs of tomorrow". Now, whether or not he's accrediting the artists whose music he's adapting is another question altogether.
- Posthumous Character: His only appearance is in the "Vox have guns" universe, where he's found lying on the floor of his studio after being killed.
The relentless mechanical guardian of Elizabeth. He resembles a cross between a dragon and a giant bird, and seems hell-bent on preventing Elizabeth from escaping Columbia.
- Achilles' Heel: For all his impressive strength and resilience, Songbird's body was not designed to cope with constant water pressure; after diving into Battleship Bay in an attempt to pursue and kill Booker, the pressure at less than thirty feet is enough to actually fracture one of its eyes and force it to retreat. In the finale, Elizabeth takes advantage of this weakness by teleporting the Songbird, Booker and herself to Rapture — ensuring that Songbird arrives at the bottom of the ocean.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Songbird's final moments are an unexpectedly peaceful and somber affair, with Elizabeth comforting him and Songbird reaching out to her before he calms and finally breaks down.
- Androcles' Lion/The Power of Love: Episode Two of Burial at Sea reveals that all attempts to imprint Songbird to Elizabeth using pheromones, hypnosis, mental conditioning, etc, were colossal failures. Ironically, the solution came about from a simple act of kindness from the young Elizabeth, who took pity on an injured Songbird and reattached his loose breathing tube, leading Songbird to develop Undying Loyalty to her.
- Disco Tech: He is activated by a series of notes that he can hear across Columbia. Playing the notes on a special set of pipes will summon him to the location.
- The Dragon: Elizabeth even refers to him as Comstock's pet.
- The Dreaded: You'll probably come to fear him anytime he shows up, due to how absurdly large he is, the way he tends to tear apart whatever structure you're in, and the fact that you can't harm him in any way.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted, Songbird's cries are very high pitched, like his namesake.
- Expy: Of a sort to the Big Daddies of Rapture, with his need to protect Elizabeth, an alternate Little Sister. His eye color change is even identical. In terms of obsession and because of his mysterious past and transformation, he is similar to Subject Delta, aka, Johnny Topside.
- Face Death with Dignity: Implied due to his eyes turning green.
- Feathered Fiend: Of the Steam Punk variety.
- Creepy Crows: Sort of, has a raven motif going on along with the Songbird one.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Such a lovely name for such a terrifying beast.
- Giant Flyer: Essentially a Big Daddy with wings and a bird-themed helmet rather than a diving bell. It's remarkably agile for its size and the fact it was apparently built in the late 1890s. Episode Two of Burial at Sea reveals that this is because Songbird is actually a fusion of technology from 1890s Columbia and 1950s Rapture, created in conjunction with the Big Daddies.
- Heel-Face Turn: He becomes your ally once you've acquired a MacGuffin from an alternate future Elizabeth to allow present day Elizabeth the ability to control him. He is incredibly useful in taking down those Vox airships that descend on you at that point.
- Hero Killer: The crux of Bad Future Elizabeth's message to Booker is that every iteration of him that confronts the Songbird in pursuit of Elizabeth dies in the process. In order to avoid this fate, she hands him a note for the younger Elizabeth to decode, which tells her how to control the Songbird.
- Implacable Man: You don't fight him so much as inconvenience him so you can run away some more... and given that he can destroy battleship-sized zeppelins and entire floating islands in seconds, you really can't inconvenience him much.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Inspired one about him.
Songbird, Songbird, see him fly
Drop the children from the sky
When the young ones misbehave
Escorts children to their grave
Never back-talk, never lie
Or he'll drop you from the sky
- Leitmotif: Both this song and a short whistling tune which signals his arrival. It's actually the notes C-A-G-E played in sequence, and someone who plays it can control him.
- Overprotective Dad: How he comes off in the final product due to his role in raising young Elizabeth, fittingly for a Big Daddy. Expy. Lampshaded by Rosalind Lutece in the DLC:
After all one might observe a baby chimpanzee to accept a wire replica for its mother. But I did not expect the brute to be capable of forming an attachment in return. Perhaps it [the Songbird] could prove to be a better father than the two she has known.
- Person of Mass Destruction: His very first appearance involves him ripping the Monument Island statue almost in half in his attempts to retrieve Elizabeth and destroy the intruder Booker; further appearances show that he's more than capable of knocking airships out of the sky and tearing the roofs off of buildings with his bare hands. During the finale, he not only destroys Vox Populi airships and zeppelins with ease, but obliterates what little remains of Monument Island, taking the Siphon along with it.
- Reality Ensues: Dies when Elizabeth transports herself, Booker, and him to Rapture. Unlike the Big Daddies, he isn't built for high pressure, so the undersea pressure crushes him.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Like the Big Daddies of Rapture, his eyes change color to indicate his mood: green means he's friendly, orange means he's neutral, and red means he's aggressive.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Elizabeth, explicitly meant to have undertones of an abusive relationship.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: He immediately grows suspicious when Booker enters Elizabeth's tower, and quickly degenerates into tearing the place apart, along with trying to kill Booker every time the two meet.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Has been programmed to kill anyone who tries to help Elizabeth escape from him. Even if he reclaims her, he'll continue attacking in rage unless she claims responsibility herself and apologizes.
- Yandere: What, the obsession and tendency for murderous rages didn't tip you off?
- Summon Bigger Fish/Eleventh Hour Superpower: Booker gains control of the Songbird for air strikes in the end of the game using a whistle, until the whistle is damaged by the power surge from the Siphon being destroyed.
- The Unfought: Despite all of the foreshadowing and build-up, you never end up in a boss battle against Songbird. Instead, he joins your side for a battle against an army of enemy Zeppelins. In fact, it's stated that Booker will always fall to Songbird, and only succeeds when an Elizabeth from the future has him pass Songbird's control song over to her past self.
- The Unreveal: We vaguely learn how he was made, and that he was probably once human, but we never learn exactly who — or what — he was. He is by far the most mysterious entity in the game.
- Was Once a Man: One of Fink's Voxophone recordings reveals he is a cyborg. Given his sheer size, it must have taken a lot of augmentation.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Water, specifically water pressure. When he dives into Battleship Bay after Booker, what little water pressure there is causes his glass eye to crack. So you can imagine what happens when Elizabeth opens a Tear leading to Rapture...
A Columbian politician, he was originally a major character. He was removed later in production.
"There's already a fight, DeWitt. Only question is, whose side are you on?"
Voiced by: Kimberly D. Brooks
"When you forced deep underground, well — you see things from the bottom up. And down at the bottom of the city, I saw a fire burning. A fire's got heat aplenty, but it ain't got no mouth. Daisy...now, she got herself a mouth big enough for all the fires in Columbia."
The face of the Vox Populi, working to free Columbia from the iron fist of the Founders so it can be seized by the iron fist of Daisy Fitzroy instead. Originally a hapless servant girl, she went on the run for the murder of Lady Comstock, which radicalized her. Daisy is highly intelligent and resourceful, with once-noble intentions that have been worn down over several years of fruitless fighting into an all-consuming thirst for violence. She returns in Burial At Sea
where we get brief glimpses into her deeper motivations
"I served two-score years of soldiering. And every heathen land I've known is less peopled for my passing. I hated no special enemy. Until now."
"Veterans! You shed your hearts' blood for Columbia, lost limb and viscera in the godless Orient! Comstock did nothing! And yet — look up! Whose image squats above you, even now? At every angle an insult! If the Prophet would make a painted whore of our past, what fresh rape does our future hold? Let us now make our stand, and fill yonder hall with true Heroes!"
A former high-ranking military leader who rebelled against Comstock after the latter re-wrote the history books of Columbia to take credit for many of Slate's own achievements.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Both if you do or do not accept to Mercy Kill him.
- Anti-Villain: The poor guy just wanted some recognition for his regiment for what they did instead of Comstock stealing all of the credit.
- Badass: He survived being in the thick of the fighting during both Wounded Knee and the Boxer Rebellion. He also caused Comstock's forces quite a lot of trouble before being taken down.
- Bald of Awesome: Other than his impressive facial hair, he's got no hair on the top of his head. This makes his scarring (and apparent vigor mutations) more visible when you get the chance to Shoot the Dog.
- Berserk Button: He absolutely hates it when people talk about Comstock's "achievements", especially when he's around to hear it.
"It was SLATE who killed for his country at Wounded Knee! It was SLATE who stormed the gates of Peking! SLATE!!!"
- Comstock being heralded as the "Hero of Wounded Knee", when he wasn't even there. At least, he didn't fight at Wounded Knee as Comstock, but as Booker DeWitt. It's implied that Slate knows they are the same person, but considers Booker to be the real one.
- The Cassandra: Shades of this, as he spends the entire museum segment complaining about things we only understand later. Including his insistence that if Comstock plans to turn people into "tin soldiers"... which, based on the inmates in Patriot masks in the asylum, may not be hat far off the mark.
- Cutscene Boss: He powers himself up with Shock Jockey and it looks like he's going to be an actual boss fight, but he just ends up tossing down a few pre-scripted lightning traps before summoning more men to fight you and then running away. By the time you catch up to him, he's too exhausted to fight and wants Booker to Mercy Kill him.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Comstock glorified Wounded Knee and the battles of the Columbian military as his own accomplishments, without so much as mentioning Slate's involvement or the sacrifices made by the men under his command. When Slate called Comstock out on this, he was removed from command and publicly disgraced.
- Enemy Mine: With Daisy Fitzroy.
- Eyepatch of Power: Lost an eye during the Boxer Rebellion.
- Fallen Hero: He eventually stops caring about anything but a soldier's death for himself and his men, killing anyone (soldier or otherwise) who crosses his path in hopes of provoking a lethal enough response.
"Tin soldiers don't fight wars... MEN DO!"
- Fate Worse Than Death: If he's spared in the Hall of Heroes, he's captured by Comstock's men and later found in one of Fink's interrogation cells, evidently mentally broken by torture or lobotomized.
- A Father to His Men: His men love him, and part of the reason he rebelled is because Comstock took the credit for his men's actions, not even acknowledging the loss of his men in Beijing.
- A Good Way to Die/Death Seeker: Wishes to die "like a soldier".
- I Die Free: Knowing what would become of him if he were to fall into Comstock's hands, he'd rather die by Booker's.
- Honor Before Reason/Sanity Slippage
- In Love with Your Carnage: He goads Booker by expressing admiration for his actions at Wounded Knee, as part of his gambit to have Booker kill him.
- Large Ham
"YOU'RE A TIN MAN, BOOKER! A TIN MAAAAN!"
- Mercy Kill: When you kill him after taking the Shock Jockey vigor, Elizabeth is initially horrified but she concedes that this was probably the best for him. If you don't kill him, you can find him in Fink Manufacturing, quiet and broken by the Founders. If you kill him then, Elizabeth notes it's what he wanted.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Slate is only affiliated with the Vox Populi simply because he despises Comstock and otherwise has no real interest in their ideals.
- Patriotic Fervor: He and his men consider themselves true patriots, having fought bravely for America and later Columbia. That said, they would rather die with honor at Booker's hands rather than put up with Comstock's betrayal, since this would allow them to die fighting as soldiers.
- Pet the Dog: A Voxophone from a female soldier under his command talks of how he also commanded her father. Slate recognizes her, informs her that her dad always wanted a son, and tells her that he hopes her father isn't stupid enough to value her any less for being a daughter.
- Shock and Awe: He possesses the Shock Jockey Vigor, which is the main reason why Booker pursues him.
- Suicide by Cop: He wants Booker to kill him and his followers because he considers Booker to be the real hero and suspects that being caught by Comstock is a far worse fate.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He wants Booker to kill him and his followers, just to spite Comstock. It's subtly implied that he knows that they are the same person, but considers Booker to be the real one instead of Comstock.
"They haven't changed you, Booker... Not... one... bit..."
- Unperson: The Prophet's biographers erased all of Slate's military achievements and appropriated them as his own.
A Chinese gun manufacturer who has secretly agreed to supply guns to the Vox Populi.
- Alternate Universe: After discovering that the original version of Chen Lin has died in Founder custody, Booker and Elizabeth attempt to get around this by "borrowing" another version of him from a different universe, assuming this trope is in play. It doesn't end well.
- Butt Monkey: No matter what version of him Booker and Elizabeth encounter, he is never afforded much of a happy ending.
- The first is arrested by the Founders and is revealed to have been tortured to death.
- The second was driven insane by "reconciliation sickness": contradictory memories about two different versions of his life. Worse still, his gunmaking tools, the only things that might have kept him stable, have been seized by the Founders.
- The third version of Lin and his wife are killed during the Vox Populi uprising. It's not even clear who did it.
- Came Back Wrong: "Reconciliation" or "Tear sickness" drives him insane and delusional after a living and a dead version of him are merged.
- Happily Married: One of the few constants throughout his alternate versions is that Chen Lin is married, and his wife whichever one he marries genuinely cares for him.
- Living Macguffin: He is a gunsmith whom Daisy sends Booker after to secure weapons for the Vox in exchange for his airship back. The plot is very unkind to him. He (well, his death at least) also prompts Elizabeth to push the limits of her Reality Warper powers beyond what she grew comfortable with during her imprisonment.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage & Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: One version of Chen is married to a white woman who is the sister of Sansmark, Fink's head of security, which prevents him from being convicted for helping the Vox. However, others do seem to have a problem with this.
Street Preacher Ray
Street Preacher RayExactly what the name implies
- he's a preacher recruited off the streets of Finkton who uses his fire-and-brimstone sermons to proselytize over Columbia's radios for the cause of the Vox Populi.
Robert & Rosalind Lutece
Two mysterious twins who keep appearing before Booker in the most improbable of places.
- Alternate Self: They are confirmed to be alternate universe versions of each other.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Burial At Sea: Episode Two reveals that they manipulated the entire situation that lead to Elizabeth killing Daisy, believing this was the only way she'd have enough strength to bring down Comstock.
- A Shared Suffering: Implied at the end to be partially why Robert is more sympathetic to Booker's plight than Rosalind, as he experienced firsthand the painful physical and psychological trauma that comes with jumping between realities.
- The Atoner: Having given Comstock the technology to build his utopia and directly aided in the kidnapping of Anna DeWitt, the Luteces assist Booker and Elizabeth in undoing it. Robert in particular feels the most remorse about the whole ordeal; Rosalind was indifferent to the status quo, but Robert threatened to leave her if she didn't help. Though they remain emotionally detached throughout the game, they do mention that Booker's presence serves as a "hair shirt" to them.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Though they provide support at some key points, their answers to Booker's questions tend to be utterly useless. Justified by the fact that they're unstuck in time and by their beliefs about free will — from their perspective, there's no point in telling him anything, since they already know what will happen.
- Beware the Silly Ones: For the most part, the twins seem fairly lighthearted and comedic, despite the air of mystery about them. Then it turns out that they're complicit in Comstock's rise to power and a very nasty incidence of kidnapping; true, they're doing their best to make amends, but it's still quite jarring. For good measure, it's strongly implied that they are in the habit of murdering the less noticeable of Comstock's assassins before they can reach Booker — the first and most obvious instance being the lighthouse keeper found shot in the head.
- Big Good: A very, very bizarre version for the entire narrative. Thanks to their actions, Comstock is destroyed for good, ensuring their revenge, Jack manages to save the Little Sisters in Rapture in 1960, and, ultimately, both the hyper-nationalist Columbia and the hyper-capitalist Rapture are destroyed.
- Birds of a Feather: Taken to its most absurd conclusion.
- Born Lucky: Rosalind frequently bets against her brother, and loses nearly all of the time.
- Brother-Sister Incest/Incest Subtext/Twincest/Selfcest: It's not explicitly stated, but the tone of some of Rosalind's voxophone recordings can be somewhat...suggestive.
Rosalind: Brother, what Comstock failed to understand is that our contraption is a window not into prophecy, but probability. But, his money means the Lutece Field could become the Lutece Tear — a window between worlds. [earnestly] A window through which you and I... might finally be together.
Rosalind: You have been transfused, brother, into a new reality, but your body rejects the cognitive dissonance through confusion and hemorrhage. But we are together, and I will mend you. For what separates us now, but a single chromosome?
- You can explore the Luteces' house later in the game. There is only one bed.
- In Burial at Sea: Episode Two one of the audio logs reveals that Robert wants to have children. Rosalind has apparently put a lot of thought into returning to a version of Columbia where they can go back to being ordinary humans and potentially start a family together, but she's hesitant to give up all the knowledge and power they've obtained after becoming Physical Gods. It's implied that this is the reason that Robert decided to attempt to save Elizabeth and Booker, even threatening to leave Rosalind if she didn't participate in the plan.
- At one point, you see the Luteces dancing together.
- Bystander Syndrome/Not in This for Your Revolution: Of a sort. It's revealed that Rosalind originally agreed to work with Comstock for funds and his support for her theories. She couldn't care less for his plans for Columbia and "drowning in flames" the Sodom below; in fact, she privately considers his stint as a prophet an elaborate show. The only bright spot in her life was realizing she had an opposite-gender Alternate Self who was just as smart as she was, and also wanted to explore the possibilities of the Lutece Field. Once they are united in the same universe, Robert arrives with baby Anna, who is raised by Comstock as Elizabeth. Since they are among the very few who know Elizabeth's true origins, Comstock arranges to have them killed, which instead leaves them unstuck in time and space. Robert then decides to undo the entire chain of events leading to him kidnapping Anna for Comstock, forcing Rosalind to go along with him by threatening her with him leaving her reality if she refused.
- Catch Phrase: "X? Or Y?" Also, "[Blanks], [blank]ed, will [blank]."
- Chekhov's Gunman: Their research and exploration into alternate dimensions set the events of the game into motion.
- Chessmasters: They're more or less intangible in their current state. To accomplish Robert's goal of eliminating Comstock (and, later, helping Elizabeth to free the Little Sisters), the pair relies on intermediaries to carry out tasks for them. Sometimes this involves less carrot and a lot more stick.
- Cloudcuckoolander: They're very... out there.
- Coordinated Clothes: They wear nearly identical outfits.
- Creepy Good: They have no qualms about sacrificing the lives of others in pursuit of a bigger return.
- Creepy Twins: Especially when they're being unhelpful.
- Dead All Along: In a fashion. A Voxophone recording reveals that despite surviving their accident, albeit scattered in time and space, their original bodies did die and leave behind corpses for their funeral photographs to be taken.
- Deadpan Snarkers: Booker even calls them on it at a point late in the game.
- The Dividual: Of the Twindividual sub-type, and taken to the most extreme conclusion possible.
- Evil Brit: Averted: despite their accents causing them to stand out a mile in the ultra-American-esque Columbia and being more than a little creepy towards Booker, they really are the good guys.
- They remind one of the G-Man's transdimensional shenanigans... though they're not as creepy. They're also a considerably more human version of Dr. Manhattan given their relationship to quantum physics.
- Their role in the story is similar to Tenenbaum's from the first BioShock 1.
- Fashion Dissonance: It's not so obvious but their outfits in 1912 are nigh identical with the flashbacks in 1893, which would make their attire late-Victorian at best. This isn't helped by the fact that both Luteces were presumably killed years before the game takes place.
- The Fatalist: Rosalind, in contrast to Robert's eternal optimist.
- The Ferryman: DeWitt's story is bookended by the Luteces shepherding him to a lighthouse by boat: first to Columbia, and later to his execution at the hands of Elizabeth. This is how Booker perceives the trip between "doors" in the multiverse. Once Elizabeth lost her ability to open Tears, she was forced to charter the Luteces' "boat", as well.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Lampshaded. They concede that while it is indeed weird that they finish each other's sentences, it would be weirder if they didn't.
- For Science!: Their primary reason for randomly popping up to bug Booker when not helping him.
- Friendly Fire Proof: Parodied and Justified. As they are scattered in time and space, you can't hurt them, but if you try they will casually comment. "Missed"
- Infact they have many hilarious responses after that when trying to shoot them again and again. "you missed", "missed.."(exasperated tone), "missed again", "Four out of Five?" "Another miss..." "...aaaand a miss".
- Freak Lab Accident: Technically, it was sabotage intended to kill them and made to look like an accident, but the other particulars of the trope remain the same.
- Gender Bender: They're genderflipped Alternate Self versions of each other.
- Good Is Not Nice: They're the lead suspects in the torture and murder of the lighthouse keeper. He was probably killed to remove an obstacle from Booker's ascent to Columbia, while the implements could have extracted the passcode for the entrance bells.
- Great Gazoos: Before long, Booker just stops questioning how they keep tailing him, or the source of their reality-bending powers. Though they do have his interests at heart, they treat Booker rather like a toddler who needs constant supervision and scolding.
- Half-Identical Twins: There's a justified reason for that.
- Hot Scientist: Purposely done - their character designer based them on the ideals of commercial beauty at the time — Robert is an Arrow Collar man and Rosalind a Gibson Girl.
- Immune to Bullets: It's impossible to hit them at all. They just repeatedly tell you that you missed, even at point-blank range, or if you just try to hit them with your fists, and subtly make fun of you if you keep trying.
- The Handwave is justified because their being scattered across space and time allows them to experience a state of Quantum Immortality, so that from their point of view, the bullet will always miss them, no matter how improbable the actual odds are.
- Insufferable Genius: Both Luteces, but Rosalind especially. She didn't adjust her manners in the presence of Comstock or his wife, which probably shortened her lifespan.
- It's Up to You: In spite of their omniscience, they can't kill Comstock themselves for fear of polluting the multiverse even further. The best they can do is nudge Booker along, forking over vigors and keys when the plot demands it.
- Leitmotif: The song Lutece always leads to them. Like them, it's quirky, upbeat, surreal, somewhat at odds with everything else, and has an undercurrent of menace and the uncanny.
- Like an Old Married Couple: 90% of their dialogue is idle bickering with each other. Which really doesn't help with the implied Selfcest angle mentioned above.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: There are no fatal explosions in Rosalind's world, only happy accidents. In Burial at Sea she drolly comments on Elizabeth's choice to give up immortality and return to Rapture. "You're trading omniscience and croissants for death and mildew?"
- Mad Scientists: It's soon revealed they designed both the technology that keeps Columbia afloat and the first interdimension travel machine. They are also a bit nuts.
- Meaningful Name:
- Their last name comes from the French word for the Roman city that became Paris. In a way, Booker did take Elizabeth to Paris as a baby.
- "Rosalind" is the name of the heroine from As You Like It who, like her namesake in BioShock, has a male alter ego. It's actually a very obscure hint as to the true nature of the "twins", as a more initially obvious Shakespeare reference would surely have been to name her "Viola".
- Morality Chain: Apparently, even after Comstock's attempted murder, Rosalind was just fine with letting things stand, having gotten what she wanted, i.e. an eternity to study science with her brother-self. Robert, having seen the natural end of all the Comstock futures (and possibly feeling guilty over the initial abduction of Anna), isn't as copacetic, and actually threatens to leave Rosalind forever unless she helps him fix things. So she plays ball, even if she thinks the whole thing's stupid.
Robert: So you expect me to shoulder the burden?
Rosalind: No. But I do expect you to do all the rowing.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: Downplayed and inverted. Rosalind is the cold, intellectual one while Robert is the more emotional and the more morally concerned one, as he's the one that suggested they should fix what they caused.
- Mouth of Sauron: Robert willingly went along with Comstock's kidnapping plot and even acted as his emissary, greeting Booker in the traditional Columbian manner and promising that Father Comstock "has absolved" him of his sins. At the time, Comstock still resembled Booker in appearance and couldn't pitch the sale of Anna in-person.
- Mysterious Backer: The ones that hired Booker and put the whole game into motion.
- Narcissist: Given that they're technically alternate versions of each other, they take this to an uncomfortable level.
- Offscreen Teleportation: The two tend to pop in and out all over Columbia offering random choices to Booker and Elizabeth — none of which change the eventual outcome.
- The Omnipresent: They were scattered across space-time by their accident, gaining the ability to appear wherever they wished. The metaphysics can be studied for ages, which is a good thing, because they aren't going anywhere soon... Although the whole experience makes poor Robert's head spin ("Had to have had been?" "I don't think the syntax has been invented yet.")
- Opposites Attract: Despire being Birds of a Feather, there are subtle differences in their personalities; Rosalind is more serious, while Robert is more of a goofball. Not to mention that, as Rosalind puts it, where she sees King Lear, Robert sees only a blank page — she is a fatalist, while Robert is more optimistic.
- Other Me Annoys Me: Ultimately Averted: their frequent squabbles amount to nothing more than some friendly Sibling Rivalry to pass the time, and it's clear that they're actually very fond of each other. Really. Very.
- Physical God: A freak accident with Rosalind's dimension-bending machine made them able to bend the world to their liking, which explains how they repeatedly show up in random places doing strange things and how they can't be shot, even at point-blank range.
- The Power of Rock: Rosalind was able to cure Robert's reconciliation sickness with the help of music to calm his nerves.
- Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: Their combined research has allowed them to not only traverse alternate dimensions but also bend the laws of physics to their will, hence why Columbia manages to float at all. This also extends to surviving their own deaths, allowing them to exist across all time and space. Which would also explain why it's impossible to shoot them. The latter case is probably an instance of the quantum immortality thought experiment come true.
- Red Herring Shirt: These people turn out to have a lot more involvement in the plot than they initially let on.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Robert is the playful, optimistic, conscientious Red to Rosalind's stoical, fatalistic, and sometimes quite ruthless Blue.
- Though, notably, Rosalind has the general contentedness with their lot in life usually associated with the Red, while Robert's desire to see changes in their situation is more in line with the Blue way of thinking.
- Schr÷dinger's Cat: They keep popping up throughout the story. It's a side effect of dying when Comstock had Jeremiah Fink sabotage one of their machines.
- Sibling Rivalry: The source of their many minor squabbles.
- Spock Speak: Rosalind in particular; just listen to her Voxophone recordings.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Sometimes they don't even bother waiting for you to turn your back before they just vanish into thin air. Especially after it's revealed that actually they're omnipresent across the multiverse.
- The Stoic: Rosalind's Voxophone recordings and the conversation between her and Lady Comstock overheard through a Tear are invariably spoken in calm and indifferent tone, even when she's discussing something as presumably emotive as her ongoing attempts to cure Robert as he's dying of reconciliation sickness or, later, when he's seriously threatening to leave her; or Lady Comstock screamingly accusing her of being a "whore" and Comstock's mistress.
- This is one of the few traits that the Lutece twins do not remotely share: Robert definitely loses his composure a couple of times, notably when he's so afraid to cross through the first Tear to join Rosalind that he seems about to back out of the whole thing.
- Though even Rosalind is noticeably panicked in Burial at Sea: Episode 1 when she realises that the Tear is about to cut off Baby Anna's head.
- Troll: Most of their interaction with Booker that's not helpful, consists of them showing up to irritate him. A Voxophone recording similarly reveals that several days after their supposed death, they took the opportunity to show up and criticize the (terrified) photographer Rupert Cunningham of their funeral photographs for making them look "too lifeless".
- Teen Genius: They appear to be in their mid-thirties at the oldest at their technical time of death in 1909, meaning that they must have been in their late teens when they wrote Barriers to Trans-Dimensional Travel and created the Lutece Tear in 1893.
- Though Older Than They Look might be in effect, since they're Physical Gods. Comstock's premature ageing after too much messing with the Tear certainly seems to imply that physical signs of ageing, or lack thereof, might not mean much with people who've spent a lot of time hopping universes. Certainly, the Lutece twins don't appear to have aged in all that time, and the versions Booker meets in the 1893 flashback don't look or act like teenagers, but appear exactly as they do in 1912.
- Those Two Guys: As with many of their associated tropes, it's played to the extreme: the revelation that they were scattered across time and space by their accident means that they quite possibly literally can't operate independently even if they want to (though they clearly don't anyway).
- Time Travel Tense Trouble: They complain that the English language doesn't have a tense to describe what they've seen.
"Frankly, she doesn't seem all that cooperative."
- Unexpected Character: At the end of Episode One of Burial at Sea, with zero foreshadowing.
- The Unfought: Their distinctly unhelpful advice and the way they treat Booker are vaguely reminiscent of Fontaine/Atlas's manipulation, so one can be forgiven for thinking they would betray Booker.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite appearing at the tail end of Burial at Sea: Episode One, they are shockingly missing during Episode Two (save for a cameo midway through). What makes this even more baffling is the fact that had they just given Elizabeth a heads up that the Big Daddy was about to turn on her, she could've potentially avoided everything negative that happened to her throughout the course of the second half of the DLC.
- Women Are Wiser: While they're equally brilliant, Rosalind seems to be the more mature. Exemplified by one scene early in the game, where the two of them can clearly be seen through the binoculars across from Monument Island: Robert is juggling while Rosalind looks on disapprovingly.
- Ultimately subverted when it's revealed that while Rosalind might be the wiser of the two, Robert apparently holds himself to a higher moral standard, expressing both compassion and regret for Booker and Elizabeth's situation and the role that they had played in it. Robert was also the one who decided that Comstock had to be stopped, even threatening to leave Rosalind if she refused to help.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Luteces were this for the Founders. Once Comstock had all he needed from them and was taking steps to conceal Elizabeth's true origins, he had Fink arrange for the pair to be offed in an unfortunate experimental "accident." It didn't exactly work as planned.
Preston E. Downs
A bounty hunter who is employed by the Founders to track down Daisy Fitzroy.
- The Atoner: Becomes this while hunting Fitzroy.
- Badass: He takes on and kills two Vox who tried to kill him in his sleep.
- Boom, Headshot: Apparently happens to him after he joins the Vox Populi in the second world Booker and Elizabeth go to according to the wall of targets in the police station in Shantytown.
- Bounty Hunter: His trade and craft. At least, in most realities...
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- He set bear traps for Daisy Fitzroy's messengers, with the intention of catching them and interrogating them for information regarding her whereabouts. It worked, as he then discovered that Daisy was using children as messengers, which resulted in a young Native American orphan being mangled by his trap. After being forced to amputate the boy's leg, he takes on the responsibility of taking care of the child.
- Later on, he's sent to hunt down (alternate universe) Booker DeWitt, who turns out to be fluent in Sioux, the same native tongue as his ward. He then makes a Heel-Face Turn after learning why the boy is an orphan and why he is working for the Vox Populi.
- Great White Hunter: He even makes a habit of scalping his targets. In the case of Comstock, he states that he'll give the boy the honors.
- Heel-Face Turn: Depends on one's viewpoint. It matters little, though.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: He explicitly compares hunting people to hunting animals.
- Morality Pet: A Native American boy whose leg gets caught in one of his bear traps.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he accidentally cripples a child with one of his efforts to hunt down Daisy.
- Psycho for Hire: At first.
- The Unfought: Not any sign of him in the flesh is ever encountered in the game, though an alternate Booker does meet him at some point.
A blind old preacher in charge of baptism for those entering Columbia.
- For Want of a Nail: If he hadn't baptized Booker DeWitt, Comstock and thus pretty much the entire game would have never happened.
- Preacher Man: His role in Columbia. In a slight twist, he seems to be more devoted to Comstock than to God.
- Prophet Eyes: His blindness isn't clear from his movements, but his eyes have thick cataracts. It is unknown if he was born blind or if he lost his vision later in life.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He assuredly had no idea that giving a troubled young soldier a baptism would lead to Comstock's rise to power.
Johnny Law is the first of the hostiles you'll encounter. They carry truncheons, pistols, or even Sky-Hooks. Interestingly for Columbia's gender dynamics, many of them are female and many of the female officers are highly ranked and obeyed without question.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The primary means of extracting information from suspects or witnesses is inflicting a lot of pain. In the game, you encounter at least one man they tortured to death and another effectively comatose from trauma in their cells.
- Killer Cop: They show absolutely zero hesitation in executing suspects.
- Old-Fashioned Copper: It's nineteen-twelve. They aren't enlightened.
- Police Brutality: Self-evident. These guys enforce Columbia's law with all the fervor of the most zealous patriots and religious fanatics combined, and with just as much violence.
- Rabid Cop: They certainly do a whole lot of yelling.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Uniforms in white and blue, of course, and the higher-level female cops actually go into firefights dressed as Lady Liberty, spiked metallic mask and all.
The most common foe you'll face. Many of them are from the Founders' army, but others are disenfranchised troops led by Cornelius Slate, and still others are militant rebels of the Vox Populi.
Mechanical machinations that serve as a means of security for Columbia.
- Airborne Mook: The Mosquitoes, which are essentially gatling guns hoisted on balloons. You run into these late in the game.
- Bottomless Magazines: They never seem to run out of ammo.
- Mecha-Mooks: They're generally a bit more durable than human enemies, but for the most part are stationary aside from the Mosquitoes, so you can usually hide from them and fire from cover.
- More Dakka: The Machine Gun Automatons will just keep on firing upon you. So will those pesky Mosquitoes.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The spotlight turns from yellow to red when they spot you. Their lights turn green when you possess them.
- Steam Punk: You can see it clearly. Very clearly. The Machine Gun Automatons have World War I era helmets, while the Rocket Automatons sport Civil War kepis.
- Those Magnificent Flying Machines: The Mosquitoes are flying turrets suspended by balloons.
Armored soldiers who carry grenade launchers or rocket-propelled grenades.
- Armor Is Useless: Sure, they wear bulky blast armor. But it can so easily be shot off.
- Cool Guns: They carry a Pig Flak, Hail Fire, or Barnstormer.
- Cool Helmet: Some of the Founder Beasts have golden lion helmets, while Vox Beasts wear helmets in the shape of bull heads.
- Super Soldier: They are tougher and have more hit points than normal soldiers.
- Unique Enemy: The very first Beast you see wears the same uniform as Slate's troops.
Heavily-armored members of Columbia's military. Equipped with the Devil's Kiss Vigor, they are often sent into situations that ordinary police officers or soldiers cannot handle alone.
- The Atoner: According to the player's guide, Firemen are actually former Columbian criminals who've been captured by the Founders and sealed into iron maiden-like suits that constantly burn them, before being equipped with Devil's Kiss and put to work as shock troopers. Their dialogue suggests that they honestly believe they're repenting for their "sins", and that their fiery attacks are infernal judgment meted out against the enemies of the Prophet.
- Ax-Crazy: YOUR FLESH WILL BLACKEN AND CHAAARRRR!
- Clingy Costume: They have been sealed into those suits. Their exact appearance underneath is unknown, but it's implied that the suit helps keep them alive.
- Degraded Boss: Initially, the Fireman is encountered as a boss — or at the very least, a miniboss. As the game goes on, however, Firemen are frequently encountered as high-class mooks.
- Elite Mooks: After being degraded.
- Large Ham: Firemen are very shouty. Just listen.
- One-Way Visor: Presumably they can see out, but from the outside it looks mirrored. This is Truth in Television with welding masks. The mask is very reflective so the sparks from welding don't blind the welder with light alone.
- Playing with Fire: Hurling fireballs, using an AOE fireburst attack, and then potentially exploding when they die.
- Pyro Maniac: Implied, given that they're very enthusiastic about seeing Booker "BURN IN HELL!"
- Reformed Criminal: In a twisted way — they're only "reformed" in the sense that they're now serving Comstock instead of defying him. Once the Vox uprising is in full swing, they appear to be more commonly aligned with the rebel forces than with the Columbian military and police.
- Superpowered Mooks: Amped up by the Devil's Kiss Vigor.
- Taking You with Me: A critically-damaged Fireman will activate a self-destruct and charge in your general direction. Pretty painful if it connects, but they only have a few seconds to reach you and tend to be easily outwitted by using environmental cover or Vigors to stall them. They also detonate prematurely if you damage them enough.
- Tragic Monster: Some of their non-combat lines include "Let me out, it burns, it burns!" and "There's no forgiveness without sacrifice!" Sometimes they sound pained and exhausted even if uninjured. So...what kind of effect has constantly being steeped in Vigors had upon them?
Zealots of the Lady
Elite members of the Fraternal Order of the Raven, the Zealots of the Lady and their underlings are a religious movement that demonize Abraham Lincoln
for his role in ending slavery in America and venerate his assassin, John Wilkes Booth, as a saint. While she was alive, they also worshipped Lady Comstock, hence their name; they blame themselves for failing to prevent her untimely death, and have sworn to vanquish the enemies of Columbia in their Lady's name. Furthermore, their devotion to blackbirds has led them to adopt the Murder of Crows Vigor as their weapon of choice, making the cultists challenging foes. Up close, they wield deadly swords to supplement their Vigor powers.
- The Atoner: How they view themselves. They've taken the death of the Lady Comstock personally, lashing large coffins to their backs and vowing not to rest until "the Lady's killer is in chains". Enemy chatter indicates that this vow is wearing on their already tenuous sanity.
"Pardon me Lady, please? [sobbing] Take this weight off my back, because I cannot bear it."
"Come back! Don't let me fail Her again!"
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Apparently, the Order keeps around prisoners for exactly this reason.
- Creepy Crows: Quite so. They utilize the Murder of Crows Vigor, dress in black, and are perpetually surrounded by flocks of crows. Even their meeting hall is infested with birds; nests in their statues, straw all over the place, and a lavish feast laid out and left to rot presumably to attract them. They don't even seem to bother cleaning up the mess the crows leave everywhere.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: They're first introduced by one of their number using his Vigor to execute a Chinese captive in this way.
- Degraded Boss: At first, the only one encountered is the head of the Lodge, and is officially a boss; then, as Booker continues across Columbia and the other dimensions that contain it, he starts meeting them as mooks.
- Elite Mooks: After becoming a Degraded Boss. By the end of the game they show up with no fanfare.
- The Klan: Strongly reminiscent of them, particularly with their hooded uniforms.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Yep, they unquestionably are.
- Mark of Shame: The Zealots have a clothing-based version of this in the form of the large wooden coffins they have chained to their backs, as a reminder of their failure to protect Lady Comstock.
"We wear our shame as a weight on our back. Lady, forgive those who deserve not your forgiveness."
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The Fraternal Order of the Raven takes this to an extreme — they're a turbo-charged, super-powered, government-sanctioned Ku Klux Klan.
- Religion of Evil: More of a cult, as a crazier version of the KKK, it fits.
- Secret Circle of Secrets
- Superpowered Mooks: They can dissolve into a flock of crows to flit from place to place in a manner reminiscent of Houdini Splicers.
- Teleport Spam: Can teleport in and out of combat in the form of a Murder.
- Voice of the Legion: Zealots speak in strange, echoing voices. It's unclear whether it's caused by their masks or if it's some sort of side effect of their Vigor use.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting/The Worm That Walks: Each of them possess the ability to transform themselves into a flock of crows, which they often use in order to escape being injured in combat.
- You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Much like the Wader Splicers in the first game, they have several quotes to this effect.
"You won't hide long from her! She knows no blindness!"
"I don't see you, but she does! She does!"
"I can't hide, and neither can you!"
"The Lord judges. I act."
A "Heavy Hitter" enemy that resembles a clockwork soldier. Originally designed as tour guides, they were given ridiculously unnecessary amounts of armor and firepower to help combat foreign spies, and now serve as mobile tanks.
- American Robot: Animatronic old U.S. presidents who blare anthems, spout slogans, mount stars, and stripes flags, and wield Peppermills.
- Attack Its Weak Point: The gears on their backs are their primary vulnerability, though head shots will do in a pinch until you've completely blown it off. They won't be dead, but pretty close.
- Though it's resistant to stunning, like all Heavy Hitters, damage from the Shock Jockey Vigor will ignore its armor and so can bring it down swiftly, especially if combined with burst weapons like the Shotgun and Machine Gun. If nothing else, the Shock Jockey will stun them just like every other enemy you use it on, giving you time to circle behind them to shoot them in the back.
- Clockwork Creature: They are composed of basic clockwork mechanisms — wires, gears, and a basic frame.
- Degraded Boss: The first time you encounter it, it's a lone boss match. It's extremely tough, it has a dynamic entry.... and ten minutes later, you're fighting another one with a horde of soldiers. By the end of the game you're fighting two at once every few minutes.
- Evil Is Hammy: Their dialogue in general seems to be this way.
- Gatling Good: Wield deadly Peppermill Crank Guns.
- George Washington: Patterned after his likeness.
- Abraham Lincoln: The Vox Populi ones are styled after him instead late in the game.
- Robot Me: In the "Vox have guns already" Columbia, Comstock uses versions modeled after himself.
- Giant Mook: They're almost twice as tall as a normal man and behave the most like a "standard" FPS Giant Mook out of any enemy in the series; they can take a lot of bullets, are equipped with a minigun-like weapon, and slowly walk relentlessly towards you while firing.
- Heel-Face Turn/Face-Heel Turn: Regardless of whether a Patriot represents Founders or Vox, they have the same voice blaring from their speakers. Presumably, the man who recorded those messages switched sides.
- Horned Humanoid: The Vox version is based off the Order of the Raven's portrayal of Lincoln, which includes Devil horns.
- Implacable Man: Ken Levine has said that what makes these such dangerous enemies is that they have no sense of self-preservation and simply march forward through any damage and danger to focus relentlessly on attacking the player.
- Job-Stealing Robot: Slate doesn't think very highly of his replacements. The Patriots are called in as strike-breakers (of sorts) when the veterans go rogue.
- Large Ham/No Indoor Voice: They spout loud, bombastic propaganda in the middle of combat, whether dealing or taking damage.
- Lightning Bruiser: Patriots march forward at a steady pace, pumping bullets into their foes with deadly precision... until you manage to keep out of their line of sight long enough. Then watch those things double in speed and smack you with their guns before you know what's hit you.
- Losing Your Head: Their heads pop off if you shoot it enough times. However, unless their health is completely depleted, it doesn't stop them from continuing to attack you.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Masked robots, anyway, all wearing porcelain faces of old presidents; except for the ones on the Hand of the Prophet, who wear Comstock masks.
- Mecha-Mooks: They are entirely robotic and never waver from their pursuit.
- Patriotic Fervor: Built for it and noisy about it.
- Propaganda Machine: A literal one, embodying all of Columbia's values: cacophonic jingoism, raw militarism, and historical white-washing (pun intended).
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: They were originally used as tour guides: why would they need to be strong enough to carry a BFG? Since Columbia is paranoid about foreigners, they might be used to summarily execute any spies who've come under the guise of tourists.
- Terminator: They'll just keep coming at you. They are sort of like clockwork Terminators. Also, as they take damage, the masks come off, revealing the skeletal structure underneath.
- Uncanny Valley: Intentionally so on the part of the game's artists. The rigid painted George Washington mask on the mechanical frame really sells it.
Handymen are primitive cyborgs
employed in Columbia as brute labor. They are created from the merging of a crude exoskeleton (with the proportions of an ape) and human bodies, most of them unwilling. Due to the imperfect nature of the process, most "Handymen" have lost their sanity and are in constant pain.
- Advertised Extra: They appeared prominently in almost every preview and trailer, and were billed as this game's equivalent to the Big Daddies. Booker fights four in total, and they have as much relevance to the overall plot as any of the other re-occurring enemies.
- And I Must Scream: Unable to sleep, suffering from constant pain and barely sane — all things considered, these guys were probably better off sickly and crippled...
- Apologetic Attacker: If you listen carefully, you'll realize that quite a few of their combat "taunts" aren't actually taunts at all. They're shouting at you to run away so they won't be forced to hurt you in the incoming berserk rage. And when they electrify the Sky-Lines, they'll preface it with "GET DOWN!", as a warning that if you don't let go, things will very shortly suck. Further emphasized by the fact that, in the Bad Future version of Columbia, a photograph of a Handyman has been added to a bulletin board of known sinners — the "sin" in question being ''pacifism".
- Attack Its Weak Point: A glaringly obvious one in the form of their still beating hearts on display in the front of their bodies. Justified by the fact that they were designed for labor, not combat — they might even have been intended to be easy to shut down in case they ever get out of control.
- Bald of Evil: Since no Handyman is shown with hair, presumably it's part of the transformation process.
- Cheap Costume: Handymen loyal to Vox Populi go into battle wearing only strips of red cloth wrapped around their torso and face.
- Clothing Damage: Non-fanservice example; the Founder Handymen apparently were once dressed in formal-looking jackets and trousers, but thanks to the exertions of their work, their uniforms have been worn down to rags.
- Covered with Scars: What parts of them remain flesh are, at any rate.
- Cyborg: Steam Punk ones.
- Elite Mooks: Without a doubt, they are among the toughest enemies you'll face.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: One of their primary attacks. They can leap very far as well.
- Giant Mook: They don't start out small, but they get progressively bigger until they challenge Songbird for position of Largest Enemy in the Game.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Capable of picking up and throwing both friends and foes.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Sometimes after exerting themselves, they will stop and cough violently, pausing from their otherwise rapid rate of movement. Given many of them are implied to have been sick patients before being made into Handymen, this may be related to that, or difficulty getting enough oxygenation in their artificial bodies. This is the point at which they are most vulnerable to careful shots from the player.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Handymen are terrifyingly fast and agile for their size. Their suits also give them Shock and Awe. And even if you attack their weakpoint, they can still take considerably more damage than most other enemies.
- The Quiet One: Handymen can talk, it's just that not many of them are in the mood to do so outside of combat.
- Shock and Awe: Can use their suits to manipulate electricity, throwing balls of it at Booker and electrifying Sky-Lines.
- Shrinking Violet: The first Handyman encountered in the game is clearly an example; exhibited at the fairgrounds before a sizable audience and at least one photojournalist, he is seen hiding his face with his hands and flinching at the camera flashes.
- Superpowered Mooks: Powered by Shock Jockey, capable of using it, and partially resistant to it as well.
- Uncanny Valley: Their massive hands are deliberately modeled after porcelain dolls of the era. And their feet are fashioned like hob-nailed boots (with some bent nails hanging out).
- Unstoppable Rage: Thanks to their current condition, the Handymen are often overcome with fits of berserk rage — combat being a very easy way to ensure a rampage.
- Was Once a Man: Ken Levine hints that there is something very sad as to why they are in mechanical bodies. The posters of their transformation at the 1912 Columbia Fair showing a bedridden and ill man in the "before" image hints at what this might be.
- When you reach Columbia's shipping district, you can find a Voxophone with a recording by a working-class woman that says her husband was dying of stomach cancer, and she permitted him to be turned into a Handyman because that's still better than him being dead. A Voxophone located in Fink's Handyman construction area in Burial at Sea: Episode Two (in a room filled with sickbeds) confirms that every Handyman you see in the game is what's left of a terminally ill workman in Fink's employ.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Most of the Handymen-to-be were disabled or in a critical condition around the time they were modified, and the adverts still emphasize the "rebuilding" aspect of the process. Of course, none of them mention the obvious problems in it.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The poor guys are in constant pain from the sensory overload they are subject to, clearly want to be left alone, and unlike the Big Daddies of Rapture, who have Little Sisters to love, they have no one.
Boys of Silence
Boys of Silence
The mysterious (and creepy) guards of Comstock House
. If they detect an intruder, they raise the alarm and cause all nearby enemies to attack you.