Practically speaking, an undersea city has a lot more logistical issues than a flying city. A flying city doesn't have to worry about air supply, for instance.
To be fair, a flying city that's over 15 thousand feet above sea level would have the same problem with the air supply. There's not much oxygen up there. Rapture at least traps its air inside.
There's plenty of oxygen up there, it's just thinner than it would be at sea level. True they would have a lot of trouble breathing at 15 thousand feet, but video game writers have no sense of scale. It's easier to fudge the details of a flying city and assume they're flying at a low enough altitude to still breathe. It's not so easy to look at Rapture and forget all the logistical details with air, water leaks, and so on. Neither one of them are particularly plausible, but Rapture is a little more implausible than Columbia.
An undersea city doesn't have to worry about gravity, however.
But it does have to worry about the pressure.
Indeed. Pressure that crushes the Nigh Invulnerable Songbird. Rapture must have been built out of some really sturdy materials. And considering that it's still standing in 2 with almost no maintenance...
To be fair, anything designed to be light enough to fly would likely be crushed by seafloor pressure.
This is actually the case. In one level a Da Vinci-style sketch of Songbird can be found with a note that it is designed to function at low pressures and handles high pressure badly. Early in the game an eye cracks as it sinks under water.
There is one more thing. Columbia was a heavily publicized project commissioned by the US government. It could have been built on land and then propelled into the sky. Rapture, by contrast, was built in secret by a relatively small team — and they had to work at the bottom of the sea, without the chance to assemble the buildings on land and then sink them.
Elizabeth's amazing changing hair color
Throughout the rest of the game, her hair is pretty much consistently black. However in Finkton, it changes to reddish brown, and then changes back after you leave. So what's up with that? Is it the lighting? A bug?
Finkton has brighter, warmer colors overall compared to the rest of Columbia, and Emporia has more of a dark, cool-colored theme. It's probably just the lighting of the areas having an effect on the shading of her hair.
You know how some dogs and cats have a peculiar coat color that normally looks black but becomes reddish-brown in sunlight? Same deal.
You can even see it happen with people with black hair IRL.
Elizabeth in Columbia- 3
In the universe where Booker became a martyr for the Vox, what was that universe's version of Elizabeth doing?
Being groomed and prepared behind an extremely heavy layer of security. Don't forget that in this reality Booker was killed because Elizabeth had been moved from Monument Island — necessitating Booker's more proactive involvement with the Vox, and subsequent death during the raid on Fink's factory.
One of the Vox members from Martyr!Bookernote the one in the post-tear Graveyard Shift explains that in that universe, Comstock was ready for Booker and moved Elizabeth out of the tower before he got there. Martyr!Booker died there trying to rescue her and Fitzroy spun it for the Vox.
But, maybe I'm wrong here, but don't you remain in that universe for the rest of the game? Because you go to Comstock House near the end of the game, and Elizabeth is nowhere to be found. So where is she?
The general deal with alternate universes in Infinite doesn't seem to be the straightforward "everyone gets an infinite number of duplicates" version found in What If? and other such works. Rather, every individual occupies all timelines at once without knowing it, which is why Chen Lin goes crazy and you run into a number of guards who are both dead and alive at once. With that in mind, Elizabeth's location in the Martyr!Booker timeline no longer matters, because the mainline Elizabeth jumped into that reality and took over the spot.
The two tears where you go into another universe (Chen not dying, the machine parts not being taken) are explicitly said by Elizabeth to be different. She doesn't seem to so much open a door and step through as forcibly pull that universe into the current one and sorta merge them. Hence when why Booker gets some memories of the martyr version of himself before, the guards in their sorta not quite dead state, and looted containers are still looted. The Elizabeth of that version would have merged into the Elizabeth that just opened the door and so the one we stay with is the only one there.
So if Elizabeth merges with her alternate self every time they jump universes, why didn't Booker merge with Comstock at the beginning of the game, or on any subsequent jump?
Booker does get the nosebleeds of individuals have trouble merging with their other selves around Comstock, most likely because the universe wants to unify them but they are so differentiated nothing but feedback occurs. Comstock's recordings suggest he metaphorically killed the man he once was and may believe he even left his old soul behind when he was baptized.
Because Booker and Comstock, despite being the same person, are still distinct entities. Elizabeth is Elizabeth in all the transitions, but in every transition there is always a Comstock and there is always a Booker to oppose him. Booker replaces Booker, and Comstock stays Comstock.
The Respawn Room
What's the deal with the respawn room? Does Booker have some probability-altering magics himself to prevent his death? Does he die and get replaced by someone from a timeline where he did everything up until that point but didn't die there? Has he, throughout the game, always operated from some kind of limbo caused by the ending's paradox where he returns to if his consciousness isn't occupied reliving a particular timeline?
According to quantum physics. Every action/event creates an alternate universe/timeline in which that event/action didn't occur or occur differently. Given the nature of the game chances are the "re-spawn" is as you said: "get replaced by someone from a timeline when he did everything up until that point but didn't die there". And later when Elizabeth revives you its actually Elizabeth pulling another Booker from an alternate reality, which as you said, did everything up until that point but didn't die (only exception is that she accidentally bring back some enemies as long as well).
Please don't say "according to quantum physics". According to the fictional physics of Infinite, maybe. According to real quantum physics, that statement is at best a gross and inaccurate oversimplification and at worst plain wrong, depending on your favorite interpretation.
Elizabeth is shown injecting you with medicine and helping you to your feet, implying that its the same Booker that she managed to drag to a safe distance and heal. Enemies never target her in combat, and that may be a real aspect of her powers that lets her do this unimpeded. If it was meant to be a new Booker coming through a Tear, they'd show it. Note that Liz shouts, "Booker, don't die!" when you fall. Not something she'd do if she were just going to call up a spare. As for the respawn room, it might be the Luteces messing with your timeline.
When you die without Elizabeth it's a different timeline starting, just obviously skipping past everything you did. In that life Booker was killed at the point you were. When Elizabeth is there you're not getting killed, she's resuscitating you which allows "that" Booker to continue in his timeline alive and reasonably well.
But that wouldn't explain Booker's time in the respawn office at all — confused, clearly remembering his previous death, etc.
There's good evidence that it's always the same Booker: the first time you die, the game says, "When your life is saved...", meaning it's the same life every time. Elizabeth also promises to "keep you on this side of the abyss", meaning you never cross over.
She's just using flowery language at that point. Her healing methods are old school, rather than mystical.
This troper's understanding is that the Lutece twins are bringing the original Booker back every time (appropriate, since it's them banging on the office door).
So, to summarize:
When you die with Elizabeth following, she resuscitates Booker with plain old medicine. So it's the same Booker, who was Only Mostly Dead.
When you die without Elizabeth following, you continue as a different Booker whose personal timeline is almost identical to the previous one except for the short period of time just before the other Booker's death. His disorientation is a side effect of different timelines merging (a mild case of what e.g. Chen Lin of Columbia-2 experiences).
This troper always figured it was Booker manifesting some sort of tear ability to save himself, probably when on the verge of death. When you first use the respawn door, Booker comments, he asks "What just happened?" or something similar, and after that never mentions it again. This, adding in that Booker can recognize when it isn't "his" Anna/Elizabeth, and when you "respawn" the enemies and items you used do not. This points toward it is always the same Booker and Elizabeth back in whatever universe he "died" in. This is also why the respawn door has the "tear" effects, Booker's tears look like his door, since it is beyond that door that this whole mess started. This is how Booker was also able to see the Invasion universe, where Colombia is attacking New York. He came close to drowning in the Baptism, this activated his tear ability. Like Elizabeth, came back to the Infinite!universe. This is what makes Alpha!Booker special, the one who can actually save Elizabeth.
This is maybe also why only Booker, Elizabeth, the Robert Lutece and baby!Anna appear in the room, they are the only people who have/will have similar abilities, not counting Rosalind.
The Grandfather Paradox
How does Elizabeth killing Booker not create a time paradox since she would no longer exist to kill Booker? Wouldn't that just create an even bigger Time Loop?
Obviously you can interpreted the ending in a lot of ways, and that is a completely valid one. However, the idea most people seem to have gone with is they simply drowned the Booker that was going to go along with the baptism and become Comstock, since as we had seen, our Booker pushed his way out of the baptism circle before he got dunked under. So they killed all the Booker's that became Comstock, but the Booker who remained Booker is fine.
It doesn't, because Elizabeth is operating outside of the laws of cause and effect at this point.
I thought this was extremely clear when they showed the infinite universes. Only the Booker that decided to get baptized was killed off, as there is now literally zero chance for Comstock to come to being. The Bookers that didn't decide to get baptized in the first place all still live. The epilogue is evidence of this.
The thing is that if Elizabeth never existed to kill Comstock, Comstock would exist... which would bring Elizabeth into existence, who would once more wipe him out of existence. Essentially, Comstock cannot possibly exist, because his very existence creates events that invalidate his existence. The end of Comstock is the very same moment as his creation, meaning that to those who aren't looking at it from an outside perspective, it never happens.
Another Grandfather Paradox: If Comstock never came to exist, he couldn't have taken Anna/Elizabeth, and she wouldn't have developed her reality-altering powers.
In a linear sense, the events of the game (and the events in all the timelines in which Comstock can possibly exist) still 'happen'. The universe just restructures itself in such a way that it cannot happen again because the necessary variables do not exist. It also helps that Elizabeth is functioning beyond normal limitations of space and time.
There's actually a theory out there (I've lost the source, but I'll link when I find it) that talks about something called "Most Stable Time State". Now, the timeline of the game looks like this◊. Elizabeth removed all possible points in time where Booker split into Comstock, eliminating the Prophet from existence. Therefore, she and the Booker you played as are both eliminated, and revert to their most stable state in time. This, for both of them, is October 8, 1893, the day Booker gave her up. Elizabeth and Comstock are gone, Anna and Booker remain.
Also, note that by this point, Booker is no longer hounded by Robert Lutece; nobody's shouting at him to "bring us the girl..." Presumably, this may also mean that Comstock really was the one to whom he owed a debt before. And since Comstock no longer exists, neither does his debt.
The Ending & The Multiple Universe Mechanics
So why exactly in a plot based around infinite alternate realities, Booker can eliminate Comstock in all of them at once? The baptism is a branching point as is. There will still be alternate realities where he accepted it, rejected it, or drowned.
Booker didn't. Elizabeth/Anna did, by going back to the baptism and making sure he drowned. He didn't get baptized, and he didn't run away from being baptized. No Comstock the Prophet, no Booker the False Shepherd. The events of the game therefore never happened... but The Stinger indicates that some version of Booker remains who didn't sell Anna.
But wouldn't there still be timelines where Booker didn't get drowned? IT doesn't close any timelines, only add to the myriad of other timelines. Now instead of "Booker becomes Comstock or Booker runs away" there's now "Booker becomes Comstock, Booker runs away, and Booker Dies." But all three of those possibilities still exist.
No, there would be no timelines where Booker doesn't get drowned. Elizabeth is explicitly using her Reality Warper powers to utterly destroy the Booker/Comstock timelines. Imagine a timeline that runs from A to B, then forks to C and D (two possibilities). Elizabeth destroys Point B, which eliminates the C/D junction (zero possibilities) and every single junction thereafter. This leaves only one path: to Point E, the "Booker drowns" path.
But wouldn't Elizabeth drowning Booker just create a junction at point B instead of destroying point B? Couldn't there easily be timelines where Booker decides to not allow himself to be drowned?
Then she would also have the power to terminate only the Comstock timelines and wipe out her present self but not Booker (which arguably would've been an even more of a Tear Jerker). Magic A Is Magic A, folks...
It does not create a junction at Point B because she is intervening before Point B occurs. And while in normal circumstances, a junction could be created where Booker does not allow himself to be drowned, Elizabeth is using her Reality Warper abilities (with Booker's co-operation) to ensure that doesn't happen. One thing you have to accept about the ending sequence is that Elizabeth — at that point — is operating above and beyond the normal rules of the parallel universe theory, which would create junctions for every possible outcome. She has moved from being a character on the page to being the author. Another theory is that there is no path where Booker resists because, no matter what version of himself (and Elizabeth) reaches that point, he has made the decision to let himself be drowned. Think of it like the Heads/Tails coin flip near the beginning of the game: just like that coin is always going to be Heads, Booker is always going to choose to let himself be drowned.
Except she's not preventing Event B. Booker still goes to get baptized in all timelines. She is changing all instances of Result D (he goes through with it and becomes Comstock) to Result E (he goes through with it and is drowned). That's why Booker is still alive in The Stinger and Anna exists. That Booker rejected the baptism (Result C), and thus lived.
But won't that create a paradox anyway? Elizabeth was born after Booker's baptism, so if she kills him in all versions of the past, she never exists (we even see the other Elizabeth's disappear. So who killed Booker if not Elizabeth?
No, if he goes through with it, he becomes Comstock and can't have children. Only the Bookers who reject the baptism actually have non-adopted daughters.
Elizabeth kills him outside time, using an element of her fantastically powerful ability to influence universes. Once the Siphon is destroyed, the old rules no longer apply. Elizabeth cannot cause a paradox anymore. You're asking why she can break these rules when the game makes it explicitly clear that those rules no longer apply.
Then why does she need to kill Booker at all if she's not bound by any rules? She could have just sent him a note or showed up and told past Booker not to do the baptism. And if she really isn't bound to the consequences, why do all the Elizabeths (except maybe one) disappear after killing Booker? And when does it ever even say she is immune to such a paradox?
You're getting confused because you've got a very specific idea in your head about how time travel and alternate universes are "supposed" to work, when this entire game is based around them working very differently. She drowns Booker because she knows it'll work; Booker dies before the choice that creates Comstock, which undoes the entirety of the Columbia endeavor. It provides an absolute finality that a note or a quiet word or a time-travel intervention cannot. No one is concerned about paradoxes within the game's mileau; that's an exterior argument that clearly has no basis upon the outcome as written. Why isn't this a paradox? Because of the nigh-omnipotent reality warper standing right there, and because it wasn't. That's all the counter-argument you need.
It's more based on what the Universe conveys as its rules. And her being able to break all those rules conflicts with killing Booker. If she's even close to Omnipotent, she wouldn't need to kill Booker to stop him from becoming Comstock. The only answer seems to be because the plot says so.
Again, you're overthinking it based on what you think the answer should be, rather than what the answer actually is. She says point-blank at one point during the endgame that anything mundane they do to stop Comstock does not stop Comstock. It simply creates another alternate timeline where he wasn't stopped, and in so doing, starts a domino chain that potentially results in a religious fanatic purifying the multiverse with holy fire. If she sends a note, there will be timelines where it gets lost in the mail or rained on or Booker is too drunk to read it; if she shows up in front of him and says "Don't do this," there are timelines where he ignores or avoids or attacks her. What she does instead is to choke out the entire Comstock timeline in its cradle, from outside time. It's all there. The only reason not to get this is if you're being willfully obtuse.
And again your explanation contradicts itself. Killing Booker is just as flawed as sending a note and there is no reason why it wouldn't create a time loop as well. But if Elizabeth can truly ignore all those rules, she would find another way, period. I thought maybe I missed a recording or something but clearly the answer is because the plot says so, even when it makes no sense in the plot itself.
There's no contradiction aside from the one that you really want to be there. The game makes it very clear what's going on: Elizabeth destroys the entire timeline using her powers and is able to do so because she's standing outside the story. You're carrying something into the story that makes you not want to believe it, and that's not the story's fault.
Not that guy, but I think it kind of is the story's fault. What does it even mean to "Go outside of time"? Do you mean the preacher just saw Booker vanish and he was never heard from again? How does that change the fact that he was taken out of time by a person who, in erasing all possibility of him ever existing as Comstock, erased all possibility of herself being born to erase all possibility of him becoming Comstock in all possible worlds. Because this is an "all possible worlds" matter, a "That's not how time-travel works in this universe" explanation is not acceptable. If there is no possible universe in which Booker lives a day after his baptism, its obvious there is a time paradox. The most likely answer is that they wanted to have a dark, edgy ending because gaming is going through growing pains as an art medium, like a teenager who only thinks things that are dark and angst have artistic merit
It's an issue of people getting confused over a different multiversal theory than what's at play in Infinite. When Elizabeth takes Booker into the ocean of infinite lighthouses, the thrust of what she's saying is that she and he are, at that point, outside of the multiverse; they're not on any specific world, but they're somewhere where they can see them all at once. She's stepped behind the stage and she's messing around with the set, which is why she's able to do what she does. It's a clear-cut case of the players trying to make Infinite fit into the rules established by other works when it makes it perfectly clear that it A) operates by its own rules and B) Elizabeth in the endgame can break any of those rules that she damn well feels like breaking. You're trying to rules-lawyer a continuity when its rules aren't what you think they are.
The Singer only makes it more confusing and "your" Elizabeth not being there to drown you. I guess one could think of it as killing Booker Prime. The original Booker. But Elizabeth can't be all powerful and able to break all the rules. Or she wouldn't need bother drowning Booker just to kill Comstock.
After some conversation on the topic in other fora, I think it's also important, in addition to not getting bogged down about "time paradoxes" when it's clearly not a rule the game gives a shit about, to remember that pretty much everything in the game that takes place after the visit to Rapture is increasingly metaphorical. You're beyond reality at that point ("I can see them all"), outside the story, and you're on a non-linear path through Booker's timeline and memories. The baptism motif is a lot like Schrodinger's Cat, as presented by Comstock: "One man goes into the waters of baptism. A different man comes out, born again. But who is that man who lies submerged? Perhaps that swimmer is both sinner and saint, until he is revealed unto the eyes of man." The baptism as shown at the end of the game is thus a living metaphor for the choice Booker makes, and Elizabeth drowning him is symbolic of her destruction of that choice. It's never made; the person under the water dies before he emerges; Comstock is thus never "born" and his timelines wither on the vine. In that interpretation in combination with the post-credits stinger, Elizabeth didn't kill Booker. She just wiped out the possibility he'd ever be Comstock and sent him back to 1892.
I think it makes much more sense when you factor in the concept of constants and variables. There is ALWAYS a lighthouse, a man, a city — those are constants. However, their exact nature can vary. It could be said that Booker's demise at the hands of Elizabeth becomes a constant, of sorts. Furthermore, judging by the fact that it showed hundreds of lighthouses, each with their own Elizabeth and Booker, I think the ending also implies that it wasn't just your Booker and Elizabeth that went there — ALL of them did, thus ensuring that Comstock cannot exist in any possible universe.
Exactly where I was going to go with this. Elisabeth exists as she is on all universes at once, so she's able to stop all eventualities that cause Comstock to happen. She has anti-time-split powers. Just as there are an infinite number of universes, there are an infinite number of Elizabeths making sure their timeline turns out the "correct" way — with the un-birth of Comstock. Each of the timelines where she exists is a fusion of two timelines — one with "Booker", and one with "Comstock" — and so she has the ability to undo her universe-specific Comstock with no ill effects. And without a Comstock in existence (any existence) to offer to buy Anna, Booker gets his happy ending with his daughter.
In short, it seems like Elizabeth operates on the Time Lord rules. The above mentioned constants are also mentioned by The Doctor, and seem to exist purely to invoke You Cannot Fight Fate in a setting where protagonist would otherwise be able to fix everything, and thus make the story touching even if it doesn't exactly make complete logical sense — in short, they're a physical principle based on Rule of Drama, which, of course, makes perfect sense for an universe that is at least partly metafictional.
Elizabeth travels to different universes by merging the timelines. She doesn't step into another so much as pull the other into this one, as shown by the guards who are both dead and alive at the same time and people remembering parts of what happened in the timeline before Elizabeth screwed with it. So, she pulled everything to the timeline for Booker Dewitt when his and Comstock's hadn't become separate things, because everything up to that point had to happen the same way to lead him to that point in time. By drowning him in the version of events when he accepted the baptism, she essentially makes event B (accepting the baptism) impossible, because if event B occurs, she is created, the events of the game happen, and she shows up to keep it from happening. Essentially, the events that follow event B create a circumstance that cuts off the possibility for event B. Now, if event B doesn't happen, she doesn't stop it, therefore event B can happen... except that event B can't happen because it creates her and she stops it from happening. Therefore, the timeline ignores that possibility because it's no longer a possibility, because it cuts itself off, and goes back to the last point at which Comstock had no influence on events — when he's alone with Anna, which is shown at the end of the credits.
There's also a strong possibility that it has to be Booker making the decision to not allow Comstock to exist, as it's not just him drowning that prevents that potential reality, Booker has to set his own heart to prevent Comstock, and the only way he can think of to stop that possibility is by dying before that possibility is born. A Man Chooses, as it were.
Didn't anyone think of the possibility that Elizabeth and Booker think they are erasing the timelines Booker becomes Comstock? But in reality, killing Booker really does create new timelines from each one, making the game about the futility of trying to change events that happen, have happened, will happen, constants and variables.
Why did Comstock need to abduct...?
Anna was born in 1892. Wounded Knee happened in 1890, and we know Booker nearly got baptized right after. We know that in an alternate universe, Booker did get baptized, and took the name Zachary Comstock, and went on to become the "Prophet" of Columbia. But why did Comstock abduct Anna from our Booker's universe? If Anna was never born in his timeline, he would never have had any knowledge of her. If she was, then he would never have needed to abduct her. If Comstock knew what he was doing the whole time, then where did he learn it?
Some Voxophones talk about how they would use the Tears to observe other people to steal ides from (explicitly mentioned about a biologist and implied for how they get a lot of the anachronistic music) It's likely Comstock used the tears as a means for his "prophecies" and saw that Anna would lead to his vision but in his world he never had her. Thus they needed to kidnap her from Booker who did.
It's explicitly stated that his use of the Tears to prophesy led him to learn his plans can only be continued to fruition by his own flesh and blood, but by then his usage of them had shortened his life and rendered him sterile. His only choice to find a true flesh-and-blood heir is to steal one from a Booker DeWitt that never became Comstock.
Elizabeth's Social Skills
Elizabeth has oddly well-developed social skills for a girl who has been locked up in a tower for her entire life with her only companion being a robot bird thingy.
She may have all the knowledge of her different selves from alternate realities at some level.
Equally likely is the possibility that she's aping the conversations she might have seen through the Tears.
Elizabeth also lived in Comstock House until she started creating Tears. Then they put her in Monument Island to Siphon off her powers. Most of her basic social skills were probably developed then.
I find more impressive how level-headed she is during huge firefights.
Part of that could also be from interacting with Rosalind Lutece. An earlier Voxophone stated that she was the only scientist allowed near Elizabeth.
I'm certain that there were several etiquette books in that library. Victorian social mores were much more formal and we don't see many casual situations where lack of experience would come into play.
The Deal With Universe- 3 Fitzroy
What makes Booker and Elizabeth think that the Universe-3 Daisy Fitzroy made a deal with Universe-3 Booker for the guns and the airship?
They were still figuring out how the whole dimension-hopping thing worked at the time.
Their original intention was just "cross into a universe where everything is the same, but Chen Lin's equipment was not confiscated". However they accidentally skip about five steps in the quest chain and end up in a universe where the Vox Populi is supplied with guns and in full revolt. Elizabeth speculates at one point that her power is based on wish fulfillment; by the time she creates the tear, not only have her experiences in Shantytown convinced her that open revolution might be a good idea ("It'd be just like Les Misérables!") but she also expresses a desire to have Booker fight for the revolution too... which he does in that universe, with disastrous consequences.
So, in short, Elisabeth is able to subconsciously open a rift to any one of the universes that have events happen the way that would be most efficient for what she currently wants/needs.
The game decides to handwave Booker being unable to change certain events because they are "constants". But why are they constants? What makes them constants?
There are over a thousand ways to open a chess game, but first you need the board and two players.
Those constants have an explanation why they are constant (the game was designed to be played between two people on a board). There's no reason why the coin flip has to be heads, why Booker can't get Elizabeth to New York or Paris, or even why there has to be a lighthouse, a city, and a man.
You might as well ask why chess was designed with two players. Constants exist because otherwise nothing else does; everything happened because Booker DeWitt went to the river seeking baptism. The point is not why the universe is the way it is, but how one point in time can create so many potential universes. However, the logical conclusion of Booker and Elizabeth's quest to eliminate Comstock means things can only end with Booker's death at the crossroads. The point of the coin toss — and many of the "choices" offered in the game — is that regardless of what you pick, things can only end a certain way. Booker can't bring Elizabeth to New York or Paris because she never became Elizabeth-who-was-locked-in-a-tower-and-wanted-to-go-to-Paris.
That's not strictly true. Constants don't create potential universes, they destroy them. For example, one constant is that Booker cannot get past the Songbird to save Elizabeth from Comstock House. Therefore, any universe with that sequence of events will never come to pass. From a plotting standpoint, constants are kind of a cop-out in order to patch up some of the Plot Holes that would otherwise exist as to why events proceeded the way they did. Why can't Booker and Elizabeth escape Columbia? Because her getting trapped in Comstock House is a constant of the multiverse. Why is that a constant? It just is, mainly because we don't have a plot without it.
Remember that the Lutece twins have probably seen Booker attempt to rescue Elizabeth hundreds of times, it might be possible that the coin toss and ball 77 are constants because only in the timelines in which they happen to be does Booker manage to find Elizabeth.
The coin-toss was noted by the Luteces to be part of an experiment. However, getting ball #77 is vital to Booker's progress; losing the raffle would negate the sequence of events leading to him procuring the Sky-Hook and opening the gates for the police to try and stop him.
Booker and Comstock's ages
So how come Booker looks to be about 40 and Comstock looks to be about 60? The fact that the two are very obviously not even closely the same age makes the Plot Twist come clean out of left field.
More importantly, how could Booker, a 38-year-old man, do all of the things he did? If his age is accurate, then he was part of the Pinkertons (and got kicked out), was involved at Wounded Knee as the part of the 7th Cavalry, fathered a child, and had accumulated a massive amount of debt all before he was 18 years old. Either he had a VERY interesting life as a teenager or there's some more time travel nonsense going on.
The "appropriate" age to do things was much different in the late 1800s. The way Booker speaks shows that he's not a very educated person, which means he probably didn't go to school past grade school, which was common at the time so kids could work on the farm. People got married and had children much younger because their life spans were generally shorter. Young teenagers joined the military and went to war. A gambling addiction and very poor choices could easily lead to being in a lot of debt at 18 — hell, this happens now to a lot of people who get their first credit card at 18. For the time period, all of the things that happen are pretty realistic.
Comstock is about 40. A timeline in the Hall of Heroes shows that he was born in 1874, making him about 38 in 1912. The beard makes him look a lot older than he actually is.
It could also be a side effect of exposure to the machines that cause the Tears as later Voxophones tell that they really did a number on his health.
Comstock actually mentions in a Voxophone recording that he has tumors, and in another a woman says that her husband got stomach cancer after working on Monument Island and became a Handyman.
Technically, out of all those things, all pre-Comstock Booker did was fight at Wounded Knee. It's more likely that Anna was stolen from a Booker that refused the baptism, then went on to work for the Pinkertons, have a daughter, and accumulate a large amount of debt. Because the debt (Anna) was collected from a different timeline may also mean it happened at a different point along that timeline.
Is there any significance to the necklace that you get to choose for Elizabeth? Or is it just a Red Herring?
It's to prove a point in the ending — that there are many ways the story goes, and many choices you can make, but you might always end at the same place. The game has plenty of moments where it offers false choices both to Booker and to the player.
Or to show that none of the Elizabeths that drown you are your Elizabeth. None of them have the necklace you chose for her.
Or it could be forming the beginnings of Booker's and Elizabeth's relationship. At the same time, the bird and the cage can also symbolize the Luteces' roles in Elizabeth's imprisonment. Robert has the bird because he is the one who got Elizabeth from Booker. Rosalind has the cage because she was the one in charge of experiments on Monument Island.
Interesting note on the Burial at Sea DLC: Alpha!Elizabeth has the Bird brooch, so Alpha!Booker chose the bird for her. It is probably one of the ways he recognized that the Elizabeth that drown him wasn't Alpha!Elizabeth, as she did not have the brooch on.
Booker and the Pinkertons
So, what did Booker do to get kicked out of the Pinkertons?
Supposedly he used "extreme methods" in his job. No specifics, but I recall him mentioning putting down some riots.
The Pinkertons' entire job was putting down riots and unionists, how on earth would that get him kicked out?
It might have been at one point that Booker disobeyed orders and was fired for it. When he speaks to Elizabeth about his work as a Pinkerton agent, it's clear that he greatly regrets it.
Likely a Noodle Incident and Even Evil Has Standards mix. Considering what he did at Wounded Knee, perhaps he simply did his usual solution to problems and not realize that doing that sort of thing to Red Skins is okay, but not White workers.
Alternatively, character development and refusing to repeat the sins of his past.
How was Elizabeth able to use the Bathysphere? Didn't Andrew Ryan lock it to only himself and those related to him?
Either the events of BioShock hadn't yet happened, it's another universal version of Rapture to the one in the BioShock games, or the fact she's a nearly omniscient reality walker.
You can hear the Songbird dying in the first BioShock just around the time you see Sander's student playing the piano, so it's pretty likely that Elizabeth and Booker travelled to around the same point as the first game.
Really? Interesting. I thought Booker and Lizzie's little trip in Rapture actually predated Jack's arrival, mostly because when the duo visit, the place is actually much less trashed. Not utterly pristine, mind you, but still, I'd have to replay BioShock 1 a bit to make sure.
Go up to the machine where Jack gets his first Plasmid. It's broken. It's either a different universe or one where Jack already arrived.
There was a "Let us out" protest sign in the Bathysphere dock, so we at least know that Ryan had locked down travel by then. It's entirely possible that Booker and Liz were genetically similar enough to Ryan to fool the Bathysphere. Since they're apparently alternate reality versions of each other, it's not that farfetched. Also, consider that the Rapture you see might not have been really...real. Your sphere surfaces outside of the lighthouse instead of inside it, and when you open the lighthouse doors, you're fully in Liz's Abstract Multiverse Crossroad World.
From what I understand, Booker is Infinite's reality version of Jack, the original protagonist of BioShock (there is always a man, a girl and a lighthouse). Jack is the illegitimate son of Ryan which allowed him to use the Vita-Chambers and Bathysphere throughout Rapture. If Booker is this reality's version of Jack then he may or may not be related in some way to Andrew Ryan, allowing him to use the Bathysphere across the other reality. Multiple universes are fun.
Let me do you one better there: Comstock is Infinite's version of Andrew Ryan and Comstock is also Booker.
That make sense. The twins are identical in their role to Tenembaum, Fink is somewhat similar in his to Sander Cohen, and I'd guess Fontaine and Fitzroy show some similarity, although it's much less clear cut.
Atlas and Fitzroy are pretty much a perfect match. You could say that just like it so happens that Rosalind Lutece's double in another universe is the opposite gender, Fitzroy's double (Fontaine) in another universe is someone who can talk just as passionately about the rights of people treated as second class as she can, but unlike her, is a complete fraud doing it to serve his own ends.
What a lot of what people are saying may be true, I'll also say this: the Songbird screech is also heard many times in BioShock 2 so I'm not sure that it MUST occur during the piano playing. Also to those that say Booker is Infinite's Jack: this is not true. Booker is not Ryan's son and they do not share the same genetics as each other like the Lutece twins. The reason the Bathysphere works is because the plot needed it to; a self fulfilling wish. The parallels are certainly there between the two and their experiences, but they are not different universe version of each other. Further proof that what you see in Infinite is not the same universe as Jack's: the walkway you enter right after obtaining your first Plasmid in the first game is missing. This means it must have never been done when Booker and Elizabeth enter and also helps illuminate the fact that the multiple universes also affect Rapture as well as Columbia.
I might be wrong, but that Rapture could be the same as Jack's. It could be explained that Booker and Liz arrived after Jack (thus no Electro Bolt Plasmid and the Bathysphere is docked at Rapture rather than at the lighthouse). The glass walkway probably broke off due to the damage caused by the plane wreck.
If you play that part in Infinite and look towards the window where Songbird dies you can see a glass tunnel and inside a dead Big Daddy and a Little Sister. If you play that part in the original there is no glass tunnel at that exact place an there also isn't a banner between stairs and the window that says something about the Great Chain. So it's most likely a different universe.
Comstock at Wounded Knee
If Slate knew Comstock never fought at the "battle" of Wounded Knee, how could he know Booker, seeing as how they are the same person at that point in time?
The point is that Comstock did fight at Wounded Knee...the thing is, at that time his name was "Booker deWitt" and the Slate we encounter is the Slate of one of the realities in which Booker accepted baptism. However, he doesn't know that Booker and Comstock are the same person — from different universes.
Does Slate know about the alternate universes? He seemed to understand that Comstock and Booker are different entities, but the same person. He makes no indication that Booker is related to Comstock in anyway though, other than the fact that Booker is a warrior and Comstock is not. He says that Booker "wrapped himself in glory" at Wounded Knee, which might imply that he still thinks Booker isn't honest about what happened.
The game doesn't indicate that Slate recognizes Comstock and Booker as being the same person at all, which is part of why he's set off about Comstock claiming to have been at Wounded Knee: If he knew Comstock and Booker were the same person this wouldn't have been nearly the Berserk Button it is in the game.
How could Slate not recognize Comstock as Booker, before Comstock became aged by his abuse of Tears? They are literally the same person; perhaps offset by a few years. Did he only become acquainted with Comstock after his transformation? Otherwise that sounds like a Plot Hole to me.
Different clothes, different setting, and a beard would all have a part to play. Furthermore, I don't recall anything indicating that Slate ever spent any significant amount of time anywhere near enough to Comstock to figure out who he was. As far as he knew, Comstock was just a famous prophet who only started pissing him off when he began claiming to be a war hero.
The Ending (Part 2)
Two-fold one here: How does drowning the player-controlled Booker erase the Comstock and Booker realities? He's already lived past that decision, so his death can't change it. Yet the game says it did, which brings up question two: how do the Tears work? Throughout the game, when the characters move between universes, it just means there are two versions of them in one reality. Yet at the end when our Booker is drowned it erases the Comstock and Booker timelines, but you'd have to drown a Booker who hadn't made that choice yet — a younger version. So does that mean moving through Tears allows you to possess the existing version now? If so, why didn't Comstock override Booker when he came to take Anna then?
We're shown two ways for people to cross universes. One is via Tears, where you just replace your alternate self — this is how Booker got memories of being a martyr for the Vox, and why Chen Lin was nose-bleedingly confused when his dead self was replaced by a living one. The other is the Lutece's work, where you come in addition to your alternate self — this is how Robert Lutece could exist alongside Rosalind Lutece, despite them being the same person, and how Booker was brought across universes at the start of the game by the Luteces (at the end, Robert comments that he understands how Booker's mind is trying to cope because his mind went through it when he crossed over). So, when Elizabeth takes you to the river where Booker is offered the choice to be baptized, both times, Booker is taking the place of the other self and reliving the moment. The first time, you see him refute the baptism. The second time, he realizes that the only way to avoid Comstock's creation is to take the place of the Booker who was baptized by travelling there with Elizabeth, and be drowned instead. Basically, it's important to keep track of what kind of universe jump has been taken — the Lutece's holes between universes, or Elizabeth's universe-replacement.
A Wizard Did It. Or in this case, "An Omniscient Reality Warper Did It". In the context of the game that sequence makes no sense (as you correctly pointed out), but in the context of the narrative, Elizabeth (through her superpowers) is drowning the past Booker, which in turn drowns the present (playable) Booker.
As for "it wouldn't change anything"... well it just does. This isn't a case of a new decision creating a new timeline, this is a case of destroying two sets of timelines completely by excising the decision that originally created them. Once that is done, Booker will have never lived through the decision because the decision never existed to begin with, hence why every version of Elizabeth disappears.
And to put it plainly — the Baptism is the only way a person named Comstock (nee Booker) can ever exist. If he ever chooses religion again in a different time frame, it will be with a different preacher, who will pressure him to either keep his name or change it to something other than Zachary Hale Comstock, and after Booker has had enough time to learn to deal with his guilt productively rather than attempt to shunt it into religious fervor, and said Booker will never meet the Lutece of his universe and bribe him/her into building him a time machine and flying city. Every possibility that has Comstock never was.
Does this mean that Alpha!Booker (the one we play as) survived and is the Booker we play as in the Epilogue? Since the drowning only kills Bookers who accepted the Comstock!baptism, Alpha!Booker never accepted it. After the drowning, his timeline is reset to a certain point, where he wakes up at his desk and Elizabeth becomes Schrodinger's!Anna, both there and not there until observed.
My theory goes like this: After Alpha!Booker was fused into this single Booker who accepted baptism and drowned, thus erasing even the possibility of Comstock, everything related to baptism Comstocks existence got erased down the line too. Timeline gets wibbly wobbly and tries to "reset" itself to most stable form, noticing that there is a wrong Booker at the wrong place(Alpha!Booker, who never took the baptism, being drowned), plucks him out (while leaving the event of drowning in place) and places him furthest of his own timeline before erasing: the moment before the offer was made, because that is the moment before Comstock!timeline start to intersect with Alpha!Booker!timeline, thus everything after that is erased.
Leaving Behind Universe- 1 Fitzroy
Did anyone else notice that Booker and Elizabeth never actually complete the quest to get Daisy Fitzroy her guns? They move into a parallel universe where this task was already accomplished for them, abandoning the original Daisy. Admittedly, this can be excused by their lack of knowledge on how the Tears worked at the time, and does come to bite them hard (since in the new universe, Booker never made a deal for the airship).
Presumably, the disappearance of Booker and Elizabeth entirely from the initial timeline threw that Columbia into an entirely different path. Daisy loses her man to get the guns (which could lead to her losing the fight if she couldn't find any other way), but that Comstock also loses his Elizabeth and thus his plans for her. Of course, Elizabeth's erasure of all timelines involving Comstock and post-baptism Booker meant that said timeline (and everyone in it) went away. As did all of the ones you enter in the game.
Old Tech vs New City
In the future with the aged Elizabeth, why are the 1912-era airships attacking 1984 New York with seeming impunity? With 1980s weaponry it would be trivial to shoot them down.
Future Elizabeth probably went into some more veils to get some pretty fancy technology for the airships. Also, she is a borderline Physical God, she can probably just wipe away all of 80s New York's weapons.
Not only are airships — particularly heavier-than-air quantum-levitated airships like these — decidedly difficult to shoot down, you're overlooking one crucial fact: the airships are not being used as air superiority fighters, they are being used as bombers — a class of aircraft that typically comes into play after aerial superiority is established. This implies that the military forces were already dealt with by AA from the city proper, or by some other means, and what Booker was seeing was the subsequent carpet bombing of the city. And considering Columbia's access to heavily armored flying barges, quantum levitation, anachronistic rocketry and weaponry, not to mention Super Soldiers, swatting a few lightly armored fighter jets held up by nothing more than forward motion would likely be child's play.
A correction: Future Elizabeth is not a Physical God. She actually states that the Siphon has been draining her power for so long that she barely had enough strength to bring Booker into her Bad Future.
BUT the power it takes from her is used to make vigors and salts. The flying city is decades ahead of the normal surface and had had Elizabeths entire life to develop a massive stockpile of super-power potions. Not to mention that a single well-placed tear could, for instance, drop an atomic bomb from the past on 1980's New York.
Also, you're assuming that Columbia didn't significantly advance either in 70 years.
Certainly didn't look like it; it seemed to be as retro as it has ever been. By the 1980s, it should've been a genuine Death Star to bring the world down on its knees (to tie into the Jedi references). Rapture at least had the potential of its biotechnology wreaking havoc on the world and as such was a credible threat that shouldn't be allowed to resurface...
Most likely they should be more advanced, but the developers did not bother to create a new model for a single scene.
Equally likely: the blimp fleet was just too far away to see any significant technological advances.
Well, the fact that Columbia managed to remain undetected in an era of radar and satellites suggests it had some kind of stealth/cloaking ability, which could have allowed it to sneak up on New York with impunity. However, it's entirely possible that, had Booker watched the scene unfold longer, he would have seen the US military swoop in mop the floor with Columbia.
Not likely. You're overthinking it. The question isn't "how did this happen?" There is no question. This happened. Whatever the situation was, by 1984, Columbia is a sufficiently powerful fleet that it is capable of burning New York City to the ground. Whether it did so with sufficient speed that the military has yet to respond, achieved its goals by sabotage and guile, or was simply an idiosyncratic but powerful air force that took on the American military directly and won outright, the point is that Columbia took on New York City and won.
Also, it's certainly not saying that Colombia got very far past burning New York. Once the US figures out what they're dealing with they'd be happy to launch a couple more fighters and some surface-to-air missiles.
Yes, it is. Elizabeth's voice logs, found as you continue through 1984, include one that says that once she's done purifying this world, she's going to move on to others, which rather implies that her side's winning handily. Columbia is kicking the hell out of the rest of Earth.
That only gives us her game plan, it's never been in question that Columbia aims to purify everything they can find. How effective they are at following through on it is, which will require them to have something to deal with the military response and their ability to fight back is questionable.
It's important to note that we never see how all of that ends. It could go either way, but logic dictates that the United States probably wins easily after the sneak attack factor wears off. Elizabeth lacks her powers, and the United States of that world was powerful enough to construct Columbia and all its wonders in the late 1890s/early 1900s in a time of relative peace. Imagine what it could do by the 1980s under the threat of war — the time when technology tends to advance drastically. The US is also far bigger than the single flying city of Columbia, giving it an immensely larger resource and population base to work with. The city itself is hardly invincible. The Vox go toe-to-toe with the Founders with their airships and jury-rigged tech, and Booker alone tears apart most anything they throw at him. Ultimately, reality likely ensues, and the US military's jets and missiles probably wreck the slow moving city into nothing. Worse comes to worse, a nuclear warhead or two wipes out Columbia in an instant.
Logic only dictates that if you leap to the conclusion that Columbia has no hard counter for the air force. Keep in mind they had comparatively advanced firearms, a fleet of airships, reality-warping combat powers in convenient bottle form, cyborgs, and tears that let them see the future in 1912. Given another seventy-two years, they have a lot of possible options, including weaponizing the tears, even more advanced weapons and missile defense technology, the ability to send in double agents or Vigor-swilling suicide bombers, using precognition to deliberately predict and counter the American defense, a fleet of nigh-invincible Songbirds, and a ground force of advanced Handymen. The problem with this particular complaint about Infinite is that it operates on the assumption that, because all we see are a few airships throwing fire down at the city, that's all Columbia has. That really is not the case.
It's also important to note that Elizabeth might not have her powers, but Columbia still has the technological capacity to open Tears on their own. Furthermore, that's something the US government didn't have a hand in: remember, the US might have funded the quantum levitation business and the formation of the city itself, but that's the only thing they had a good idea of; Songbird, Handymen, Vigors, Tears, and so on were kept very much in Columbian hands. Plus, Booker's rampage and the Vox rebellion occurred in 1912; the attack on America occurs in the 80s — by which time nobody on the surface had figured out what the hell happened to Columbia, if you take the documentary on Columbia into account — so it might be safe to assume Columbia had a few technological revolutions of its own, enough to give it an edge. Now, that doesn't mean that Columbia would win against the US or any other country with a significant air force; it could still go down in flames, but for all we know, it might just be able to take a lot of "The Sodom Below" with it. That's not important, though: even if the Columbia we see attacking New York ultimately fails, it still exists in thousands of other universes, and given the infinite variety of the multiverse, one such Columbia might be able to successfully "drown in flame the mountains of man"... and then move onto the rest of the multiverse.
Pun aside, the potential of the tears is literally infinite, especially when it come to getting a good view of alternate 'verses and get a bounty of technology most impressive. The question is not, what can Elizabeth do with 70 years of prep' time and access to weapons and techs one cannot even imagine, the question is, what cannot she do? You can pretty much imagine the most insane mega-crossover, and the tears can make it happen. If Elizabeth feels like she needs THE Death Star to destroy New York, it's possible. If she feels like dropping the nine MP-EVA to destroy the National Guard, she can do it. Equipping Columbia with Thanix cannons? Sure. Why the hell not?
If she had such a weapon, it would have been used right from the start like the Death Star's planet-destroying laser was. Moreover, why wait so long? If she had such a thing, why not use it in the 1950s or something? Elizabeth's super powerful tears might have made the technology surge happen, but it is clearly established she no longer had that ability. Columbia would be using the much less reliable Lutece machines, which would also render the users sterile and insane like Comstock. Moreover, there are plenty of signs that this big technology boom never happened. Same old airships flying around? Check. Same infrastructure and steam punk technology (e.g. elevators) as the 1912 Columbia in the areas Booker traverses in 1984? Check. Same old voice recorders from 1912? Check. And it's not like the United States was sitting on its rump for those 70 years either. The early 1980s saw a massive expansion of the US military. Cold War America had a nuclear arsenal that could destroy thousands of cities, if not the entire world. One slow moving, flying city (that probably spent years recovering from the Vox rebellion and Booker's rampage killing hundreds of its best and brightest and thus cutting deeply into that prep time) is a prime target for nuking as it lazily flies over some empty plains. Even if it somehow destroyed the entire US, Columbia would need something to counter America's deep sea nuclear submarine fleet, and as we see with Songbird, that technology is clearly not their field of expertise.
This is an issue of someone making up their mind about how this is an accurate complaint and then refusing to accept anything that would even partially justify it. Here's what we know: in 1984 under Elizabeth's leadership, Columbia came with a fleet of airships to burn New York City to the ground and it succeeded. The city is ablaze. We see a five-second clip of the fighting and it's obvious that the airships have gotten the better of the city. America lost the fight. Any complaints by a player that America should not have lost the fight are thus pointless because not only are you not privy to the entirety of Columbia or America's game plan but you're complaining about something that, in-game, happened. You should not be asking why America lost; you should be asking why Columbia won, and their generally advanced levels of technology provide a host of potential reasons thereof, up to and including the fact that they have the ability to deliberately reshuffle the multiversal deck in any situation where they lose. Any further harping on this point is a case of someone complaining to complain, like asking why Alderaan just sat there and took it when the Death Star imploded the place.
This is a Headscratchers page. It exists specifically for the discussion of potential Plot Hole and other confusing events about the narrative. Saying that we can't argue that something doesn't make sense following in-universe logic despite it happening anyway is missing the whole point of this page. The attack on New York is confusing because, based on what we see in Comstock House and during the brief clip of the battle proper, there is no indication either way that Columbia improved its technology.
The point being that it isn't a plot hole. In order for this to be considered a plot hole, the critic must drag in a preconception from outside the narrative in order to raise it as an issue.
Within the narrative we see that the technologies of Comstock House are identical to the 1912 technology. Guns, elevators, turrets, and recorders all have no noticeable change (as that would spoil The Reveal) Likewise, when we see the brief clip of New York being destroyed there are no noticeable signs of improvement to the airships either. Strictly going off what we can see within the narrative, Columbia utterly lacks the ability to successfully wage war on the 1980s world and win. Now, we can give Handwaves that Comstock House is a decrepit ruin using outdated tech and the airships might have advancements we couldn't see, but those are external justifications to explain what, looking only at what we outright see, doesn't make any sense.
None of this matters because millions of New Yorkers are still dead. Even if America wins, that won't change the fact that the largest city in the world was burned to the ground. By that logic, Columbia still burned "Sodom".
That is exaggerating what we see in that "five-second clip" of the battle. The 1984 attack on New York by Columbia did indeed happen, and there is no doubting that, but all of these supposed outcomes like America losing and New York being reduced to nothing are never explicitly stated to happen. For all intents and purposes, they are effectively fanon. We see the attack, but we never see the outcome. Furthermore, New York and the surrounding infrastructure are surprisingly intact from what we can witness. Heck, the power is still on. The time frame and outcome of the battle are never stated. It could be shortly after the attack began, or it could be later. Also, recall that Columbia might not exactly be under Elizabeth's leadership anymore either. ("As you can see, Booker, the lunatics are running the asylum. They don't even listen to me anymore.") The Star Wars comparison doesn't work well either. Alderaan was destroyed in one shot by a super weapon they couldn't even touch. Columbia's clearly taking much more time to destroy the Big Apple with traditional bombing, and the Cold War United States still has the world's most powerful military to fight back with. Plus, how effectively 1984 Columbia can still use the Tears is questionable with the decaying infrastructure and Elizabeth lacking her powers, which provided much of Columbia's more advanced technology like Vigors. As for not shooting down the airships and their supposed free reign of the skies? While that could be a sign the US has lost, it could also be the shock of a sneak attack still being present or the hesitation by the American military to risk innocent lives by sending large chucks of burning metal to ground. We don't know. In short, other than maybe older Elizabeth's arguably biased opinion (she did spend many decades as nutty as Comstock) and limited perspective on what is happening, nothing ever explicitly says Columbia has won, and nothing ever explicitly says America is destined to lose. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
The Seed of the Prophet shall sit the throne and drown in flame the mountains of man — that is the prophecy that sets in motion the kidnapping of Anna/Elizabeth and with it the main events of the game. You seem to forget that we're dealing with people who can foresee the future and in this story there are several points where explicitly You Can't Fight Fate. Comstock brought Anna from Booker's Universe, not because she could lead Columbia, but because under her lead Columbia would win. Comstock saw it happening. How? Maybe superior technology, maybe abuse of Tears, maybe tiny gnomes sprouted out of nowhere and gave the Columbians magical powers. Bottom line, no matter how many times you flip the coin, the Seed of the Prophet will sit the throne and drown in flame the mountains of man.
But Comstock can't see the future, he can just see potential futures that he thinks are immutable. Rosalind spells it out, he thinks the Tears made by the Lutece machine are prophecy, not probability. Sure, in some worlds Elizabeth was brought back in line and laid waste to the world, but if that were a constant, Booker couldn't have saved his Elizabeth later. Comstock also claims that The false shepherd will come and lead the lamb astray but the Booker of Columbia-3 dies never seeing Elizabeth. Just because someone can see the future doesn't mean the future can't be changed and making definitive claims about said future requires a more trustworthy source than an absolute madman in the first place.
In all honesty, we don't see enough of the future city to make accurate judgements as to its technological strength: Comstock House is falling to pieces and using old technology, but given that this is Elizabeth's private hell, it's not so surprising that it's collapsing given that it's supposedly her only real sphere of influence and she hit the Despair Event Horizon years ago. It's equally possible that the amount of rubble, debris and signs of disrepair are actually due to the battles with the Sodom below, so maybe the US military — or some other government's air force — was able to do some damage. In all honesty, it doesn't matter: even if it's destroyed, it's still managed to take a good deal of New York with it. Plus, unless the US government takes the drastic step of using nuclear weapons against Columbia (in which case it'll have taken all of New York with it) then there's a chance for Columbian survivors to continue fighting. And even if they're wiped out, even if they surrender... there's still the overarching problem of the multiverse: Columbia still exists in millions of worlds, all of them hell-bent on bringing "righteousness" to the various Sodoms Below, and some where its technology doesn't stagnate.
Its unlikely Columbia could've won. They might raze New York, but they're still very screwed. Once the rest of NATO figures out what's going on, they're going to be sending all the help they can to make sure their cities don't become the next Columbia versus New York. Maybe even the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact might get in on the act and defend the United States. Not to mention the United States probably possesses the resources to destroy Columbia outright.
Or Elizabeth's real plan is to instigate a conflict by torching New York and then maybe Moscow, trying to goad someone into launching a nuclear warhead and inadvertently killing everybody. During the resulting fallout, Columbia will just lazily sail over the salted earth. The only survivors of such a conflict would be Columbia and some very determined survivors, and once those survivors are out of the way and the fallout clears, repopulating the earth with indoctrinated Columbians shouldn't be hard.
Or this might be only a fraction of the city. It's very possible that Columbia has expanded since it was first built. More room would be needed for all those people born in the last 70 years.
If Columbia can use quantum fields to suspend their city in air, then I don't imagine it would be particularly difficult for them to have it repulse any missiles or projectiles their enemies might utilize.
Honestly, the Columbia of 1912 seemed sufficiently armed and manned to take on 1984 New York. Just look at the Vigors, and think how they could turn the tide of battle pretty easily. Stuff enough crows in an F-16's engine and it will go down. Add sky barges filled with suicidally fervent soldiers, and it's a bad day for the NYC.
Just an idea, but maybe multiple Columbias are being used. Like when one is just about to be completely destroyed, another is warped in to take its place. It would become a battle of attrition, with Columbia victorious because it has (effectively) infinite resources.
Parallels to Bio Shock
Not so much a complaint as much as wondering, but in the ending Elizabeth pretty much says that in every universe there is a man, a city, a girl, and a rescue, pretty much implying that Booker is a parallel to Delta, Elizabeth to Eleanor Lamb, Comstock to Ryan, etc. Who is Jack's parallel in Infinite then?
Most likely the collective Little Sisters.
I meant which character in BioShock Infinite is the parallel to Jack, if there is one.
Booker is a parallel to both Jack and Delta, as he is the man approaching the lighthouse (Jack) and the man looking for the girl (Delta). Booker also parallels Jack in that both have false memories, and both are directly related in some way to the founder of the city (in Jack's case, father-son; in Booker's case, an alternate reality version of Comstock).
Did she really say "a girl and a rescue"? I only remember her saying "a lighthouse, a city, and a man". Since BioShock 2 was made by a different group, I'd be surprised if they made any direct, intentional, references to it.
It did only say "a lighthouse, a city, and a man" it never said anything about a girl, BioShock 2 (Delta's story) isn't a "BioShock" story, it is a story in the Rapture universe, like how the "Mind in Revolt" Novel centered around Daisy Fitzroy.
So, wait, if Booker made up the story about having a powerful and sinister patron by rearranging his memories,who killed the dude in the lighthouse, and who left the note saying "THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE" on the front door? And what about his gun, was that just a hallucination?
Likely the Luteces arranged it as motivation: given the "this is your last chance" angle, the dead guy is probably another Booker who FUBAR-ed his mission.
Just replayed the intro: next to the map in the lighthouse, there's a note reading "Be prepared, he's on his way. You must stop him. -C." Given that the place is essentially a Colombian stronghold, it's almost certain that "C" is Comstock, and the lighthouse's occupant was a Colombian fanatic who was going to assassinate Booker the moment he arrived. Presumably, the Luteces killed the man before he could get a chance, then put his corpse on display to bring the "this is your last chance" angle into sharp relief.
There's also this◊, which seems to imply that the lighthouse watchman is the "one obstacle" that the Luteces would need to deal with before Booker could ascend the lighthouse.
Booker's age is a major problem, according to the plot, he is 37-38 by the time of BI, which means that he looks improbably young for the time period. The bigger problem is that apparently, he gave his daughter away 20 years before, at that time, he was 17. First of all, there is no difference in the way Young!Booker and Old!Booker sounds, second (and most importantly), by the age of 17, he had already been a distinguished soldier, a disgraced Pinkerton agent, and gotten a daughter. I know people started earlier back then, but seriously, this is ludicrous.
Does it ever state Booker's age in 1912? Also, it is probably safer to assume that he became a Pinkerton after the messy business with Anna. Gotta kill something other than time for twenty years.
Since him and Comstock are the same. We can assume that the birth date of Comstock is the same date Booker was born.
Booker was born in 1874 (according to the Hall of Heroes), served in the military at Wounded Knee (1890, age 16) and thus was married and gave Anna away at age 18 (1892). Now I'm not very versed on marriage laws in 1890s America (specifically, the legal age of marriage), but assuming that they were married before Booker's wife was impregnated (due to the social stigma at the time), this tightens the time frame considerably.
Who's to say the Luteces grabbed Booker from 1912? They might've grabbed him from a bit earlier, thus explaining the age difference. Then, his brain filled things in when he found out he was in 1912.
"He wasn't caught up with current events."
^ Not exactly, the implication here is that he is surprised of Columbia's existence, because he come from a universe where it doesn't exist.
The Boys of Silence
Were there some last-minute changes to the Boys of Silence? The Heavy Hitters video said they'd be blind and hunt for you using sound — which makes sense, seeing as how their helmets have no eyes and giant ear horns. But in the final game, they spot you visually (how?) and ignore sounds.
Apparently by blind they meant they don't have any visible eyes, and can only "hear" through their light from their ear trumpets.
Except that doesn't make sense because the light comes from their front, not the sides. I was confused too, thinking they would detect me through sound, and it took two failures for me to realize that they worked pretty much like BioShock's cameras(stay away from the beam and you're okay; you can run past it and you'll be fine). They're still creepy like hell, but they sure weren't what they promised.
According to their page on the BioShock wiki, they were supposed to have an entirely different mode of detection where they would 'collect' sounds made by the player before attacking them, but it was cut because of the difficulty in removing ambient sounds from the game. It's a pity, unlike the security cameras there's no way to destroy them before they raise the alarm.
Forced Stealth Sequence, we have a trope for that one.
It's not, though; you CAN just shoot your way through if you're an idiot like me, since that section isn't COMPLETELY lacking in supplies. I thought the guys with the head-trumpets were all one guy, who I'd eventually get to actually kill.
The Origin of Elizabeth's power
In one Voxophone, Rosalind Lutece theorizes that Elizabeth's power came from her (a) being originally from another universe, and "the universe does not like its peas mixed with its porridge", and (b) a small part of her (her little finger) remains in her original universe. So is it the Portal Cut that actually gave her the power? And is that why Booker (and Robert before the "accident") didn't develop the same reality-warping power even though they also came from another universes?
Yes, it is the fact that her finger is in one universe (peas) and the rest of her in another (porridge). Booker and Lutece don't have such powers because they arrived in the other universe leaving none of themselves behind.
That makes no sense, because Booker and Lutece would have left parts of themselves behind in the form of hair, skin cells, etc. Does the universe just not count small parts of you?
Either that or it doesn't count parts that weren't removed by Portal Cut.
Note that the game does establish that Tears do have a cost associated with them (Comstock is dying sooner and is sterile) so it may be that those things do count but being small bits, they cause small effects.
I assumed that losing her finger to the Portal Cut meant some part of her was now technically in the place with infinite lighthouses, giving her a special status in the time-space continuum. Theoretically the same could have happened to anyone who went through a Tear, but this was probably the biggest thing.
I always interpreted that the portal cut didn't give her powers, but more that it's the quantum mechanics equivalent of sticking your foot in the door before it closes allowing you to open and close said door at will.
I got a weird camera angle when I started the end segment of the story, and I couldn't see that Elizabeth had actually produced a key out of nowhere when she was looking for a way through the door just after you leave the Bathysphere. I figured that she was actually referring to her thimble, which made sense. When I saw the key during a second playthrough, I got kinda disappointed; I thought the thimble-as-key was a better explanation.
Also one point is that Booker can see the Tears, but cannot interact with them. When they are first introduced, Elizabeth is shocked that you can see them. Apparently crossing universes lets you interact with the multiverse more, and as Elizabeth crossed over as a baby and had part of her in two universes (with a possible section in the multiverse crossing-area itself), she was able to manipulate it as a Physical God.
She's a Physical God? I'm sorry, how exactly? She can warp space as long as she can concentrate, and make things enter another existence? She can't really defend herself from a multitude of threats, and is still capable of getting captured more than a few times, and clearly threatened in Burial At Sea.
Origins of Vigors
I may have missed some voice logs, but where exactly do the Vigors came from? And how do they work? (Given the hoops Rapture must jump through to make ADAM/Plasmid work, Vigor seems far too convenient.)
Look carefully at Booker's left hand when he's got a Vigor equipped — Devil's Kiss or Undertow work best for this: the transformation that takes place as an idle animation isn't like the introductory cutscene where he actually grows the octopus flesh or sees his hands burn down to the bone — it flickers into place, almost like one of the Tears. I know it doesn't answer any questions, but the effect tells me that the Vigors weren't just stolen wholesale from Rapture like the Big Daddy tech that was used to make the Songbird; there's possibly something more complex at work.
Its actually revealed later in the gameplay that Vigors are actually derived from Elizabeth's own Tear-creating powers, with the Siphon actually draining her powers to create Vigors. So Vigors are not actually changing your DNA Rapture/Adam-style more like giving you temporary Reality Warping abilities.
Meaning that Vigors drag in abilities that Humans (or the main sentient species) that humans don't have in this world.
I don't remember it directly saying that Vigors use the powers of Tears. In Burial at Sea, it IS explicitly stated by BAS!Suchong that Fink had broken into his labs via Tears and stolen research on Plasmids. Fink actually made the advancement in Plasmids from injections to drinkable, which Suchong then stole. This is why the plasmids in BAS are exactly like Vigors. Plasmids and Vigors work exactly the same way. They are more regulated in Columbia. As to why the Colombian "Splicers" aren't malformed, Fink refined the Vigors. This can be seen in the Firemen, and POSSIBLY the Crows, as they keep themselves covered like Splicers. They were probably early testers of the Vigors. Slate's men aren't malformed, maybe because they just recently spliced themselves up?
Early art showed that Vigors actually worked by basically merging yourself with a duplicate from another reality where humans naturally have superpowers. So the Undertow Vigor basically takes your arm and merges it via Tear technology with the arm of a you from a reality where humans were amphibious and had hydrokinesis. Later it was stated that Vigors and Plasmids are literally the same thing, nixing that origin.
Armaments of Columbia
What exactly was Columbia armed with that gave it its status as a "Death Star"? I know the trailers showed giant turret cannons on the streets, but those weren't in the final game. We never really see anything bigger than the rocket automaton turrets, and most of those you have to call in through tears. Yet during the siege on New York, Columbia was shooting huge fireballs at the city — where were they coming from?
Taking a good look at the siege scene, the fireballs presumably came from the fleet of airships nearby. Plus, I don't think the turret cannons would be enough to attack anything on the ground; presumably, the imposing armaments that were used against the Boxer Rebellion were mounted on the underside of Colombia's platforms.
Thirty Colombian men died during the Boxer Rebellion. They simply landed with balloons and used infantry to attack them.
I'm pretty sure the Vox fleet that attacks your airship on the way to destroy Monument Island has giant turrets on them. Presumably Columbia has these too, underneath the buildings, only on a much larger scale.
Why don't more people use Vigors?
Why weren't more people using Vigors? In Rapture, everyone spliced themselves despite public knowledge of the downsides. I don't recall any explicitly stated downsides to Vigors, yet both sides of the civil war just stuck to firearms save the occasional Crow or Fireman.
In the case of the Fopitalist unders, I imagine that the soldiers and cops were kept on a very tight leash; presumably, they'd only give the Vigors to people they knew would toe the line. Remember, the Crows and the Firemen aren't just average joes — they're the elite. The Vox, I'm not sure: maybe the Founders seized most of the Vigor supplies before the rebel army could be made into supermen; maybe they disliked relying on Fink's products too much. As for the civilian populace, maybe it was just too expensive for most of them, or maybe it was just too dangerous to go out and buy some.
Simple, Andrew Ryan was a Canute, he didn't put any regulation on the selling of his ADAM, allowing the seller of it to sell ADAM like crazy and get people addicted to it. Comstock, being more totalitarian and religiously extreme probably kept the Vigors on a much tighter leash. Also, the game-play shows that Vigors are not addictive, nor do they appear to cause any form of side-effects (ADAM is made of self-reproducing stem cells which cause tumors to form in the brain, causing insanity).
There's a meta-explanation, too. In the original pitch for Infinite, Vigors were temporary potions that gave you a limited number of uses. It wasn't until later that they made Vigors more like Plasmids — permanent with a shared replenish-able resource system. So while Plasmids change a person forever, Vigors were a temporary drug. A lot of the combatants could've been using Vigors, but simply ran out of Vigor juice.
You can overhear someone at the fair saying they won't buy it for now because Fink hasn't perfected it yet (can't remember the exact words but the man said something about cleaning out the kinks or something) but most Vigors on Industrial Revolution are manufactured before 1910.
I can think of four reasons, two of which are a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation: 1) Even with all the advertising and samples, people are afraid of using them (see above) for pretty obvious reasons. 2) Some are only/primarily for industrial means (e.g. Shock Jockey is only advertised as a power source). 3) Vigors are temporary for everyone else — and probably expensive to replenish. 4) Normal people don't have the Salt wells that you do, making their use even more limited.
Infinite and Bio Shock 1 & 2
I get that Columbia never happens, Tears are never found etc. after the ending but... shouldn't BioShock 1/2 still take place? They don't explicitly have the characters of Booker, Comstock, Elizabeth, Songbird and so on, but they do have parallels or spiritual successors (Eleanor and Subject Delta for the last two, at least) so the idea that there's always a lighthouse, a man and a rescue would remain true as a Doctor Who style "fixed point" in time — those things always have to be there, regardless of this Columbia saga. Is this completely wrong and Booker and Elizabeth saved all of time from a Columbia whether it's flying or in the ocean? Have they just stopped Columbia happening (with Booker and Anna allowed to live their lives normally), making BioShock Infinite a prequel to BioShock 1/2?
I think the general idea is that the directly-related versions of Columbia — as in the flying xenophobic dystopia — have all been Retgonned through having their creator erased from reality. Rapture shouldn't be effected, given that Booker didn't drown Andrew Ryan, and Rapture and the other "Lighthouses" weren't the real targets of the final sacrifice. Plus, the Tears would probably still be discovered: it's just that, without Comstock around to finance them, the Lutece's experiments wouldn't have had such disastrous results (or didn't happen at all, etc).
This also however, is dependent on that Comstock built Columbia. That is never stated in game that he actually created the city. He was given a vision of the city, an was told to lead his followers to it by Archangel. I believe that he founded the floating city as Columbia and joined the Union with it. But I do not believe that he had a hand in making it. If anything I think that he was given money through the government to improve on what was already there. So we may be going back to Columbia still, maybe to deal with this "Archangel".
It's explicitly stated in the Hall of Heroes that Uncle Sam footed the bill, but that it was Comstock that lobbied for it. They also say that Comstock was the one who found his Lutece and gave her the funding from Congress. I would say you should take that with a grain of salt since this was the same museum that said Comstock was at the battle of Wounded Knee when those who were there say he wasn't... but he actually was, just under a different name. So if that was actually honest, perhaps the rest was as well?
That lead's to another question, how can a veteran turned preacher get that much influence over Congress? That's what lead me to believe that he found Columbia and maybe used congress to improve it.
"Hero" of Wounded Knee — war veterans are popular in politics. I will admit that I'm basically going on Homeland logic here, though.
Well consider real life politicians. Until recently, a number of them would bring up their military history. And for maybe a more explicit example, Reagan was an actor before becoming a politician and people use to laugh at that possibility.
It's explicitly stated in one of Lutece's Voxophones that Comstock was the one who funded her research (and that she accepted his money and pursued the creation of gates capable of physically transporting people solely so she could be with her "brother" and for no other reason — she'd been able to talk to him before then using gates that are just windows and don't let anything through, presumably the red ones we see in play. This is also how Comstock acquired his reputation as a prophet and, possibly, how he got enough of a following to attract the funding in the first place.)
But Booker was never lauded or even recognized for his part at Wounded Knee, so it probably wasn't that major (the only people who testify otherwise are Comstock and Slate, who are both deluded at best). The Congressional funding most likely stemmed more from the idea of the city itself. Columbia's original purpose was as an exhibit for the 1893 World's Fair, whose architects were fairly desperate for something that would outdo the Eiffel Tower. The Ferris Wheel filled that position IRL, but a flying city would have been much more attractive. Comstock was the one to present the idea most likely because he found Rosalind, who needed a frontman for her research because having a woman in charge of the primary World's Fair exhibit probably wasn't ideal at the time.
What happened to the kid?
What happened to the kid that got threatened by Fitzroy? He just seems to disappear after you save him.
He does disappear. If you follow him, he runs around the corner from where Elizabeth stabs Fitzroy and ends up cowering in the corner. Since you're still technically in a cutscene, you don't have access to your weapons. The only way to get them back is to go back around the corner and comfort Elizabeth, during which the game plucks him out. This is probably in place as a form of Video Game Cruelty Potential prevention, so that more sadistic players can't just shoot the kid themselves.
The Grandfather Paradox (Part 2)
Elizabeth drowns Booker/Comstock at the end, thus meaning she never gets born, right? But if she never gets born, then wouldn't that mean that she was never there to drown Booker in the first place? Unless I missed something, the end of the game seems to cause a grandfather paradox.
Elizabeth is operating outside of the normal laws of time and space, and cause and effect at that moment. There is no paradox because she is a Reality Warper who doesn't need to follow the rules. Alternatively, you could suppose that there is a paradox created, and the way the universe sorts it out (just like how Booker receives new memories when he crosses over in Comstock's timeline) is by creating The Stinger: a universe where Booker and Anna both exist, but he never gives her away.
I'd go with the latter. Because if she was not truly bound by the rules, she wouldn't have to kill Booker at all.
Maybe it's just me, but I didn't take the ending to be quite as literal as it was presented. I mean by that point Elizabeth is literally omnipotent. To me it seemed like the whole thing with the land of infinite lighthouses was her presenting us A Form You Are Comfortable With, same as why she drowns player-character-Booker. It's a literal presentation of a metaphor. As far as I can see the reason so many people are confused by the ending is because they're taking it as face value, or applying alternate universe laws they learned from Dr.Who which blatantly don't apply, when I kinda viewed it through a more metaphysical lens.
Is there a point where she ever indicates she is anywhere near omnipotent? All she says is she can see all the realities. For starters that doesn't indicate omnipotence or ability to break the rules established by this universe (not Doctor Who). And she doesn't even know she has the key to the realities at first even with her powers unlocked.
She can see everything that was, is, and will be happening in every reality in existence. I'd say that's pretty omnipotent.
I'm being horrendously pedantic, but that sounds more along the lines of omniscience. Omnipotence means the ability to do literally anything: Elizabeth is capable of an awful lot by the end of the game, but she's still limited in some ways. For example, she's able to open a Tear to Rapture, but she has to actually find the appropriate door and key before she can access the Sea of Lighthouses.
Elizabeth did not kill Booker in all timelines. She only killed him in the timelines where he went through with the baptism and became Comstock. The Bookers that rejected the baptism lived on to father Anna.
No, they didn't. Elizabeth killed the Booker that even went to the baptism. The only Bookers that survived were the ones that never even WENT.
No, she didn't. She killed all the Bookers who didn't reject the baptism. The only threats were the ones who were 'reborn again'. A Booker who doesn't drop into the drink isn't in danger of becoming Comstock at all.
Rapture and Columbia
Does Rapture get built because of Columbia or in spite of Columbia? Or to put it simply, when you Retgone Columbia, did you Retgone Rapture as well, or did you create some ripples through time like in the Red Alert series that caused it to form instead?
It sounds like you get Rapture, OR you get Columbia, OR you get another lighthouse, another man, and another city. Those last 3 are "constants" in this multiverse, but the details of where, how, and who are different.
The Water of Battleship Bay
Where does Battleship Bay get so much water? Not only do they have a freakin' beach on an airship, but they're pumping tens of thousands of gallons of water off the side in their own personal Niagara Falls. You can't pull that much from the air without dozens or hundreds of miles worth of rainfall to feed it (like, say, Niagara Falls does).
Perhaps there's another part of Columbia below that collecting the water and pumping it back up to be recycled? Or the water is being/created pulled through a Tear?
If you go a bit out of your way, you can find a pump room where Elizabeth comments on how it uses a system of pumps and rain catchers to fuel the beach. Most likely the water being dumped off the edge is getting collected and put back just like a backyard water fountain.
Clouds are also just condensed water vapor. It's not unlikely that they get all their water from the clouds. An average white fluffy cloud weighs about 216,000 pounds. And that's all water.
This troper always thought that Battleship Bay was actually an island on the world's surface, being the only ground-based part of Columbia, and that it would be abandoned whenever Columbia had to go somewhere.
Quantum mechanics also could have done it, would do it, and should do it.
The term "quantum flapdoodle" should be used more often.
Amazing Disappearing Handyman
There's a section where Elizabeth has gotten angry at you and run away, and you have to pursue her through Finkton. You catch up with her as she's captured by the Founders and you have to fight them to free her. At the end of this fight, a Handyman appears to retrieve her and beats the stuffing out of you, tossing you casually over the side to your death. Elizabeth has to conjure a zeppelin to save you, you manage to hang on and float back up... and everything is fine. The story proceeds and Elizabeth and Booker patch things up. Where did the Handyman go?
Maybe Elizabeth got rid of him with a Tear offscreen, or maybe he just got bored and left.
Elizabeth and Lady Comstock's Dress
Liz changes into Lady Comstock's dress◊ on the airship. So...why didn't she put on the blue top with the white lacy bits? In the 1900's, a corset served as support underwear like a bra today would, so why does Liz decide to run around shirtless?
She says apologetically that they didn't have anything else, so presumably she couldn't find the missing top and decided that the corset was a better option than the bloodied blouse.
Also some fridge logic, since the Vox Populi were on the airship previously and had used it as a medical bay, they might have used some fabric for bandages or given them to other impoverished families. Perhaps it was used only in emergencies because Fitzroy was treated kindly by Lady Comstock?
Elizabeth, the Bird and the Cage
Why does Liz never question it when presented with the necklace choice (bird/cage) by R. Luteces? Her reaction was just "ooh, pretty". You'd think she'd realize they're the same symbols on her cell door and the key Booker gave her and question the twins as to what they know, or shun both as a reminder of her captivity. And when she changes her clothes, she even swaps her shoes but leaves the obvious gaudy choker untouched?
The gaudy choker chosen for her by Booker, who's her only real friend in the world? Liz was hopped up on sunshine and freedom. She might not actually care about being reminded of her captivity (cage) or might like it as a reminder of what she's been freed from. The bird might be a symbol of freedom, or remind her of Songbird. It's not like Liz knows whether birds and cages are commonly found on cameos.
Letting a Prisoner practice lockpicking?
You'd think allowing a girl locked in a room tales of wonderful far off places (posters of Paris in her room), a way to secretly write things down (codes) and not doing anything about clear indications of wanting to leave (learning how to pick locks, let alone get her hands on one) would be a bad idea. Why didn't they start the indoctrination program at Comstock House earlier? Why not teach her to love daddy Comstock from an early age and school her towards her role as Columbia's leader? As is she's only read about the guy and doesn't even know he's her father, which can't be very conductive to following in his footsteps.
Some of these questions can be answered with "Tears", as not every object that she owns was necessarily actually given to her deliberately. But it is a good question why Comstock didn't let Elizabeth know about her heritage and planned future, or stock her library with his own brand of nationalistic and religious propaganda.
Elizabeth mentions that Songbird used to bring her books and toys for entertainment when she was younger, so maybe that's where she got them from? I don't think he really knows or cares about the difference between "Les Miserables" and "Duke and Dimwit", but then again who knows...
Who knows indeed? Maybe Comstock did try and stock her library with propaganda, but Elizabeth threw them away through a Tear and replaced them with the stuff Songbird gave her. I'd imagine that he was hoping for a good reception when he finally allowed her to leave so she could take up his mantle, which might explain why he was using kids gloves up until the events of Comstock House. And another thing: those aren't posters in Elizabeth's room — they're paintings that she made herself, based on what she could see through the Tears.
All I'm getting is a mental image of Songbird perching outside a Barnes & Noble, tearing the roof off of it, and bringing Elizabeth back a shelf like no one's business. Songbird doesn't seem discrete enough for that.
There are all the warning signs about "DO NOT APPROACH THE SPECIMEN" and such, so maybe they designed her prison, stocked it with bookshelves and hidden cameras/one-way glass, and then went "Well crap, she's lockpicking and all we can do is observe her because nobody's allowed to interact with the specimen".
The lockdown of Monument Tower
If the Luteces have "disappeared" several years prior to the events of the game (as stated by Elizabeth during one of the cutscenes) then why is there still a warning sign in the Monument Tower stating that access requires authorization from Rosalind Lutece?
The place looks pretty trashed, most likely by the tears that Elizabeth subconsciously opens or the Siphon accidentally generates. It's possible that no one has actually entered the place since the Luteces' disappearance apart from the Songbird.
It's implied in-game that nobody has really been in there, or at least not to work, since the Luteces "deaths" — note that on all the equipment, the last age they monitored Elizabeth at was 17, which was her age in 1909 when the Luteces were "killed".
Okay, so what is the general deal of the Comstock house? Was it Comstock's personal residence? What exactly is this place? A mental asylum? Hospital? Prison? Why do the inmates wear founder masks? What is Silent Boy doing? Is the whole game section taking place in the alternate 1984? If so why do they still use the same weapon and technology? Why is every room labeled as "Where we [verb]"? This place is one gigantic headscratcher for me, much more so than the ending.
Just speculating here, but I think it used to be Comstock's residence. Then, once he imprisoned Elizabeth there, it became a prison for her. Then, when Elizabeth took over in the Bad Future, it ended up degenerating into her own private insane asylum, with the inmates being people driven crazy by the same kind of Tear sickness suffered by Chen Lin.
There's a sign in the Bad Future that states that it has been turned into the "Comstock Rehabilitation Centre". Presumably, this is where Bad Future Elizabeth rounds up any dissenters and "re-educates" them, hence why everyone is wearing those weird masks and react so violently when the Silent Boy orders them to attack.
Songbird & Tears
Is the "original" Songbird actually following you through the Tears? It's confirmed that in the third universe that you visit, Elizabeth was never rescued, so the Songbird of that dimension wouldn't be interested in chasing the two of you down. Plus, just before Elizabeth is recaptured, you see that Songbird has a crack in its eye just like the one you first encountered, so maybe it is. But this raises another question: when you follow it to Comstock house, have you actually followed it right back to the Columbia you first visited? Just looking to straighten things out in my mind.
Another question in the same vein; has the first Comstock been chasing you as well? Because the showdown clearly takes place in a universe undergoing a full-blown Vox uprising, yet both the Songbird and Comstock seem to match up with facts and events established in the first version of Columbia you visit.
They establish very early on that the alternate timelines often only differ from one another in one simple way; what Elizabeth says as an example is "tea instead of coffee." Comstock doesn't change between universes because most of the time, when Elizabeth jumps universes, he's a constant factor that isn't affected directly by the change she's hoping to exploit.
Elizabeth doesn't just jump into another universe, she merges them. If you note: anyone you killed might be alive, but all the barrels you looted are still looted, the tower is still half-destroyed, and Elizabeth never encounters her double, nor is there a hint that she has one. Neither does Booker have a "me and me team up" scenario in universe 2. It's weird, but she's deliberately messing with things.
The Ending & "Better" Universes
Okay, so at the end, Comstock is Booker who got Baptized, so in order to prevent Comstock from creating/ruling Columbia, The Elizabeths from a lot of Alternate Universe drown Booker. That's fine and all, but, Where are all the Elizabeths who had their lives improve from being Kidnapped? What about all of the Good Columbia's that weren't ruled through fear and superhuman soldiers? Or the Comstock's who didn't become Racist, Insane Bigots who somehow found all these wonders of Science? As a matter of fact, where are all the Booker's who didn't become drunkards after Wounded Knee? BioShock Infinite's ending fails when you realize that for every bad Alternate Universe, there's a dozen or more good ones! So where are they? And why aren't their opinions voiced over Drowning Booker?
None of those realities are a part of the system. Infinite doesn't seem to follow the classic "many worlds"-model so much as a variation similar to the one described in Terry Pratchett's Night Watch. It posits that a person can only be considered the same in the universes where they do the same decisions. Booker DeWitt who has experienced the horrors of Wounded Knee and the loss of his wife only has two main paths before him with the baptism as the turning point, smaller variations notwithstanding. The alternate Bookers who haven't reached the Despair Event Horizon aren't a part of the story; they have lead different lives, so they are outside the equation altogether. They are not the same person as the Booker who has only the two paths to choose from. There are no good Columbias, because Booker will only fínd the city if he becomes Comstock. Maybe there's a prosperous Booker who fill find a benign floating city somewhere out there, but that city is not Columbia and that Booker is not Comstock.
To punctuate this fine answer, consider the case of the coin flip during the fair. If the game truly subscribed to the infinite worlds theory, then the results would be a rough 50/50 split. However, the coin result is always Heads: there exists no universe where the coin flip is Tails. This event is here to emphasise the fact that, according to the mechanics of the BioShock Infinite universe, there are some events that will always proceed the same way. Booker can choose to throw the baseball at the couple, at the announcer or not at all, but he will always choose ball 77 (even after explicitly being told not to) and he will always be "outed" as the False Shepherd. In the same way, Columbia will always be a cesspool of racism, Booker will always be a drunkard, Comstock will always be a crazy person, etc, etc.
In the story, we have two infinities: an infinite number of worlds where Booker is good (infinity A) and an infinite number of worlds where he is bad (infinity B). Regardless of permutation, that is constant. There are also an infinite number of worlds where he becomes neither the Booker or Comstock we know (infinity C). C does not matter since we're not trying to destroy or create them because the decision involved in their creation are different than A and B (C is in fact larger than A + B since A only differs than B by 1 where as C differs from both by infinity). Thus removing 1 from A + B wouldn't really affect C since C - 1 is still infinity (just slightly smaller). So C remains relatively unaffected while A + B are removed. Alternatively, for the events of the game to happen, you must have a D from which A and B are derived from: A + B must be, at most, equal to D. So there are an infinite number of worlds where Booker and Liz drown Booker and that must happen (or else A + B would be greater than D). Because without D, A + B would not exist anyway. Now, there may be worlds where they do not drown Booker (infinity E)... but Liz brings in other (many) Lizs to enforce it meaning that the infinity that do not drown booker must be less than the infinity that do. Even if there is only 1 extra Liz to help drown Booker, this must mean that there are at least twice as many infinities where Booker must drown compared to the ones where he does not (because extra-Liz would drown her own plus help another). Therefore, Booker will always drown because that infinity is greater... by an infinity amount. Infinity is funny that way.
For a non-game simply explanation on how infinity works: imagine you must board a train. There are, in fact, only two possible outcomes. You miss the train or you board the train. Because missing the train by 5 minutes is the same as missing the train by 10 minutes or being a day late. Likewise, getting on board 5 minutes early is the same as getting on 10 minutes early. These infinities seem equal... however, boarding the train requires that you be at the train station at some point in time. If you are a day early, this is not the same as being 10 minutes early. It is the same as missing the train. Likewise, if you get killed on the way there, you decide to take the plane, etc, this is also missing the train. Boarding the train has stricter requirements than missing the train (being on time, being at the right station, etc.) — thus the circumstances for boarding the train must be smaller than those for missing the train. Thus the missing the train infinity must be bigger than the boarding the train infinity. This while both are infinity possibilities, it's also infinity more likely that you miss the train.
The First Lady Airship
Why does Booker seem to think the First Lady Airship is their only ticket out of the city at first? The entire city is built out of airships (hence the schedules you can see when you leave the welcome center at the start), how hard would it have been to hijack some barber's workplace and fly to New York? Now, obviously the real reason they couldn't leave was the Songbird, but Booker didn't know that at first, and what about the First Lady would have kept Songbird from attacking it in his mind?
Most of the airships you find are the kind with one switch that only go along a pre-programmed route, or police boats which don't respond to you. It's not clear how the buildings are piloted around — you never find any controls in anyone's home or shop, and they seem rather slow to make any getaway while the police have gunboats. Booker did meet Songbird before seeing the ship, so he may have chosen it because it looked tough enough and fast enough to deal with the bird. He may have also had fuel requirements in mind — it looked more long-range than most other airships around.
This is made particularly jarring by how impulsive their decision to go for the First Lady is in the first place — they literally just decided to steal the first airship whose name they hear, then become outrageously fixated on it to the point where they're willing to go through insanely convoluted quest chains, supply arms to violent revolutionaries, and bring back the dead just to get their hands on it. It stretches suspension of disbelief that that could be the only airship capable of reaching the ground, especially since when you meet up with Elizabeth again after your first escape attempt fails, you see her trying and failing to stow away on an airship that presumably would get her off of Columbia.
This gets sillier when you consider the First Lady is Comstock's personal airship, so it would be easy to spot and its absence would definitely be noted.
It's not a question of their monomaniacal determination, it's that they have it. Booker finds it more feasible to run what he thinks will be a short errand for Daisy than to go all the way back up to the lanes and steal another airship entirely. He has no idea he's going to end up in the middle of a revolution, and the only reason he does is because he and Elizabeth start screwing around with the flow of time itself.
The buildings are probably towed around by some sort of airborne tugboats, rather than being self-propelled.
I always assumed that Comstock's personal airship was the only, or one of the few, vehicles allowed to travel freely too and from Columbia. After all, the only way in is a one-way rocket trip, and Comstock seems like the type to heavily regulate travel to and from his city.
Strangely, Booker already HAD another airship in the process of trying to get back the First Lady — the gigantic airship shooting rockets at him. He decided to destroy it from the inside out rather than commandeer it. That airship also had a number of advantages over the First Lady — it was heavily armed, nigh-impossible to shoot down, was larger (and therefore presumably had equal or greater range than the First Lady), and it seemed to be semi-autonomously controlled just like the First Lady was. Maybe Booker and Elizabeth just prefer traveling in style?
For all its advantages, that airship also had one glaring flaw — it looked like it required an entire crew to man it. Even if it could be piloted by just two people, those two people probably don't know how to pilot it anyway (Elizabeth MIGHT, but Booker certainly doesn't). In contrast, the First Lady only requires you to set the coordinates, and the ship seems to do the rest.
Also worth noting is that by then, Booker and Elizabeth were caught in the midst of an active war zone, with all the difficulties that would imply.
A different question about the First Lady's Airship: How come no one noticed The First Lady's Airship flying near Finkton and just suddenly threw a man out off it? After you stand up, there are a lot of guards there and even two or three Mosquitoes.
What is the Songbird?
What manner of creature is the Songbird, exactly? It doesn't seem to be a mechanical robot like the Patriots, its movements are too fluid and organic. Elizabeth also said it used to bring her books and things when she was younger, suggesting it is a living creature. And it drowns at the end of the game. But on the other hand, it's far bigger than a man and the proportions are all wrong. Its neck is absurdly long and its legs are digitigrade, so it can't just be a dude in a suit. So what is it?
Since it wasn't really explored in the game, 2K probably deliberately chose to leave it a mystery — one of those situations where they say, "Whatever the gamer imagines is probably scarier than what we could come up with." Maybe a lab-grown creature with cybernetic implants? A mutated bird?
It's a cybernetic monstrosity created by Mr. Fink, using the Big Daddies of Rapture as inspiration with the aid of the tears. Fink's recording on the subject seems to indicate that there is a human in there, permanently fused with the machinery. What made him behave like a deranged Yandere bird is anybody's guess. I do like about the WMG which suggests that the Songbird is yet another alternate Booker, though.
His behavior is heavily implied to be the result of conditioning and good old fashioned Brainwashing.
It doesn't drown; it sort of implodes from water pressure because it's engineered for the pressure in high altitudes. It is stated that Songbird is mostly leather though, so it could be smaller without the suit.
Except it clutches its throat and is clearly in distress before its eyes begin to crack. I'm sure the pressure wasn't comfortable for it, but it looks a lot more like a death by drowning than a death by crushing.
It's entirely possible it also drowned (does Songbird even breathe?) but it died of inability to deal with low pressure, it was foreshadowed on the chalkboard diagram of Songbird in Fink's.
Well, either way, the fact that it can die means it must be alive, which means it must be at least partly organic and not a robot.
What makes me lean towards "lab created creature", though, is those legs (or more to the point, those feet). And that adds even more confusion to the fact that, even so, they gave it humanoid arms.
It's been stated that Fink learned how to make song bird by peeping through a Tear and seeing Big Daddies being built. So it is entirely possible that the creature is part organic.
Goal-line, New York
What would happen had Booker successfully taken Elizabeth back to New York? Would he then remember what he did and broke down in front of her or would the Lutece come and explain everything?
It is implied that he never manages to take her to New York, as Songbird always shows up to stop him. So the question is moot, in a way.
Yup. Never getting back to New York is one of the constants, just like the coin coming up heads. Why he doesn't get to New York is where things deviate from one another.
The Ending & The Luteces
So in regards to the ending, wouldn't it have made more sense to kill the Lutece twins instead of Comstock/Booker? I mean it was their research that allowed Columbia to even be a possibility in the first place. Without them, Comstock would probably have been just another nutty right wing fanatic. And surely there are other people who would have worked with them to acheive something similar. Was that just not an option due to their being unstuck in time?
They already tried that. Fink's attempts to kill them and make it look like an accident were what caused them to be scattered across all of time and space in the first place. At the beginning, when you get the shield Infusion thing, you can try shooting them and it doesn't work. Funny little example of The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, but it makes sense in the story. You can't kill them because they'd still be alive and exist in every other moment and location across the multiverse.
They're not even alive in the first place; Rosalind acknowledges that they are dead, and there were two bodies at the scene of the accident. They seem to have transcended life itself to become some sort of extra-dimensional entity. It’s likely they couldn't even commit suicide, even if they wanted to. Granted, Rosalind herself seems uncertain as to what exactly happened.
If you shoot the "twins" in the room where you get the shield, they'll just say "That won't work" or "We can do this all day, can you?" In other words, they can't die, since they don't really exist.
Booker's Amazing Jumping Skills
What kind of a Superman is Booker that he can leap several times his own height to reach those Sky-Lines?
Booker was as surprised as anyone the first time it happened. He brushed it off as "it must be magnetized". Magnets or not, the Sky-Hook probably runs on some kind of Columbian superscience.
There is a diagram in one of the Art books of the Sky-Hook connected to the handle by a make-longer sort of mechanism.
Correct question is, what kind of a Superman is Booker that he can keep his arm and not get it torn off from those jumps and falls? And you know what else? None of his bones break when he lands from quite a way up on the hooks near Comstock House.
The Ending & What Happens to the Luteces
So if the Comstocks are undone by the ending, what about the Luteces? Do they remain smeared across space and time? Or will they be restored to normal and never discover each other? Or worse yet, will the omnipresent versions of them exist alongside their original versions?
Hard to say, since the nature of what they have become is left very vague. Logic dictates that if Comstock never came to be then the Luteces never performed their first Tear experiment and thus never met (probably). But with the weird quantum scattering they've undergone, logic goes completely out the window. All of the options may have come true at once.
Travelling through the Tears
Does traveling through the tears merge the two dimensions in a weird way? After traveling through a tear some of the people are in a weird dead/live state and memories get seem to get mixed up. So by tear jumping is Elizabeth going to a new world or overwriting the original?
Seems to be a combination of both. Pulling elements from another world into the one they inhabit resulting in a merger, although later she gains the ability to outright travel to other worlds. It would explain why Comstock and Songbird chase you through all the different worlds despite the fact that you never return to your "original" dimension.
So Chen Lin was able to operate his shop due to his wife being related to Fink's chief of security, but she's Chinese like Chen in the original universe. So that means Fink had a Chinese person in a high-ranking position, despite all game being emphasized how Fink is easily the most racist of all the Columbians. Only in the alternate reality is Chen Lin's wife a white person who having a brother be in charge of Fink's security make more sense.
Which is why he's killed in the "original" timeline. Fink's racist but that doesn't mean he's completely stupid. He likely recognized Chen's talents but once the interrogation came around figured he'd gotten what use out of him he needed.
I am more confused about the alternate reality where Chen Lin is married to a white woman. Comstock's regime is, as we know, extremely racist, and cracks hard on interracial marriage, as evidenced by the events of the raffle. They don't seem to be any softer in the alternate universe, so how did Lin and his wife avoid a public stoning with baseballs, again?
Chen's wife wasn't related to the head of security in the first time line. In the second timeline, Chen married someone else.
In Timeline #1, Chen is an independent craftsman who is kidnapped and tortured to death for his ties to the Vox Populi. In Timeline #2, he's the same independent craftsman who happens to be married to a well-connected white woman. That white woman's brother is Fink's head of security, which means she can marry whomever the fuck she wants. The people who'd be sent to arrest her for miscegenation are also the people who work for her brother, which is why Timeline #2 Chen gets his charges dropped.
Yet the police still confiscate his tools?
Of course they do. He's still a gunsmith with overt connections to an insurrectionist movement, and even in the timeline where he survives, he was still arrested. He was simply let go unharmed with the charges dropped. They were going to interrogate him right up until word came down not to.
Even Hitler let Jews who he thought were useful live (most notably his late mother's doctor), and Himmler was recorded as saying "I decide who is a Jew". These two fanatical racists were able to make concessions, so why should Comstock be any different? My personal guess is that he was an extremely skilled gunsmith and armed most of Fink's personal army, leading to a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness scenario when it was revealed that he was planning to supply the Vox.
Columbia & Non-Whites, Non-Americans
Speaking of the interracial marriage above, Columbia and its rulers are extreme racists... So what is the point of bringing along other races at all? Wouldn't Comstock think that bringing other races in his White, American Utopia would lead to their downfall, and thus not want them up there? It doesn't make sense he would bring "minorities" with him...
Cheap, easy labour that had been conditioned to think of the white man as their moral and physical superior — with Fink's technology and the soldiers loyal to Comstock it likely never occurred that the Vox would be able to muster enough resistance. Having a downtrodden people fill in all the "unclean" jobs lets white folk swan around doing the "proper" things, above getting their hands dirty.
They probably had no choice. Columbia was originally part of the United States, and under the Privileges and Immunities Clause they could not bar non-whites from moving into Columbia even if they wanted to. Obviously, they could have expelled non-white Columbians after they seceded from the Union, but at that point they had grown dependent on the cheap labor.
This is actually explained in one of the earliest Voxophones that you find in the game where Mr. Fink mentions acquiring some black prisoners for forced labor; the people of Columbia consider their home a paradise on Earth, but at the end of the day someone has to take out the trash, keep the machines running and do all sorts of other menial work that doesn't fit together with the heavenly image Comstock is trying to create. What better solution is there than to get some of the "inferiors" aboard to do them and remind the main populace that they are the finer stock? Many even seem to imagine that they are doing them a favor by letting them stay in Columbia, if only as menial labor wage-slaves.
From what we see in-game, there are only a small number of "darkies" around, most of the lower-class workers and Vox Populi fighters actually seem to be "palefaces", many of them with Irish accents. It could seem that Comstock and the Founders actually only tolerated a very small number of servants/workers of non-European stock, preferring to use lower-class European Immigrants for menial work. Come to think of it, Columbia was launched at a time when immigration from Central and Eastern Europe was high, which makes it remarkable that there is no sign of "Bohunks", not to mention Jews in the city.
Unlike Ryan, Comstock realized he'd need cheap labor to maintain his flying city and scrub the toilets, so perhaps he simply decided to use people he'd consider worthy of those tasks?
There are some signs that there might be Jews in the city. One of the vending machines in Shantytown has had the words "yid" and "heeb" (both antisemitic slurs) painted over it. It seems weird to have antisemitic slurs if there aren't any semitic people around. Also, the tie-in game Industrial Revolution sometimes mentions the Vox Populi's legal advisor is a man named John Goldman. That looks like a Jewish name. It's likely that there are indeed at least some Jewish people in Columbia, but that the player simply never meets one.
Or that you meet them all the time, but like a lot of real-world Jewish people, they aren't going by their birth names.
Remember, part of the downfall of Rapture is that it was stocked only by the best. Which created resentment because someone had to do the lowliest jobs. Bringing along a lower caste to do these things means that people will know, at a glance, who's labor and who's not.
In this troper's interpretation, Columbia's inhabitants were initially no more racist than the rest of 1890s America, but the combination of the city's isolation and Comstock's personal bigotry caused massive social deterioration, resulting in the racial fear-hate that permeates the city.
Booker Prime's Memories
Wait, I'm still confused about why Booker Prime doesn't remember giving Elizabeth away. Where did his new memories come from? And wouldn't it have been better if he knew the truth from the beginning?
He does remember. He mentions Anna a few times during the game, he just doesn't know it's Elizabeth.
But why not let Booker in on that fact? It would be a hell of a motivator.
He actually doesn't remember. Shortly after you meet Elizabeth for the first time, she asks Booker if he's married. He says he was, but his wife died in childbirth, and when Elizabeth asks if he has a child, he simply says "No." As Rosalind Lutece says in the epigram that begins the game, a person who's brought into an alternate timeline will automatically begin to fashion a set of alternate memories to accommodate the conflict. As far as Booker's concerned, he's a childless, widowed war veteran and ex-Pinkerton who's come to Columbia to discharge a gambling debt by finding a girl. Any time someone tells him things are otherwise, he gets a nosebleed and insists that what he remembers is the gospel truth. It takes Elizabeth at full power to break the conditioning and force him to admit what the truth of the matter really is. The Luteces could tell him the real story until they were blue in the face but it wouldn't do any good.
I didn't take that "No" to mean that he forgot about his child, but that he literally didn't have one. Booker gave Anna away to settle the debt and he didn't want to explain that fact (or just didn't want to talk about it) to Elizabeth.
No, Booker in-game doesn't remember his baby at all. There's a reason why, any time Booker ends up back in his office in a dream sequence, he's never able to go through the side door into the closet. That's because it's where the cradle is. It's also why he isn't able to tell Elizabeth how she lost her finger in the ending, despite Booker seeing her finger get severed in dramatic slow-motion when he fails to get Anna back. In the version of himself he's manufactured upon stepping into the Columbia timeline, he isn't a father. Remember, the process by which a person makes new memories upon stepping into the new timeline isn't something the Luteces control; it's an automatic survival mechanism that Lutece even comments upon, both in the epigram that starts the game and in dialogue during the ending sequence. If PC!Booker remembers his daughter at all, it's subconsciously.
While the fact of going through a Tear scramble normal minds, don't forget that Booker's mind came already scrambled before the twins takes him through the Tear. Remember, he is a vet, suffering PSTD, who loses his wife in childbirth, before his child gets stolen by a flippin' dimension traveler and gets Fingored by a Portal Cut. Do not ask why is Booker not remembering his child, ask how he managed to be a barely functional individual without an army of badass therapists to back him up. Heck, as far as I can see, the passage through the initial Tear probably repaired a good deal of his psyche.
Why is Old, Fanatical, Let's-Destroy-New-York-As-Dad-Wanted Elizabeth so anxious to help Booker stop everything? She's been tortured and brainwashed into sharing Comstock's fanaticism. If, after all that torture, she genuinely broke and held The Faith, shouldn't she do everything possible to prevent Booker from going back and stopping these developments? If she was only pretending to break to stop the torture, didn't she take the act a bit far? Maybe cut it out before sparking a holocaust? Like, the second Comstock dies? I know she mentions at one point that she "can't stop what she's started," but that seems a bit of a Hand Wave.
Note: I'm sure I've missed an alternate universe or Elizabeth in there somewhere.
There's a long trail of Voxophones in 1984, recorded by Elizabeth, which go into the details of the plan, along with the Tears that Booker finds. When she's first being indoctrinated, she's waiting for Booker to get there and save her, but Songbird always showed up to stop him. By the time she's besieging New York, her powers are shriveling and her faith went with them. That's enough of a break for her to make one last play: bring Booker forward to meet her instead of waiting for him to find her.
She wants to stop because even brainwashed and crazy, the horror of what she has become is still clear to her. She's also been conditioned to go along with Comstock's plan to the point where her will to do otherwise is gone. And that point in time might actually be the soonest chance she had to call Booker to her. An invasion was probably keeping the normal security around busy.
She says that she's no longer running things. Something along the lines of "the inmates are running the asylum". She may have intended to go through with the plan initially. By the time she regrets it, it's way too late. Not even she can stop it. She says she had to use the last of her power to bring Booker to her.
Esther and Annabelle
There is only one thing I do not understand. Why did Esther, the Founder Police Woman, start calling Elizabeth "Annabelle"? It was pretty much a complete secret that Elizabeth was Annabelle up until The Reveal and there was no reason given as to why she would call her that.
I thought that she called her a different name on purpose so Elizabeth would say "No, my name is Elizabeth." That way she would know for certain that she was the girl she needed. I think the fact that "Anna" is in "Annabelle" is just a coincidence.
Pretty much exactly this. It was a sting operation so that Esther knew she was talking to the right person. Almost immediately after this encounter, you can find a Voxophone from Esther preparing for her encounter with "the False Shepherd".
Another possibility: While it might not have been shown to the player (since it would have been massively spoilery), calling Elizabeth Anna might have caused her to get a nosebleed due to the dimensional-dissonance effect, just like Booker gets a nosebleed whenever he's confronted with contradictory memories from his original world. In that case, Esther could have been instructed to call her that in order to test for that specific reaction. Of course, a bigger Fridge Logic is why on earth Booker didn't tell Elizabeth to use a false name the moment they were alone — even if the name is common, there's no reason to make it any easier to find her, is there? For that matter, wear some gloves, both of you, seriously. (Again, there would probably be a lot of people expecting the False Shepherd to do that, but it'd be better than wearing the obvious brand all the time.) And maybe change clothes? Honestly, they're not very good at hiding, which might explain why Booker has to murder so many people.
One problem with this theory is that nobody other than Elizabeth knows about the memory collision = nosebleed theory, and she only knows that because they went dimension-hopping later down the line. This brings about the second problem: They had not hopped across dimensions yet, and so there are no secondary memories that could cause this nosebleed. Finally, the third problem with this theory is that there is no way for Annabelle to know that Elizabeth's original name was Anna. The "disguising yourself" bit was under-explored, though, maybe to keep the characters identifiable and consistent?
The Ending & Elizabeth
In the ending, what happens to your Elizabeth? The Elizabeth who follows you through the final door is missing her necklace and Booker asks her who she is. Where did yours go?
Wherever she wants. She's God at that point; she's every Elizabeth that could be there, there at once.
A god whose only solution was to kill Booker rather than send a note or tell past Booker not to do the baptism. So much for seeing all the doors.
Technically, she is doing exactly what Booker asked her to do, she even asked him if he was sure. he told her he wanted to go to Comstock's cradle and choke him to death... and since Comstock was born from Booker being baptized... well, you get the picture. That's the big thing, this wasn't just Elisabeth's solution, Booker ASKED for it. he just didn't know WHAT he was asking for at the time.
Booker is headstrong, irrational, guilt-ridden, skeptical and prone to fits of rage. A note wouldn't have sufficed.
So the now nearly omnipotent Elizabeth can't figure out a way to stop Booker from becoming Comstock without killing him? When does it even say she is anywhere near godlike anyway? She just says she can see everything and Elizabeth is known to be naive. Her own actions show she is nowhere near a god.
To be fair, just because she's omnipotent doesn't mean there's another way to stop Booker from becoming Comstock.
She's powerful enough that she might as well be a god. What's the problem here? Just because she isn't literally all-powerful doesn't mean she can't be considered godlike.
Except it never defines how strong she really is at all by the end. It never even says if she's any stronger than the Lutece twins who can still arguably see more than she even could since they can literally be at all points in time at will.
Lutece speculates in one Voxophone that as a person continues to travel from Tear to Tear, their essence essentially gets diluted to base elements, or a "ideal self" as it were. It could be that at the final point, your Elizabeth ceases to be, merging into the "original Elizabeth" from which all deviations are measured.
Furthermore, as you may well know, Booker DeWitt (as we know him) was the one who went to the baptism, but rejected it. The one who went to the baptism and accepted it would go on to become Comstock. Both of them are the product of Booker's decision to go ahead with or run away from his baptism: thus, any attempt by Booker to evade his baptism would invariably create the Booker we know, which would still allow the possibility for Comstock to exist. The only way to prevent Comstock's existence would be to ensure that Booker's baptism at that point in time has only one possible conclusion.
Vending Machines in Shantytown
Why are there vending machines in Shantytown (including the rather expensive Minuteman and Vigor machines)? Shantytown is the poorest part of the city, a part where most people can barely even make enough money to feed their children. How can a machine that sells expensive weapon modifications and Vigor upgrades (costing anywhere between several hundred to over a thousand Silver Eagles) make a profit in such a poor part of town?
Maybe the vending machines predate the area being Shantytown? Alternatively, if you're a wealthy Columbian and you wind up in Shantytown, you sure as heck are going to want some protection.
Nobody sets out to build a slum. It's a place that is created by exterior factors. Its original manufacturers clearly intended for it to be a residential district, but as economic inequality and the class struggle slowly got worse in the years following Columbia's secession, anyone who could afford to move elsewhere did until all who were left were the poor and largely hopeless. The vending machines are thus an artifact of happier times, and are still stocked because nobody there can afford to buy the mostly-nonperishable goods in them.
Interesting note: Shantytown wasn't always called as such. There's a large sign atop the door leading there. It once said "Finkton Worker Housing" (I think) before "Shantytown" was painted over it.
Law of Interdimensional Continuity
So in the third universe (Vox-Have-Weapons one) Booker never found Elizabeth because she was moved out of the tower. Then Booker died... Then why does World III Comstock mention that she destroyed her tower during her escape (and we indeed see the tower destroyed)? It'd make sense if the tower was destroyed by Booker's failed attempt to find Elizabeth, but Comstock blames her for it, despite the fact that she wasn't there to destroy it, by his own orders.
I'd brush it off as a simple plot hole (plot Tear?), but if I had to give a reason, then I'd guess that the reason for Elizabeth being moved was that she made a successful escape on her own.
The Luteces' Plan
What was the Luteces' plan when they hired Booker and brought him to Columbia in the first place? They clearly didn't need him to get Elizabeth themselves. I assume it was some plan to stop Comstock from existing, but why go through such an elaborate plan? Heck, why not tell Elizabeth about what happens and have her take care of it at the very beginning of the game?
They're conducting an experiment. That's the point behind the "he doesn't row" conversation, the telegram, and the coin-flip. Nobody said it was their only experiment, but we can infer from the sandwich board that the player's run as Booker is their 122nd run at Comstock through a proxy.
One of the late-game Voxophones tells how Rosalind couldn't really care less about Elizabeth anymore but Robert gave her the ultimatum of getting her back to where she belonged or he was gone so she went along with it. While it's probable that they could interfere and just pull her out of the Tower themselves, that wasn't really his goal. His goal was to reunite father and daughter while depriving Comstock of his person-shaped nuke. One of the last sequences during the ending shows that Booker just manufactured his memories about the twins hiring him when in actuality they simply opened the door for him to get to Columbia and gave him the information he needed to find his daughter.
Why clear the Sky-Lines?
What was the point of clearing the Sky-Lines on the Hand of the Prophet? They look like bombs, have the statues of Comstock in them, and are specifically remarked on as "dropping too slowly"... This troper was expecting the twist to be that in trying to reach Comstock, they had been furthering his efforts to burn the Sodom Below, but nothing came of it...
I don't think it counts as head scratchers if the only reason you didn't understand it was because you blatantly weren't paying attention. The pods were blocking the Sky-Lines that lead to the next level of the ship. They couldn't use the Sky-Hook to get up there because the pods were in the way. They say this. Nothing came of it because there was nothing of it to come.
I GET that, but the dialogue and appearance implied something more to come. Why comment on the rate of descent if not for the player to notice? Otherwise, why not just have the objects be the generic crates seen earlier?
It's not so much as their rate of descent as it is how fast they're being dropped. Booker was expecting "Click, they all drop at once", not "Click, one moves into place, it drops. The next moves into place, it drops, and so on". They're being assaulted by small armies of hostiles and every moment spent waiting around for the bombs to drop is a moment they're spending in ever increasing danger. Much like The Mummy's hilarious line "Patience is a virtue." "Not right now, it isn't!"
There's also a fake-out scare kind of thing going on. By then, the player should expect everything that could go wrong, should go wrong. There were like a hundred Motorized Patriots on that Sky-Line, so it's natural to anticipate a plot twist where they all get dumped on the deck and start attacking you. It's kind of a mercy on the part of the programmers that didn't happen.
It's also a gameplay mechanic meant to force you to fight off a few waves of Vox while the lines clear so you can advance.
It could also just be an annoying grammar thing. If the line's "They're dropping too slowly", the poster could have interpreted it as "They're dropping to slowly" compared to how fast they should drop, something is wrong. As opposed to the intended "They're dropping too slowly" and we're REALLY in a hurry.
Modified Guns, Different Ammo
The Burstguns and Repeaters are Vox Populi-modified versions of Carbines and Machine Guns used by the Columbian guards. But why do they use completely different ammunition? When you have a militant underground resistance movement, it would seem like a smart thing to have weapons which can use ammunition that you capture from the regime in power without any further modification.
I would assume it's a gameplay decision to make sure those Vox weapons are actually used by the player.
For an in-game reason? Most of their weapons are incendiary. You can't just use normal ammo and have it "magically" turn into a fire-wielding round of ammo, so the shells/bullets had to be modified. As to why the Vox went through all that effort...maybe to ensure their more powerful weapons weren't easily used against them? Maybe because they just liked the idea of spreading terror with fire and brimstone? (There's a trope for that, isn't there?)
They aren't "modified versions," they're totally different guns. The suggestion when you arrive in the armed-Vox timeline is that Fitzroy's people shot Chen Lin instead of making a deal with him and are making their weapons themselves. Hence, they use different ammunition.
But there are already Vox weapons in timelines where the Vox haven't contacted Chen Lin (there's a Vox Repeater near the entrance of the Bull Impound, for instance).
Return to Sender
An upgrade to the Return to Sender Vigor allows you to catch rounds fired at you and add them to your own inventory. All right, you catch bullets ... but what about shell casings, gunpowder, firing caps and such?
Vigors ultimately come from a woman who can manipulate time and reality. It may be that the bullets are reverted to an unfired round or even pulled from another reality.
Integrity of the Sky-Lines
The Sky-Lines are made out of metal, and rests on narrow wheels atop posts that keep them up but don't do anything to keep them attached there. So why don't they tear themselves apart when the buildings where they ARE anchored bob up and down constantly? Or get moved out of the of the small wheels they rest on?
Just because something's metal doesn't mean it's not flexible.
But flexible Sky-Lines would sag terribly under the weight of the cargo containers and trolleys that travel on them.
No, they wouldn't. Flexible is a relative term — skyscrapers, buildings that weigh hundreds of thousands of tons a piece, sit on top of springs and shift pads and sway dozens of meters, like a giant corn stalk being blown in the wind. A metal beam that could take the force of its anchors moving half a dozen meters without snapping would not necessarily bend under the weight of a few cargo cars.
It would if most of the mass of the beam is just swinging freely in the open air with no reinforcement or support of any kind, as we see in the game.
Who's to say their atoms aren't suspended the same way everything else in Columbia is?
Sky-Lines and Magnetism
If the Sky-Hooks are magnetic — and so magnetic they in fact can yank a fully grown man 15 feet or so towards a metal hook — how do they not attract everything metallic towards them?
Booker guesses they must be magnetic because he doesn't understand the technology of Columbia, that doesn't mean they are actually magnetic. More than likely, it is somehow related to the rest of the technology making the city work.
This troper took it to mean that the Sky-Hook itself was magnetic, and could be activated by the wearer whenever they wanted to utilize the skylines, likely using the same power source that enabled its (blades? wheel? what should it be called?) to rotate.
What Happened To The Priest?
When all the Elizabeths are drowning Booker, what happens to the Preacher witting? He just vanishes after Booker dies. Isn't he confused by all these identical women turning up around this man? Why doesn't he try to stop them from drowning Booker? Do the Elizabeths drown him as well?
He might not have been there at all. At that point, you're deep into metaphor and symbolism, as evidenced by how you're teleporting back and forth in time and space.
It should also be noted that he is blind (it is unknown if he was born blind or if his vision left him later in life). As such, he would be unable to notice all the Elizabeths if he were present.
Outcome of the Vox Rebellion
In the 1984 Bad Future where Booker failed to rescue Elizabeth, it’s implied that the Founders ultimately won the Columbian Civil War. (The Vox would never accept Comstock's divine mandate for Elizabeth to rule.) However, from what we see in 1912, the Vox Populi are crushing the Founders. The Vox win every skirmish you witness, and are already executing captured troops and civilians. (There is even a massive pyre in front of the bank.) The commercial and industrial districts are firmly under their control, and they have penetrated Founder territory deeply enough to seize the primary bank and raid the burial grounds of their leaders. Furthermore, Vox soldiers are sieging the Founders’ HQ, and the Vox fleet is powerful enough to launch a direct assault on the Founder flagship. How in the world did the Founders win the war?
Once Elizabeth's indoctrination takes, she can simply move herself and her backers to a Columbia where the war either didn't happen or the Vox didn't win.
There isn't even a need for that. Time is on the Founders' side. After Daisy Fitzroy died, the Vox became a band of aimless marauders. They don't have a long-term plan, any more, so they can only carry on as long as they have supplies. People in Shantytown are already posting signs of how they need food, not guns in the third reality. The Vox revolution whimpers out as the Founders simply wait out the storm; they have been shown repeatedly to be paranoid and distrustful of their servants and the outside world, so they are likely to be well-stocked and fortified in few key locations that the Vox can't penetrate fast enough to make a difference to the outcome. Lots of real-life revolutions have ultimately fallen to poor logistics.
Quite true and a good point as well. Even if they don't do that, however, an indoctrinated Elizabeth in their back pocket means the Founders cannot lose. If they do, they can reshuffle the deck until they win.
Furthermore, it is possible that in other realities, the remnants of the Vox are simply absorbed into the greater Columbian society, with their descendants forming an equal part of the invasion force as the Founders. By the end of it all, racial or class divisions no longer matter as much as their commonly-shared attributes of blind hatred and fanatical devotion to an all-encompassing ideal.
The Vox also have no answer for Songbird. Their entire fleet was crushed by one man and one biomechanical monster. Once Elizabeth was with Comstock, it would have been easy to convince Songbird to come out and kill their main fighting force as a measure to defend her. Then, it would be an organized army with control of the city versus a greatly reduced mob. Retaking the city wouldn't be an inevitable proposition, but it would be much easier.
The Songbird's Past
Is there any indication as to who the Songbird was before his/her modification?
There's nothing in the game itself, but Irrational Games have noted the large amount of requests for Songbird backstory, so it's possible this will be explored in the DLC. There's a fan theory it was Constance Field, though. Another fan theory is that Songbird was another AU version of Booker.
Why is Columbia dotted with vending machines that dispense ammunition and weapon modifications when you have a violent anarchist movement causing trouble? Didn't it ever occur to Fink or Comstock that might present a bit of a security hazard? One might consider Fink paying his employees by vouchers only valid in his own stores as a way of limiting this, but when you have people willing to commit mass murder for their cause, expecting them to stick to legal fundraising methods is utterly moronic. What is even more baffling is that the vending machines provide ammunition and modifications also for weapons which are exclusively used by the Vox Populi. The least they could do is put those machines behind locked doors!
I figured someone was going to give that handwave. Counterpoint: System Shock 2, from which the BioShock series borrows heavily. That game gave a solid explanation for the situation: 1) The vending machines are all generic. 2) They can also be reprogrammed to produce a variety of things on account of nanomachine construction. 3) Only one side of the conflict used them.
My guess is that Fink is almost comically clueless when it comes to security. The wiki mentions that Fink secretly supplied the Vox Populi with Sky-Hooks, even though the Vox probably causes him to lose more money in damaged property than he'd ever gain from selling to them. He also thinks the best way to screen someone for head of security of a megacorporation/privately-owned city is to have the applicants duel with each other. Any other CEO would probably test their head of security on things like leadership of a large team, counterinsurgency, etc. And he thinks that putting a gigantic golden statue of yourself right next to a Shantytown filled with starving workers is a good idea. Another theory is that Fink thinks he can somehow control the Vox, or somehow pay them to leave him alone. He might think that the Vox will leave him alone if he sells them weapons because they couldn't get any weapons otherwise. Whatever the case, it's pretty obvious that Fink is an overconfident narcissist who is not all that good at assessing potential threats. And I think it's perfectly in-character for Fink to do stupid stuff like that.
BioShock Infinite is not System Shock 2. What applies in System Shock does not automatically apply in BioShock. There is no in-universe explanation for the discrepancies concerning the vending machines in Infinite. That's just the way it is.
I don't believe the troper above was saying any such thing. Quite the opposite, they were saying that System Shockdoes have a consistent in-universe explanation, whereas Infinite really doesn't. They did indicate that their statement was a counterpoint to (essentially) "just go with it."
I could see it as a sort of 2nd Amendment Solution. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. So Comstock wanted to make sure his guys were just as or more heavily armed than the bad guys. Doesn't make PERFECT sense, but it's a start.
"Capitalists will sell us all the rope we need to hang them on." — Attributed to Vladimir Lenin, but oh, so true.
Interestingly, you notice that none of the vending machines sell weapons, only ammo and Vigors expensive. With Fink not even paying with real money, only with Fink Tokens, which are only accepted in Fink Stores, you could not even buy them. What use is ammo without a gun? Also, they could easily be relics from time when the area was not a slum.
The Ending & Why Do People Say That Booker...?
Why do people keep saying that the Booker that rejects the baptism survives? Elizabeth specifically says she's killing him before he even makes the choice, not that she's killing off whenever he accepts it.
When you wait past the credits, you get to see a stinger of Booker waking up back in his office and calling for Anna. Fans believe that this is caused by the collapse of a temporal paradox; if Comstock doesn't exist to kidnap Anna to raise her as Elizabeth, Booker never goes through the events of the game and thus can't be brought back in time to be drowned by her. Thus, at least one version of Booker continues to exist separate from all the game's timelines.
I've seen the Stinger. The problem is that Elizabeth, who exists outside of time — not Booker, as he doesn't have her powers — specifically stated that every single Booker at the baptism needs to be killed. Unless she somehow managed to preserve the Booker we play as, shouldn't this scene actually be of a Booker that never even decided to attend a baptism?
It's not a question of having any powers. What happens at the ending is a paradox; when Booker gets drowned in all realities, it actually erases the very scenario in which he has to be drowned, and thus he doesn't get drowned, after all. The entire event erases itself from all the timelines, leaving behind only the Booker(s?) who never had adventure in Columbia and never became Comstock. The drowning is an event which can't exist in a same timeline with itself and is only possible because of Elizabeth's transcendental powers.
Actually, the answer's very simple — just before Elizabeth drowns Booker, the priest asks what Booker's new name will be, implying that this is occurring after the baptism. This is the Booker that has already undergone the baptism. So when Elizabeth uses her powers to make the drowning a constant, she only does it to the ones that were already on the path to become Comstock — the ones on the path to become Booker ran away before the actual baptism was completed.
Moreover, there are also all the Bookers who never even considered the baptism, in addition to those who had a change of heart. That "your" Booker doesn't recognize the place at first suggests that he's one of the ones who never bothered. (Or that he blocked it out later.)
The Insane ruling the Insane, and Insanity in General
Alright, so, in the Insane Asylum, people who wear helmets that make it hard for them to see but amplifies sound to the Nth degree, as well as bibs and laces, are the security in an Insane Asylum... No one running Columbia thought "Oh yeah, this is not safe!"? In fact, it's not just the Insane Asylum that's insane. The people are completely oblivious to every problem in society, from the terrorism to the giant mechanical monstrosities, to radical rulers and their insane amounts of Science, to the basic fact that Super Potions exist all around them! (Though they do know that you are a problem) You think any society would be heavily concerened with the mental health of their people, and I understand this is 1912, but when your citizens don't even CARE that they're at threat of being killed by terrorists, your society is not stable... Why don't they care?!
The Insane Asylum is in the Bad Future where it's implied that everyone is under the influence of Elizabeth, either through slavish devotion (like how everyone literally stops what they do to pray to Comstock) or Brainwashing.
Are the upper class of Columbia really at so much risk? You're talking about a society where the general store runs on the honor system. In the primary universe, the Vox Populi aren't even that much of a threat. The city is also run like a Cult that jails and tortures dissenters, which tend not to produce an objective populace.
The Vox are a very serious threat, if their performance in the later part of the game is any indication. (See the Outcome Of The Vox Uprising folder above.) The Vox uprising in the primary universe failed only because Mr. Lin married the wrong person and lost his tools; dumb luck and random chance are all the Vox needed to tear the city apart, indicating that the Founders' control is tenuous at best.
You could also argue that the Vox's uprising in Universe-3 was due to random chance... it just so happened that in that universe, all of the odds fell in their favor. Remember, the Vox didn't just have guns in Universe-3, they also had a charismatic voice on their side (Booker, who even manages to convince one of Comstock's primary agents to turn) and a martyr (also Booker) to galvanize the population into action.
Is it just me who finds it awesome that the only person who could truly kickstart a revolution to bring down Comstock is an alternate version of himself?
I just assumed that, in the Bad Future timeline of the asylum, there are actually very few regular citizens left in Columbia. Future Liz wasn't concerned with maintaining a stable society above, just burning the ones below. It could be that by 1984, there's only Elizabeth, her army/minions/creations, and Songbird.
The tooth-to-tail ratio discourages that notion; turning everyone in your city into a full time solider is a terrible idea logistic wise. Even post-industrial armies require ten non-comms maintaining bases and equipment for every one solider that fights on the field. Simply put, Columbia’s army needs a healthy civilian population sustaining it if it intends to last more than a few weeks, whether they fight or not.
Columbia under Elizabeth's rule is not a normal human society. Elizabeth strips her subjects of their humanity and individuality, leaving only mindless devotion to the most bare bones of Comstock's ideals. There are no soldiers or civilians there, only gears of a giant machine, solely devoted to destruction or conversion of everything that isn't them.
It's the False Shepherd...Whatever...
Why is there not more of an immediate reaction when Booker is revealed as the "False Shepherd"' during the raffle? Some people in the crowd gasp, two cops grab him, and Fink delivers a minor dressing down before one of the cops moves to separate Booker's head from his neck. You'd expect, with all the religious zealotry and paranoia abound in Columbia, mass hysteria would have occurred, and Comstock would have dispatched barges full of soldiers to contain this person who can apparently bring about the destruction of their utopia. Of course, after the raffle, the armed response is wholly appropriate, but the reaction of Fink and the cops at the raffle is more akin to Booker being an undercover Vox Populi member.
...Except they're moving to execute him there and then and only get stopped because Booker mutilates his attackers with a Sky-Hook. What else were you expecting them to do in those few seconds?
I was wondering more why no one seemed particularly surprised or worried. Fink and the cops treat Booker just like an ordinary criminal, even though the "False Shepherd" is someone talked about constantly in propaganda as a menace that threatens Columbia.
Again, it was a few seconds of interaction they had. People reacted like a normal criminal because they thought he was a normal criminal. The initials on his hand aren't enormous.
The impression I got was that Fink didn't think he actually was the False Shepherd, just someone who happened to have the brand. Fink seems to treat the whole thing as a big joke — and there's also the bit where he tells the policemen to "Show him what we've got planned" for the False Shepherd. My thought is that it wasn't until after Booker killed those guards that they realized that he might be the real deal.
Look at it this way. If you were at a big Christian music festival, even one full of the most fervent true believers, and someone grabbed a guy and said "Hey! It's the Antichrist!" the first reaction would certainly be confusion, and until he started killing people, a panic is unlikely, to say the least.
When you turn around after killing the two cops the area is completely clear of bystanders. Given how many people were in the park, its not unlikely that many withdrew to a safe distance from the False Shepard and broke and ran the moment he wasn't held down.
You don't really want to go to Paris, do you, Lizzie?
Elizabeth apparently has the power to open tears that allow her to go to any time and place she wants, and apparently she wants to go to Paris, so why, during her long captivity did she never just open a Tear to Paris and walk through, or anywhere else she feels like going for that matter?
As a child, she used to control the Tears perfectly and did go wherever she wanted, but always came back home in the end. But with the Siphon in place, she's only limited to opening unstable Tears with no control over where they go. Most of the Tears don't seem to allow actual travel between them, at all, and Elizabeth may have been too afraid of being stuck somewhere unpleasant or losing control over the Tear to walk into the ones that do; it's only after she gains more self-confidence in Booker's company that she becomes willing to test the limits of her power.
That doesn't explain why Elizabeth doesn't open a Tear at some point during the game after she "gains more self-confidence" and just leave Columbia, aside from Just Eat Gilligan of course.
There's no such Tear to be found. There's also the fact that by the time Elizabeth really starts getting a hang of her powers she is also pretty set on stopping Comstock once and for all. She explicitly gives up on the idea of leaving before she's fixed all the terrible things she blames herself for after fiddling around with the timelines.
She can't use the tears to teleport until such a time as the Siphon's been destroyed.
As I recall, Elizabeth opens a Tear to Paris almost immediately before Booker meets her, and subsequently closes it because a fire truck happens to be barreling towards her at the time.
The closing could be simple fear, since anyone would react poorly to a vehicle suddenly speeding straight at you even if you knew that it would just dissipate on impact. There are cracks in the two-way mirror despite the bus not impacting the Tear, implying that the damage came more from the rapid closure destabilizing space-time and causing a shockwave rather than any "remnants of bus" coming out.
It just seems rather odd to me that Elizabeth can open and walk through doors to other realities twice in the game and even open a tear to who knows where to summon up a freaking tornado not to mention all the other random things that she brings in throughout the game apparently with no visible effort whatsoever even prior to the destruction of the Siphon and yet she somehow can't open a Tear to Paris and walk through to go there if she really actually cares to go there at any point during the game.
Again: there aren't any Tears leading to Paris to be found. The only one Elizabeth could find was in her tower, and it was shut after about five seconds; it's not known if Elizabeth would be able to open it again, because thanks to Booker rescuing her, she never got to access it again.
From what we see, all Elizabeth needs is to want something badly enough, and she can open a Tear to bring in anything she wants or go anywhere she wants, even before the Siphon is gone. It would easier to say she just didn't think of it.
What? By that logic, the moment she discovered that Chen Lin and his wife had been murdered, she would have tried moving on. Plus, it's a quite a while before Elizabeth can actually go anywhere using the Tears, and as far as bringing in anything she wants and going anywhere she wants, that's not the case: up until the Siphon's destroyed, she's still fundamentally limited — hence the reason why we don't end up in Rapture and the multiverse beyond until the finale.
The 1999 Mode?
A simple question, but seemingly without an answer: why is the 1999 Mode called such? There is no connection to that date in the story and it doesn't seem to relate to any other use of that number, either. So where does the name come from?
Harkens back to FPS games of the 1990s, where health was ridiculous and resources scarce. There's no connection to the game's storyline.
Specifically, System Shock 2's release date, which the BioShock series is a spiritual successor of.
Another possibility, it's a subtle joke. Like "it's so hard that if you started playing it in 1912, it would be 1999 by the time you're done."
You can call 2000 as the end of the era of Nintendo Hard games. Thus, 1999, is the term used for a time period were games were incredibly hard.
The Dog Voxophone
In a certain Voxophone found in a bathroom, Comstock talks about Bill, his beloved childhood dog. Wouldn't Booker remember having a dog as a kid? I'm pretty sure that would tip him off about Comstock's origins.
Possibility number 1: this is one of those other minute differences between dimensions, and Bill never existed in Booker's native reality. Possibility number 2: Comstock's just lying in order to illustrate a point, and Bill never existed at all. After all, this wouldn't be the first time that Comstock has invented and falsified events to serve his own political ends. Option #3 is that Bill is just a common name, so he would see it as coincidental.
Option #4 is that Booker's automatic mental conditioning caused by the world jumping makes him ignore the obvious signs that he is actually Comstock. Most importantly, being part Sioux, which is a heck of a lot rarer than naming your dog one of the common names in the English language.
The Mystery of the Hand
How did Comstock know about the "AD" on Booker's hand? One of the first things that lets Booker know he is the "False Shepherd" is the poster showing that an "AD" on the right hand is a sign of their identity. I assumed the Luteces showed him via their machines, but during the ending, you see the Luteces examining Booker just before they take him to the lighthouse, and they talk about the "AD" mark like they've never seen it before.
Given that Columbia is still working with Tears long after the Lutece twins' supposed death, it's likely that Comstock had discovered it independently.
Plus, there are 122 other timelines where Booker has gone after Elizabeth and Comstock, so he could easily have forewarning via Tears.
Or he has other people that he believes to be less of a liability continuing their work.
How does Comstock not have it on his own hand? Since he was sterile, he never had Anna...?
Exactly. Comstock is too busy with his rise to power to have a daughter, which is why he needs to acquire Booker's.
Not quite. Booker brands "AD" on his own hand after he sells Anna to Comstock, as way of self-penance. Thus, there is no reason for Comstock to have "AD" on his hand.
Considering he is Booker, he could think through what his actions would be in that situation. Maybe hand brands had significance in his earlier life we just don't see.
I agree with this> In Burial at Sea, Booker!Comstock tattooed AD into his own right hand after accidentally killing Anna.
Why keep Elizabeth so ignorant?
Even if Comstock wanted to keep Elizabeth locked in the tower, why did he keep her so ignorant of the world outside, even of the fact that she is his daughter? If Comstock intended her to become his successor, why didn't he start indoctrinating her with his political and religious beliefs from an early age, to ensure she would follow in his footsteps?
Given that Booker — or at least this version of Booker — derailed whatever original approach Comstock had in mind, we can but guess: maybe he was planning to make a big show of magnanimously releasing her from the tower, "Rejoice, my child, the False Shepherd is slain and you are safe, etc, etc..." and then indoctrinating Elizabeth with grand talk of her destiny and soforth while she was still awestruck and bamboozled by the outside world. And that didn't produce the desired results, Comstock had other methods, as the finale demonstrated.
That doesn't really explain why Comstock hadn't started honing Elizabeth for her future role. She was exposed to some propaganda, considering that she was a fan of Duke & Dimwit as a child and presumably she gained wider knowledge base than expected through the tears, altering some of her books to completely different ones and observing different times and places. But the only reason that I can think of why Comstock kept himself so removed from her education and didn't let her know of her future role as the city's leader is that he may have been afraid of her. With her power she could perhaps see him for what he truly is and he might have been scared of her judgment, especially since he wouldn't be able to eliminate her like he has done with everyone else who might reveal his past of his underhanded dealings. He was only ready to let Elizabeth go once he could ensure that he could keep her under his control.
Despite what a complete monster he is, Comstock still does genuinely love Elizabeth like his own daughter, in his own twisted way. He specifically says that he wanted Elizabeth to accept of her own free will, and that indoctrination was a last resort.
But Comstock seemed to genuinely believe in his political and religious ideals, so from his point of view educating Elizabeth about those things wouldn't be indoctrination or brainwashing, just telling her the truth. And even if he told her all that stuff, she would still have free will, as an adult she could still choose whether or not to become Comstock's successor. Most parents with extreme ideological and/or religious ideas teach those ideas to their children, since they believe it's the best for them. It doesn't make sense that a fanatic like Comstock wouldn't do this.
He probably did try, but it didn't stick. Elizabeth built up quite a bit of animosity against Comstock and her mother for being trapped in the tower all of her life. Plus, Comstock probably saw through a tear that he wouldn't be able to convert Elizabeth until Booker came to Columbia.
In fact, it wasn't until Elizabeth gave up on all hope of being rescued that the actual Bad Future takes place.
The Handyman's Duds
All the Handymen you fight wear ripped-up, tattered clothing when you fight them. That's understandable. But why is the first Handyman you see (the one at the tutorial fair where you get the Possession Vigor) wearing such shabby clothes? Wouldn't the guy showing off these new bodies want them to look more presentable?
Maybe Booker just arrived a couple of minutes late, and the barker was making a big show of presenting the Handyman's new body to the audience: "No sir, no ma'am, this is no elaborate rubber suit; this man is not wearing a harness under his clothes! Allow me to demonstrate..." *RRRRRIP!* "Behold! His amazing mechanical endoskeleton!"
The Handyman shown in the fair may not necessarily be entirely new, having been put through his paces (to test out his capabilities) or otherwise having been put to work, all before being put on display.
Comstock's Religous Fervor
Maybe I missed a Voxophone that explains this, but Comstock acts throughout the game like he really is receiving visions from an angel, even after we know he's been using the tears to gain knowledge. How much exactly does he believe his rhetoric about the divine nature of his plans? Is he burning the world because he saw himself burning the world in a Tear, or does he genuinely think God wants him to waste the world?
Comstock's religious beliefs seem to be just about the only thing that he's totally sincere about. There would be no practical benefit for him to wage war against the entire world, especially since in his vision it'll only come to pass once he's passed away. None of his Voxophones indicate that he would only be using the religious image for personal power. He ruined his own health through the use of the Tears and doesn't seem even slightly regretful that he is going to die soon because of it, as he thinks that God will reward him. In one of Rosalind Lutece's Voxophones, she comments how Comstock doesn't understand that the Tears aren't a door to prophecy but probability, indicating that he really believed them to be caused by divine will, not mere science. And then there's the matter of Archangel Columbia who supposedly gave him inspiration for building the city to begin with, and he somehow gained enough charisma, wealth and political power to pull it off at extremely young age. This would seem to imply that there really was something out there that helped him to achieve his goals, but that is a matter of speculation, at least until some DLC or sequel will explain the matter better — maybe.
Consider the chain of events. 1 - Rosalind devises a window into other dimensions and the future. 2 - Comstock meets Rosalind, mistakes her device for a window of prophecy. 3 - Comstock and Rosalind build Columbia together based on what Comstock saw of the future in the windows, in exchange for the funding Rosalind needs to bring Robert through the dimensions. I thought it was pretty evident that "the Archangel" is Rosalind Lutece, and the gift of prophecy the Archangel bestowed was what Comstock witnessed through her windows.
Adding to that, his dedication to religion could be his way of coping with post-Wounded Knee PTSD, the way "our" Booker did with gambling and drinking. By the time we get to Columbia, all the power and followers he's gained have only further confirmed to him that his work as a prophet was right. You get into Columbia by being baptized as a new person. So, this Booker had gone with the baptism since his guilt made him want to wash his sins away, and when he became Comstock, religion was all he had to him and that's what he lost himself in.
The Stinger: Downer Ending?
In Spoony's recent review of this game he brought up something about The Stinger that I hadn't considered. When Elizabeth drowned Booker, she erased all timelines where he becomes Comstock and all timelines where Booker becomes a broke sloppy drunk and sells his daughter to pay off his debts...BUT, she doesn't erase any of the events prior to the baptism that led to Booker becoming either Comstock or a broke sloppy drunk who sells his daughter to pay off his debts. Logically, Booker should still be carrying around the guilt from his atrocities at Wounded Knee, and the guilt from all the horrible things he must have done with the Pinkertons. (Or maybe not. I'm still unclear whether Booker joins the Pinkertons in both the Comstock and non-Comstock timelines, but the Wounded Knee events definitely happen in all timelines.) So by Spoony's reckoning, this makes the Stinger timeline possibly the worst of all worlds, at least for Booker and Anna/Elizabeth. Booker is now a poor, drunk, single father in 1910s 1890s America who still committed terrible war crimes at Wounded Knee and is crippled with guilt and probably severe PTSD because of it. There's no indication that Booker seeks any kind of therapy for what he's done, and even if he tried PTSD wasn't really recognized as a legit mental illness until about the 1970s. Before that the standard course of treatment was to send the soldier home for a little while (assuming they didn't just call him a coward). I guess what I'm asking is...can someone make this explanation not true? Is there a flaw in this theory that renders it invalid and I've just missed it? Because I really would rather believe that Booker and his daughter get a Happy Ending. (Well, a happier ending than what I just described at least.)
You can't make it "not true" so much as "not proven". It's a bunch of theories that make sense, but there's no absolute evidence that Booker wouldn't have just managed to get on with his life. It's implied that he only became a serious drunk after giving up Anna, so maybe by not giving her up, that road was avoided.
Well, his desk is still covered in bottles and ticket stubs in The Stinger, indicating that he still has a drinking and gambling problem in the final reality. Maybe he manages to get over them, maybe not, but that's purely speculative, like so much about the ending.
The way Booker says Anna's name in the Stinger makes it feel like he's surprised that Anna is in the other room, and that things are back to the way they were before he sold her. I interpreted this as Booker somehow (probably through Elizabeth's powers) knowing about the bad future that had just been erased; as if he'd just woken from a bad dream, which included all the events of the game. It's true that he still has plenty of problems, but if he knows about the future, then he would probably do everything in his power to avoid it. Knowing that you could become a fanatical, murderous dictator, and totally ruin your daughter's life, is hell of a motivation for change.
Just a minor correction to the original Headscratcher: The scene in Booker's office takes place in 1893, while most of the game takes place in 1912, when Anna/Elizabeth is around 19 years old.
Remember also that when Elizabeth decides to drown Comstock/Booker at the baptism, she has pretty much gained omniscience and sees every pathway and probability in all the alternate timelines. This means she must have had at least a decent idea about what life with her father would be like free of any alternate dimension shenanigans or right wing extremism. There was nothing stopping her from, say, going back and stopping Booker from participating at the Wounded Knee Massacre in the first place, or just outright killing him when he was born to prevent both her suffering and the whole Columbia issue to begin with. But she instead only chose to end him at the point where he became Comstock and no earlier, so she must have foreseen that a normal life with Booker would at least be decent, maybe indicating that he manages his debts and his issues somehow.
Additionally: Booker only sold Anna after some extreme pressuring from Comstock. He has numerous flashbacks implying that he refuses to sell Elizabeth or even talk to Robert for a long time, and it's only after he becomes especially desperate that he finally gives in. Even then, has a change of heart and tries to get her back almost immediately afterward. With no Comstock to make him give up Anna or worsen his situation, it's probable that he eventually cleans up his act so he could be a better father for her.
I think of it this way: Even if Booker and Anna still have a bad future ahead of them, many, many, many lives have probably still been saved, at the cost of one man and one girl (times in alternate universes). Like it or not, it makes a sad sort of sense if you explain it with The needs of the many...
I figured it was this: Due to the infinite abilities of Tears, Booker "drowning" was only a symbolic way of killing Comstock and resetting the timelines. Alpha!Booker is taken back to the day where this whole mess started, but with his memories of his travels at least mostly intact. He is the same Booker. I'm getting this from the new Burial at Sea DLC and its theme of trying to forget and let go of what you've done.
Seems it could have been a fabricated "memory" (similar to the other black and white sequences taking place in Booker's office over the course of the game) that Booker gave himself of successfully being with the daughter he loved before he died. Downer Ending, indeed.
In one Kinetoscope, you find a recording titled "Uncanny Mystery in Columbia", which is about small Tears appearing around the city and people being all puzzled and amazed by this. This city has miraculous powers being sold in bottles at the marketplace. There are people who can turn into a flock of crows and fly around. What's so special about a tiny light show? Wouldn't the logical reaction from the people be that someone's just playing pranks with Vigors?
Because Vigors are most likely a recent invention, and their creation certainly wouldn't have been possible without the Tears. Plus, there's no reason to suggest that Tears are common knowledge in Columbia.
In addition it's, y'know, a mystery. An uncanny one at that ("uncanny" meaning "strange or mysterious, esp. in an unsettling way"). Whether Vigors are a new phenomenon or not, so far as the general public of Columbia knows the Tears appear out of nowhere with no apparent cause. You know what a teddy bear is, but if floating teddy bears started appearing out of thin air around town, you'd call it a mystery, too. An uncanny mystery, even.
It's entirely probable that this is an older recording. Remember, Elizabeth says she could previously make Tears at will. Before the siphon was brought online, Elizabeth was probably tearing up Columbia without even realizing. Once Comstock got her powers under control, people would just dismiss it as a one-time thing and get on with their lives.
Who thought the Sky-Lines were a good idea?
Why are there Sky-Lines all over the place and people using them? As fun as they are as a gameplay mechanic, from a practical standpoint they are incredibly hazardous. Let me mention a few things that come to mind: You hold on to them by one hand. What happens if your hold of the Sky-Hook slips? A closer look at the skyhook shows that it includes some kind of brace that goes around the forearm, but even if that latched on so there's no danger of losing hold, that merely downgrades the experience to very painful on a long distance. (And the Sky-Lines are not just used for short distance transport. There are instances in the game where they cover long stretches between buildings with empty skies below them.) Another problem is that there are no designated dropoff points. You just jump down as you please. What if you misjudge your landing and go plummeting down all the way to the ground? The Sky-Lines are also always grouped together so that there is another skyline taking people in the opposite direction with maybe a foot of distance between them. If two people pass each other going into opposite directions, they have to pay close attention and maneuver precisely to avoid crashing into and maiming each other. There are much safer methods of transport on Columbia, such as gondola lifts and flying boats, so why would anyone use the skylines instead? I know OSHA didn't exist back then, but this is still ridiculously dangerous.
Civilians probably do rely on the gondolas and flying boats. The only people we see utilizing the Sky-Lines in the game are Booker, police/military forces, and the Voxx. The Vox use them because it's a way of freely moving around the cities and getting to areas where it's more difficult to pursue them (Booker makes use of them for much the same reason). The police and Comstock's military utilize them because they have to in order to pursue the Vox, (and Booker) who don't make chasing them convenient by utilizing public transportation.
Assuming I have the history right, the skylines were created for the simple purpose of moving cargo around a rather inconveniently laid out city. The Vox, in their ingenuity and desperation, decided to use them for transport and quick strikes. The police are just beginning to adapt when Booker reaches the city (we see a conversation where a cop shows off his new Sky-Hook). It's a case of desperate people adapting an existing technology to a purpose for which it was never designed.
Being originally made for cargo transportation explains some aspects of the system, but not all. For one, two Sky-Lines going in opposite directions side by side is even more of a problem with large cargo containers which have no way of maneuvering around each other. The altitudes of the skylines do not make any sense either in that regard. I remember at least one specific skyline in the game which goes around in a small circle, and it goes over one section roughly within an arm's reach of the floor, and another section where it's about two stories above the floor. It's difficult to imagine what could be easily transported with a setup like that. Come to think of it, Sky-Lines going both ways make even less sense when you consider that they mostly are arranged in concise loops. Having one-way traffic there would make for both safer and smoother transportation, and it would still reach all points along the Sky-Line.
The Sky-Lines are not two-way for anything except Sky-Hooks. The cargo containers attach to both rails at the same time. The Sky-Hooks switch rails on the fly for the convenience of pointing to the way where you are headed.
It's stated in-game that the first people to use the Sky-Lines to transport themselves in this fashion are teenagers, who are universally known for phenomenal decision making. As noted above, it became more widely used when the Vox saw strategic potential, forcing the police to follow suit.
Crimson cloth everywhere!
The Vox really like the color red. That's fine — it's the traditional color of revolutionaries and communists. But how are they getting enough red sheeting to cover most of the buildings and nearly all of the airships in Columbia? Seems like you'd need all the textile mills and dye-plants on the US Eastern seaboard for that. And who has time to hang up all the red sheets from buildings that might be on fire?
Maybe Columbia has some kind of...quantum textile machines? Seriously, though, it would be tough for them to do that but not impossible. Especially considering that in each timeline the Vox rebellion is at different states of progression. In the first, it's barely begun and little more than a group of political malcontents. In others, it's clearly been around for a long time; long enough for them to have apparently seized control of entire sections of Columbia along with God knows how much war material. They even have their own Handymen, Firemen and Motorized Patriots on their side. I'd say that's a much bigger achievement than a few bolts of red cloth.
This can funnel over into Fridged Horror: What would be the most available way to dye something red in the middle of a revolution? The blood of the slain.
Not really. Blood-soaked fabric turns into a rather ugly brown color once it dries, not the rich crimson of the Vox's fabric.
William R. Foreman
Maybe I'm missing something, but what was the deal with the Kinetoscopes made by William R. Foreman, in particular the one where he seemingly falls to his death? What was their meaning in the context of the game?
They're another way help the player learn about the setting and back-story. For Columbia's citizens, they're a form of entertainment, news source, and propaganda. The one where Foreman falls to his death is just a bit of humor. The hummingbird one is kind of the odd man out — the world's first nature documentary, I guess.
Footage such as the hummingbird is based on early experiments and releases that used recorded footage. They were very novel and interesting for most people given they'd never been seen before — being able to see something such as a hummingbird up close in that context would have been utterly mindblowing.
In terms of the game, it's probably just a way to add to the overall creepiness factor of Comstock House. Elsewhere you get jolly music and people in the films; in Comstock House, you just get these odd, context-free, dated-looking (even for the period) silent films of nothing in particular. As for the falling to his death, my guess is black humor on the part of Irrational.
Female soldiers with weird-looking glowing eyes
I noticed early on that the pistol-wielding female political officers (or whatever they are) have weird looking glowing eyes, and found it rather odd. It never came up as a plot point, and no one else in the game seems to have them. Is this a hold-over from an earlier version of the plot (the cut character Saltonstall has similar eyes when he morphs into a communist)? Are they just hopped up on Vigors?
They're also wearing masks, don't forget: with that in mind, it's just as likely that the glowing lights are just part of the masks.
The weird thing is that I only ever came across two of these: the one with the glowing eyes and the cracked mask face, and the one wearing a Lady Liberty head. And then they never show up again? It kinda feels like they're an enemy type that got cut at the last second, but these two were accidentally left in.
So how does being baptized end up making Comstock into an incredible racist?
The whole religious extremism thing sort of makes sense given him being born again combined with frying his brain abusing the tears. But where did he pick up the racism from? His Voxophone speeches show that it goes way beyond the casual racism of the day, and Booker himself seems to have a fairly live-and-let-live attitude about race (or at least a leave-me-alone-and-I'll-leave-you-alone attitude). I found the Voxophones indicating that Booker/Comstock was so brutal during the Indian Wars because he felt disrespected by his peers due to being part Native American himself, but Booker seems to have eventually come to grips with this and even regrets his earlier atrocities, whereas Comstock is fanatically racist, and I don't see how being baptized obviously accounts for the difference.
I think it once again stems from Comstock's inability to understand the concept of redemption: Booker was feeling guilty right after Wounded Knee and started looking for a way to find forgiveness or at the very least come to grips with what he'd done. This eventually led him to find religion, though judging by the fact that the same preacher that baptised him ended up joining Comstock's flock, it might have been a bit on the extreme, cultish side already. Not the point, though. Essentially, instead of viewing it as a means of repenting his crimes and gradually becoming a better person, Comstock saw it as a way to just erase his sins and have done with it — for all intents and purposes, an excuse to say that all the deaths no longer mattered. And then — here's where the speculation comes in — once his conscience is clear, he decides that what was done at Wounded Knee was justified, even laudable. Then, by extension, he begins to think that other forms of racism may be justified too... as I said, pure speculation.
No, that's it exactly. Comstock's takeaway point from the baptism is that his past sins are now virtues. He's so desperate for a way to deal with his PTSD after Wounded Knee that he latches onto the baptism and twists its meaning. That's one way in which the Hall of Heroes sequence takes on an additional layer of meaning once you've beaten the game; an atrocity that sent Booker into a decades-long spiral of binge drinking and self-loathing is now the world's most racist museum and theme park.
It's important to remember that Booker was 16 when he fought at Wounded Knee, and that (as mentioned above) the preacher who baptized him was the same that ended up in his flock in Columbia. Most of his personality differences likely aren't because of "being baptized," but because he was baptized into an extremist cult when he was still an impressionable and emotionally fragile kid.
One of my thoughts was that 16-year-old Booker WAS pretty racist. But at the split of the baptism, one washed himself of his responsibility and went extra-racist, while one reflected on his actions and regrets and got less racist.
Also of note: Comstock's beliefs are actually not that odd or extreme for the time period. It certainly wasn't a moderate opinion, but it was a fairly popular one at the time.
So why isn't Fink a insane, sterile maniac too?
Fink's been using the Tears to accumulate knowledge and power just like Comstock had been (and given the extent of Fink Industries, it seems he's been using them a lot), however he shows none of the negative side effects seen in Comstock. His health seems fine, he's really ruthless but not apparently crazy, and he seems to have a kid, so he's not sterile either. Are the negative effects due to the Lutece device rather than the Tears themselves? Did Comstock really contact some sort of extra-dimensional being (the Archangel) and that is what messed him up?
Rosalind Lutece seems to think it was the device that screwed Comstock up, so this is probably the case. Plus, Fink doesn't seem the type to spend hours watching every variation of the Tears; he's a greedy bastard, to be sure, but he's not a fanatic like Comstock. As a company owner, he doesn't have to do it himself: he could easily be hiring secretaries to take note of what can be seen or heard through the Tears. Equally likely, he could have a film crew record what happens through a Tear and study the footage himself later.
Fink was probably smart enough to take precautions when he started really plumbing the depths of tear research. Protective shielding, only observing Tears at a distance (maybe recording them with those new-fangled Kinetoscope whatcha-ma-doodles), or just having other people do the work for him and report back on what they see. As an industrialist Fink would be well aware of the physical hazards of new technology. Though I'm not sure I'd call a man who uses duels to the death in place of job interviews entirely "sane".
Fink didn't actually travel through the tears, he simply observed what he saw from a distance. Comstock used the tears indeterminate amount of times to physically travel between them.
Firstly, I would hesitate to call Fink sane. He's got an ego problem, seems to have little sympathy for the poor people who work for him, is arrogant enough to assume people will should follow him and be happy about, and is a nasty piece of work who seems to think gladiatorial duels to the death for a job is acceptable. Today, he could be called a maniac and locked up.
Secondly, unless there's testing done, there really isn't solid proof that Fink is actually fertile. He may have adopted, his woman may have cheated on him, he may actually be nuts and think random children are his own, etc.
Maybe he just had his son prior to working with the Tears enough to become sterile? I think the Voxophones said it was -prolonged- use of the device that caused sterility in Comstock. Fink's kid looks like he could be anywhere from 6 to 12 years old.
Crows working with Vox Populi during the "Hunt the Siren" mission.
In the Comstock Bank, a pair of Crows can be found fighting alongside Vox soldiers, and the "mini-boss" Crow inside the bank is even wearing Vox colors. They're wearing full Order of the Raven regalia, so it looks like they're actual Crows instead of just regular guys who happen to be using Murder of Crows (like Slate's men). The Order of the Raven are essentially a state-sponsored KKK... they'd be the first people up against the wall when the Revolution comes. What are they doing working with the Vox?
I don't remember the enemies you're talking about, but maybe they're not actually members of the Order. Maybe they're just guys intentionally dressing up in similar uniforms for intimidation purposes ("Look at me! I'm a big badass and if you mess with me, I'll shove a dozen flesh-eating crows up your ass!"). After all, it's not like the KKK invented that pointed hat/mask outfit.
It's quite possible that they were infiltrators, disguising themselves as Founder supporters and feeding information about the Order to the Vox. When the revolution started, they just didn't bother taking off their uniforms or it was just their way of mocking the Order, similar to how the Vox have apparently stolen Firemen suits and Motorized Patriots and remade them in their image.
"Lady Comstock has to be my mother!!"
Why do Booker and Elizabeth continue to believe Lady Comstock is Elizabeth's mother even after finding her journal that calls Elizabeth a bastard child? Frankly, the whole "7-day pregnancy" idea is almost certainly BS on its own, yet even after they find ironclad proof that Lady Comstock is not her mother, Elizabeth still holds a massive grudge against her.
Well... the grudge is because Lady Comstock demanded that she be removed from Comstock House — making her at least partially responsible for Elizabeth's imprisonment on Monument Island. It's got nothing to do with her being Elizabeth's mother, and the only reason why she's referred to as such is because a) technically, she acted as a surrogate mother to Elizabeth, albeit very briefly and at Zachary Comstock's insistence, and b) because Elizabeth has no idea who her real mother is and Lady Comstock was all she had to call as such.
Oh, and the 7-day pregnancy idea is bullshit. The endgame makes this abundantly clear.
Let me clarify. Before entering Finkton, Elizabeth finds Lady Comstock's journal that calls her a bastard. And yet, when you find the tear in the Luteces' lab she says "They weren't my parents" in a horrified tone of voice, suggesting that this was news to her. As for the seven day pregnancy, everyone seems to accept that with no problem. That's understandable for the Columbian citizens, but you'd think the Vox, Booker, and Elizabeth, who dismiss Comstock's religious claims, would realize it's far more likely she was taken from somewhere rather than being born via a miracle.
A) She still thought Comstock was her father prior to this. B) The same Tear briefly brought up the possibility of Rosalind Lutece being Elizabeth's mother — and was immediately refuted. C) I don't know about Elizabeth (other than the fact that she honestly doesn't like thinking about her parentage, judging by how progressively gloomy she gets with every revelation on the subject), but Booker likely accepts it on the grounds that "well, I've seen weirder things today, so it'll do as an explanation until people have stopped shooting at me and my debt's repaid."
Where's the Songbird?
Why is it that up until the finale, Booker and Elizabeth only encounter Songbird when those statues of Comstock play the tune to make him appear? For a creature of his apparent capabilities, you'd think he'd be able to find them more often... is he taking a nap the rest of the time or something?
Songbird isn't omniscient. He's one searcher looking for two people in an entire city. He's not exactly subtle and would likely cause mass panic among the populace if he tries searching areas where Booker and Elizabeth are laying low, and he certainly can't be everywhere at once. This certainly isn't helped when Booker and Elizabeth begin hopping between Tears, either.
So somebody brings you a girl. Tells you she's the very person you've been told for the past 20 years is the Messiah, and orders you to torture her horribly. Seems to me that sort of thing would lead to some rather strong objections, not to mention moral outrage.
Problem: this "somebody" is the prophet who told you all about the Messiah in the first place. He also told you that the False Shepherd would try and lead this Messiah astray, and apparently he has succeeded — the torture is the only way of curing her; given the prevailing philosophy of cruelty being instructive and the importance of bringing the Sodom Below to righteousness, there's a limit to how much moral outrage can be squeezed from doctors who are loyal to Comstock.
Look up the Milgram Experiment. You'd be surprised what people will do if they're told to do it by an authority figure.
I'd assumed, from the voiceover with someone saying that "Pavlov made dogs drool, we'll make this one beg", that Comstock had hired an external, particularly unpleasant For Science! type. Just because the rest of the population aren't permitted contact with the outside world doesn't mean Comstock can't. He set up the deal with Booker, for example, and wouldn't be the first hypocritical dictator.
If Comstock loves America so much...
...That he worships Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, then how come in the very same breath he condemns and demonizes it, to the point of seceding, and labeling it to be "Sodom"? Sodom or Eden? Make up your mind!
Bad Future Elizabeth spells this out in her very first PA announcement: "We were given Eden, and we turned it into Sodom."
People even do that today. Listen to any right-wing speaker, and you're bound to hear about how far America has fallen, and how great the Founders were. "America was founded as a Christian Nation," and "God has lifted His hand of protection" are some of the more common phrases.
How long was Elizabeth in Comstock House?
When you rescue Elizabeth from Comstock House, she says she's been there "a while". But she is wearing exactly the same clothing, has exactly the same length hair, and has perfectly plucked eyebrows and shaved armpits. And it hardly as though puritanical caretakers are going to let her keep something so unwholesome as a short haircut and exposed bustier. Unless this "a while" is half an hour, this makes no sense.
The short haircut was alright, since Comstock did have that painted glass mural with a picture of older Elizabeth with short hair. As for her dress, it was her (not real) mother's. Or perhaps Comstock felt that those were small problems compared to making Elizabeth into his obedient successor. I think it was only an hour or so, but the torture they were putting her through made it feel like much longer.
They had to set up that giant Siphon. Given the cables through the ballroom and hallway, it wasn't designed to be there and wasn't there for long. I'd say she was there at least a day, maybe a few.
Elizabeth is still kind of a damsel in distress
The main plot of the game is Booker rescuing Elizabeth and her character development from a wide-eyed innocent locked up all her life to a more mature, worldly young woman who can take care of herself. So the main plot point of the game that culminates in Comstock House is...Elizabeth gets kidnapped and needs to be rescued by Booker as she lies shrieking ineffectually strapped to a table. Her older self and the Voxophones even said she'd basically been waiting for Booker to save her. Yes, that is all in-universe she could have done, but why was this necessary to write into the plot? Couldn't they have shown her scheming a breakout, escaping from the tear suppressing machine out on her own, and the intervention of Booker there being only needed to deliver the card from her future self that she could not escape Songbird and thus recapture without?
Having Booker rescue Elizabeth gives the player a stronger emotional connection to the events. If she was mostly responsible for her own escape, well, what in the hell is the player even there for?
Possibly to put Booker's 1984 vision in context? And besides, even the act of opening one tear takes a lot of effort out of her. The very existence of the Siphon hampers whatever daring escape she might have planned. Note that the Siphon's destruction in 1984 ("the leash com[ing] off", as she tells it) is what gives old Elizabeth just enough power to give Booker the message needed to subdue Songbird — yet another obstacle she couldn't overcome back in 1912. She needed Booker because he could fight off anyone in her way to figuring out exactly how to finally get away from everything, and deal with Comstock as well. Also, remember that one of the very first things they did to Elizabeth was to strap her to a device that would make sure that trying to open a Tear would result in a very painful shock.
Booker's unapplauded arrival
Why is no big deal made about Booker's arrival? All the priests at the Welcome Center treat him like people coming up from "the Sodom Below" is an ordinary occurrence, even though I doubt Comstock would have let anyone ascend to the city, especially after it seceded from the United States? And before you say, "Comstock knew Booker was coming and therefore told everyone to prepare for his arrival"', I must rebut that. If Comstock knew Booker was coming, then why didn't he leave two dozen guards outside to gun him down? Also, the telegram from the Luteces the boy gives Booker says "Do not alert Comstock to your presence", thus implying that Comstock doesn't know about Booker's arrival. With their dimension-altering powers, I doubt the Luteces would have gotten it wrong.
Given that the lighthouse was occupied (key word being was) and the rocket chair was still functioning and still disguised as a lighthouse, I'd say people really were coming up from "the Sodom Below." I very much doubt anyone would have been using that while Columbia was still within reach of the general public/a short airship ride. It just doesn't get used very often, being used to shepherd the occasional fundamentalist loonie bin up to "God's Kingdom."
Oh, and one other thing: the Luteces did get it wrong. Several times, in fact. Remember all those tallies? In one case, Comstock really did have a firing squad ready for him; in the case of "our" Booker, though, the only one of Comstock's men that was ready from the word go was — funnily enough — the lighthouse keeper. And the Luteces took care of him.
If you wander around before the raffle, you'll hear two men talk about how Columbia used to accept all sorts but now someone needs to have connections to get in. Presumably, Comstock restricted the influx of people after seceding, but didn't want to flat out sever Columbia from the Sodom Below just yet.
Also, considering the lengths taken to conceal this entrance method, it could very well be used by Comstock's spies on the ground. He'd have to keep agents down there to keep tabs on the Sodom Below, but couldn't have them returning for debriefing in some obvious manner.
The Handyman: for the suicidally depressed!
Who would WANT to become a Handyman? Let me count the ways no one in their right mind would volunteer to become one:
It was spelled out bluntly in the first Voxophone from Hattie regarding her husband. It was become a Handyman or die from disease. Some people are willing to do ANYTHING to avoid death. And once you've actually been converted, presumably there is some kind of control to keep them from killing themselves.
The process clearly isn't perfected. The Handyman is racked with coughs and seems to experience a large amount of pain in his metal suit.
The Handymen clearly aren't happy. They shy from cameras and from people, and are constantly bemoaning their existence, showing the emotional pain forced on them.
This is debatable, but do the Handymen even retain their humanity? All the Handymen we see are soldiers (see below point), and they all speak exactly the same, showing no personality. I admit this point is slightly damaged by the presence of a Vox-Handyman, but they could always have possessed or altered his functioning instead of simply convincing him to come around to their point of view.
It seems that all Handymen on Columbia are immediately set to work by Comstock. All the Handymen we see are fighting Booker, working for the corporations, or overseeing prisoners. Even the Voxophone from Hattie Gerst about her Handyman husband Samuel implies a gap between them, and her husband is found dead, killed by the Vox while likely working for the Founders.
There is complete false advertising. The Handyman exhibit at the fairgrounds at the start of the game shows quaint pictures of a man looking relatively normal and happy, with some mechanical enhancements. What will the people think will they unveil this unpleasant monstrosity?
All in all: citizens of Columbia, become a Handyman! Experience a painful life of toiling under Comstock and being submitted to heavy emotional pain, instead of peacefully passing away from whatever ails you! Fink's marketing team needs replacing.
Fink's marketing team is already a clear and evident of example of "Robber Baron Has Stopped Giving A Shit About Negative Opinions," given that they give potential Finkton workers a really good look at the horrendous conditions they'll be forced to live and work in during the commute across town, so that's nothing new. Of course, even they aren't stupid enough to alert the public as to just how much pain and suffering the Handymen are in, which is probably why you only meet one Handyman in the affluent districts of Columbia prior to the Vox Uprising; after all, they can excuse a case of shyness with "He's a gentle giant, folks!" but they can't excuse the screams of pain and the berserk rage. All in all, the shittiness of the deal is kind of the point, however: the only people who would accept the offer of becoming a Handymen are those who have no choice in the matter: either they were that conned by Fink, their relatives signed them up (as the case may have been with Hattie's husband), or they were literally modified against their will. Remember, as the Nightmare Fuel page noted, there's an element of eugenics to the whole program, and they don't say that all cases were voluntary.
"She Can Protect Herself." How, exactly?
The player is in constant combat situations with men and women physically stronger, taller and larger than Elizabeth herself, assuming we're not even talking about Vigor-users who can teleport and explode fiercely. She could easily have been grabbed from behind and taken away in that case — that first time in the tram station was that guy underestimating her. Tears take time to open and her concentration. She doesn't carry weapons or an interest in fighting, so I'm to believe that I don't take bullets for her? Hard to believe.
I would prefer that the game mechanics relate to the notion of the character. I am supposed to believe, by what the game tells me, that she can protect herself. She doesn't show any way that she could that wouldn't take time and focus to achieve which, in a combat situation, would be difficult to deal with while everyone focuses on DeWitt. Who is to say that someone wouldn't go after her, by what we're told? Technically, the shield we got from the couple should have protected against that Wrench shot too, of course.
The Shield enhancement might only work when Booker is ready for a fight. When he's at a heightened state of alertness and in danger, the Shield comes active and is projected from his body; when he's, for example, trying to think of a way to comfort the girl so she'll shut up and come to New York, he's probably not exactly ready. As for enemies ignoring Elizabeth, I tend to see it as equal parts Gameplay and Story Segregation to avoid the entire "full-game escort mission" scenario, and simple target selection. Who would you go after, a girl in a dress or the dude running around with a shotgun in one hand and a freaking fireball in the other? Chick can wait, is all I'm saying.
She does protect herself. She hides. She's got a very good sense of awareness for what is around her — hence her ability to find all that stuff she throws to you. When she's not throwing you stuff, she's using that same sense to be where enemies are not.
Why the stand-down order?
If Comstock wants to stop/kill Booker, why give out such an order?
Because Comstock hates Booker so much he wants to throw a giant middle finger up before killing him? Or, if you want an explanation that doesn't rely exclusively on Comstock being an asshole, he already knows that DeWitt has cut through a whole bunch of soldiers, knows that there's a fanatic in the airship DeWitt is headed to and calculates that he has a better chance of killing DeWitt with the suicidal fanatic than with the cannon fodder.
Also, it's a nice visual example for the audience to demonstrate the amount of power Comstock wields through his Cult of Personality. These men and women have been getting reports about this one man tearing through their colleagues and friends, leaving bodies and wreckage in his wake, and JUST as they have the opportunity to avenge them, they are told to stand down. And they all do it. Even though Booker's standing there, armed and dangerous, they take a knee and bow their heads, ready to die before disobeying.
Why didn't Booker just retake the airship by force?
Seriously, why bother to do anything for Daisy? By that point in the game, Booker could just demolish her and the Vox with relative ease. He's already done so with hundreds of Comstock's better armed, better trained, Vigor-empowered men, and he's already been more than willing to take out people who got in his way (e.g. Slate).
1) At the time, Daisy had Booker at a disadvantage and he wasn't in a position to fight back. 2) His first thought was getting Elizabeth back. It's a lot easier to have Elizabeth then get the airship, then vice-versa. By the time Booker would have been ready to try taking it back, it was out of reach.
You're thinking with meta-game logic, not in-universe logic. From a player perspective perspective, fighting through the Vox forces should be no more difficult than fighting through Comstock's goons. But in-universe, the Vox are a formidable power in Columbia and making himself an enemy of both them AND Comstock is definitely something Booker wants to avoid if he can.
They are only a formidable power in the third universe where they had the guns. The second one featured them all rounded up and imprisoned in Fink's jail, and nothing in the first indicated they were the powerhouse movement of the third. Just saying, Booker was willing to slog his way through the entire city to get to Elizabeth and then slog through the Hall of Heroes to get the Shock Jockey. I suppose he could have been tired of fighting by then, but he was still willing to fight through Fink's forces to find Chen Lin and later the police to get the tools. If he's willing to do that ("go through an army to get those tools"), why not just turn around the second he has Elizabeth and plow through the much less better armed Vox?
Even lightly armed they're still a formidable power compared to Booker, who is just one guy. Booker didn't actually intend to blast his way through Comstock's forces. He wanted to sneak in or hide in plain sight, but the Founders happened to show up and start shooting at him every time. (Though in hindsight battling the Vox forces in the original universe and stealing the airship back probably would have been a lot easier. I'm sure Booker had an off-screen Face Palm moment when he realized that.) And on some level I think Booker expected the Vox to return the favor if he helped them. Enemy Mine and all that.
Because he doesn't know where the hell they are: Finkton's men and the cops are very visible and very willing to fight Booker head-on; the Vox have an airship, and one they'd be very much inclined to keep hidden too. It's not an issue of "they're too formidable," but an issue of "I don't know where the hell they are because the airship flew off and I don't know where it's headed."
Ok, then how is he supposed to uphold his part of the deal and supply them the weapons? Obviously he's not expected to drag them on his back (even if he knew where to) — we're talking about arranging some deliveries, making deals, bringing right people together — how is he supposed to do all that if he doesn't know anyone?
I doubt Daisy really expected much from Booker at that point. She probably thought dropping him off at Finkton was some sort of Cruel Mercy as opposed to killing him outright. And even if Booker was able to commandeer the airship by force, what would he do with it if he didn't even know exactly where Elizabeth was at the time?
Passage through baptism
The baptism scene at the beginning of the game provides some nice symbolism and visuals, but it raises great many questions about how the sequence works in practice. Does nobody present object to the priest holding Booker underwater until he stops struggling? Is this normal practice for baptism in Columbia? Does someone then drag Booker to where he will wake up? What if he starts waking up on the way? Do they press a hand over his airways until he's out cold again? How did they miss the mark on the back of his hand during this? Finally, they leave him lying unconscious in another pool of water. What if he shifts around so his airways are under the water and he just drowns?
Judging by the comments of the people in the garden ("Our Prophet fills our lungs with water so that we may better love the air") it is indeed normal practice. And yes, it's just possible that quite a few people have been accidentally killed as a result, which isn't all that surprising given Comstock's insanity. As for what happens afterwards, I think they just let him float along the passage until he's desposited in the garden.
Oh, and the reason nobody noticed the mark on his hand was because the priest handling the baptism is blind.
And the reason nobody else noticed it is...?
How often do you look at the back of people's hands? It's a bit of scarring — it's not like the mark glows to catch people's eye. Something like that just happening to go unnoticed isn't unreasonable.
Not very often, true. But I haven't been told to be on the lookout for The Antichrist expy, who is supposed to bear this mark.
Or in simpler terms, it's the father of Lutece's sperm's fault. In the sequence of events that create Zachary Comstock, Rosalind Lutece is born. In the sequences of events that doesn't create Comstock, Robert Lutece is born. Why? Why is it that there's no explanation for the connection of events to work in the opposite direction? Why is there no discussion of a sequence of events where Rosalind is born and Booker refuses the baptism or a sequence of events where Robert is born and Booker accepts the baptism? Considering that the entirety of the plot hinges upon both Rosalind and Comstock being in the same timeline, I think it's a valid point of confusion: not even by the Luteces or the omniscient finale Elizabeth do we hear anything of what would happen. (If anything, all the ending does is give a third option to Booker's Baptism, and then remove one of the original choices.)
My guess is that Rosalind and Robert are the only two possible Luteces that discover the Lutece Field. How Booker and Comstock are apparently as mutually exclusive as they are is merely incidental, since the only important thing to them is that they make their discovery and decide to meet in the same universe. And not even they themselves appear to be interested in asking the question anyway, so why should anyone else wonder?
After Elizabeth's Innocence Lost moment with Fitzroy, that led her to give herself a clothing and Hair change, only the most critical of players would have ignored the Rule of Sexy, and questioned how she managed to lace up that corset by herself. At least until the game actually makes you help tie her corset back up after you rescue her from being tortured.
She's been wearing the corset under her clothes the whole game. It is, in fact, underwear.
Related to the above. All of the other clothes in the game are extremely historically accurate. A corset back then was a type of underwear, the precursor to a bra. So, from Booker, Elizabeth and all the other character's 1912 perspectives, Liz is running around shirtless. No one ever comments on this. You'd think Booker would offer her his jacket or she'd forage around for a shirt later or something.
Elizabeth's change occurs just as Columbia goes completely to Hell. All the civilians you see after that point are either dead or too busy being terrorized by the Vox to demand that she dress more modestly.
Booker does make to comment on it, but Elizabeth cuts him off saying that it was all she could find. Since by that time the airship had been used as a field hospital by the Vox, it's entirely possible everything else had already been used as improvised bandaging (or they simply had the skirt and half-coat on display). As for foraging, they had more important things to do than break into a clothing store and stripping the dead for their clothes is pretty distasteful by most standards.
Midway through the game, Elizabeth takes you to a world where Booker died. What happened to the Elizabeth of that world? The autolog you read from Booker implies that he never managed to rescue her. This is a fairly pressing question when you realize that the rest of the game takes place in that world, which means that the fact that there should be completely screws up the plot.
Not entirely: if that version of Elizabeth has been recaptured by the Comstock — or was never successfully rescued in the first place, (summaries of the voxophone aren't clear) — then it follows that the Songbird that attacks Booker prior to the events of Comstock house cannot belong to that dimension. After all, if that universe's Elizabeth is in founder custody, Songbird shouldn't have any interest in the Elizabeth Booker has with him; plus, if Elizabeth had been moved a different fortress in preparation for the arrival "the False Shepherd", then it probably wouldn't have ended with Songbird in the water — in which case, why does it have the signiature crack in its eye? From all this, I think it's possible that the Songbird of the first Columbia visited is actively following Booker and Elizabeth through dimensions. After all, it's been perfectly established that Comstock can manipulate Tears of his own through machinery. Thus, it can also be assumed that the Songbird eventually brings the recaptured Elizabeth to the first Comstock. From there, I'm not sure: either this version of Comstock has holed up in alternate Comstock's house while the original resident tries to escape the Vox, or you actually do end up back in the first Columbia after all. Sound plausible?
You never end up back in the original Columbia. The final conflict is against Vox revolutionaries trying to sink Comstocks head ship. Of course the whole ending of the game makes the "paradox" of moot. Chew on this though: the Elizabeth that Booker rescues after coming back from the Bad Future? What if that wasn't our Elizabeth? What if that was the Elizabeth native to the Vox rebellion world and her Booker died? What if "our" Elizabeth was taken back to the original universe, the to, and is subjected to years and years of torment and torture at the hands of Comstock, all the while holding out hope that Booker will come to save her, but he never does... at least, not until she's already begun her attack on New York and purposefully brought Booker there to give him the solution they never could find together, and then sent him off to save the third Columbia's Elizabeth who he never met in the first place, but she remembers him as the Vox revolutionaries' martyr. Sound plausible?
Not plausible. When she's released, Elizabeth recognizes Booker as the same Booker she's always loved. The possibility exists that they are both taken to a FOURTH dimension where the Vox are in full uprising mode AND Comstock is searching for them. Crossing the bridge clearly sent you through time, It's plausible that it also sent you to a new dimension.
The Songbird would care about "your" Elizabeth even if there's still in its world; the music that controls it would attract it, it would see an Elizabeth, and would make the logical conclusion that there was only somehow. Though the other audiolog from martyr!Booker makes it clear that World-Three!Elizabeth was removed from the tower in that world by Comstock, which might also have set the Songbird off if he no longer totally understood how to control it without Fink.
This could be Fridge Brilliance if you look at it from another angle: The entire time between you opening a gate to the third world and Elizabeth willingly going back with the Songbird, there's no hint that Comstock is making any attempt to recapture her. Granted, the Vox likely occupy his attention, but protecting Elizabeth from them would be his most important goal. What if the reason why he doesn't do anything about her is because he already has an Elizabeth and isn't aware there's a second? The only question then becomes what happens between then and the final encounter with him. his Elizabeth (who was removed from the tower to protect her from martyr!Booker) vanished or died in the confusion of the Vox rebellion, and he simply assumes that yours is his (or realizes what's up and doesn't care.) Another possibility is that that's the reason why he suddenly becomes so willing to take extreme measures to convert her — he has a spare.
NO! YOU DO NOT SWITCH UNIVERSES! Elizabeth brings some portions of another universe and merges them with your own. If you did indeed travel between realities, the people you'd killed would have still been alive. But they're not alive, they're in a state of Tear Sickness because the dead and alive versions of them got merged. The articles need to be re-written. I say again: ELIZABETH DOES NOT, IN FACT, TRAVEL BETWEEN REALITIES. SHE MERGES THEM.
Well, first things first: "TALKING IN ALL CAPS MEANS YOU MUST LISTEN!" Anyway, what you're saying makes no sense. It's like, did you not play the game or something. You blatantly travel through dimensions. The people you killed ARE alive, they just remember being dead, and that paradox is what's causing them to have their little mental breakdown. The mind creates memories where none exist, remember? And besides, what in game evidence do you have to support this idea that she merges the universes? When do they ever say that's what's happening in the game? To me it seems like you're pulling that ridiculous supposition out of pure thin air.
I also thought that the universes were merged due to the fact that the newly alive people could remember being dead. If it was a simple travel between the universes, the various versions of the people would have logically been entirely separate with their own lives and memories, and so wouldn't change after Booker comes through. If you take the idea that the universes were merged, then it makes sense why they could have more than and why they could be alive and dead at the same time. There is also the way that Elizabeth opened the Tears: She moved them outwards until they were part of the room and then continued outwards past the point where they could be seen. It's entirely possible that Booker and Elizabeth were just moving through the Tears, but there is some argument for the merging of the universes. It just depends on interpretation.
Here's a bit of logic/brilliance/horror blend for you: Elizabeth's time-jumps work largely on her personal beliefs with a strong dose of wish fulfillment, which is why the armed-Vox timeline is such a monkey's-paw scenario: she gets pretty much everything she wanted from that timeline and it's all dramatically worse. That said, considering how much of the time-jump is determined by what Elizabeth wants to happen, there's a strong possibility that she simply never considered the possibility there'd be another version of herself in her destination reality. Which means when she got there, there wasn't.
How can anyone breathe in Columbia? The vast majority of places seem to be located above the cloud layer. Shouldn't the air be far too thin to breathe? Of course, MST3K Mantra in full effect.
The Lutece's field that keeps the city afloat might have something to do with that.
Sadly, the existence of Vigors in Columbia makes absolutely no God damn sense in the context of the story. Aside from possibly being justified by Fink being inspired by Plasmids by viewing Rapture through a tear, they seem to exist in a vacuum apart from the setting as a whole. In the original BioShock, Plasmids were an integral part of Rapture, both in construction and its ultimate downfall. Where do Vigors fit into Columbia? I don’t know, and neither does Infinite. There are advertisements for Vigors all over the city, and you can find bottles of the stuff lying around, but very few Columbians use them. In a society that espouses racial purity, you’d think Vigors would be more of an issue. After all, they can turn a person into a demigod, regardless of race. But this never comes up. Instead they merely exist as a hold over from the old games to give an excuse for why Booker can shoot lightning from his finger tips instead of feeling like a very tangible element of the narrative like they were in the original game.
Explained in a different Voxophone: They're derivatives of Elizabeth's own full potential.
So, in this sense, it's somewhat similar yet different from the Plasmids: like Plasmids, they are another example of the things that a certain technological McGuffin has produced for the city of the setting, but unlike the Plasmids, they don't take center stage and they don't play a part in its downfall.
The issue is not the existence of Vigors themselves. The issue is that the entire population of Columbia seems to ignore their existence. We see them being made by the truck load in Fink's factories, we see them next to dead soldiers' bodies, we see advertisements for them everywhere, but aside from the existence of the Firemen and Zealot enemies, they don't seem to have any significance outside of allowing Booker to use special powers. It's just especially jarring considering what a huge deal Plasmids were in the original game because, well, duh, having some magical goo that would allow you to snap your fingers and light people on fire would have a HUGE impact on the city and its occupants. The fall of Rapture was inevitable due to the psychotic implications and addictive nature of Plasmids. Infinite has nit comes to Vigors, and it makes even less sense as to why: the whole city is based around racial purity, and how non whites are inherently inferior to whites because God said so, and yet the powers granted by Vigors know no color. Anyand suddenly be able to light whoever they want on fire, or possess people and make them do their bidding. And yet the idea that maybe Fitzroy or her Vox might take advantage of these and use them to rise above their natural place isn't even brought up! We never see any soldiers who USE Vigors, aside from the Firemen and Crowmen, and that only covers get in the game. This is the definition of Gameplay and Story Segregation, where something that exists entirely for the sake of the gameplay (letting players use powers) is divorced from the actual story, when you'd think the existence and usage of Vigors would fundamentally change the way Columbia operates, and yet they're entirely ignored as far as the setting and narrative is concerned.
The point the story takes place in might partially explain that. When you enter rapture in BioShock, it's been years since Plasmids were first developed, spread amongst the population, then discovered to drive the user mad over time and repeated use. Columbia hasn't fallen to ruin when Booker arrives, and it is implied they are still introducing Vigors to the populace. Then you have to consider the difference in residents' mindsets. Rapture was lead by a man who believed in science, risks, etc. Columbia encouraged fearful worship and following the path of God. So Rapture might be more careless in developing and spreading Vigors than Rapture was.
Well, once again, we're going to have to bring up the big difference between Rapture and Colombia: because of Andrew Ryan's objectivist beliefs, Plasmids were sold on the open market, with no regulations or restrictions whatsoever; Colombia is a much more restrictive environment. As has been discussed on the headscratcher page, Comstock and Fink would almost certainly make citizens and soldiers alike jump through a lot more hoops before giving them superpowers; the Firemen and the Crows are elites — they've proved that they have no rebellious leanings and can be trusted to obey orders — so they're given a Vigor: one Vigor, not the small arsenal Booker's wielding by the end of the game. As for citizens, they get a few cheap samplers at the carnival games that wear off in a minute or two, but unless they can pay for the real deal and meet the necessary requirements, that's it. Racial minorities and the other underclasses of Columbia wouldn't be allowed within of a Vigor. This is just speculation, but the reason why nobody in Columbia brings up the fact that Vigors are usable by just about any two at least: 1) advertisers like the fairground barkers simply leave it as the Elephant in the Room and allow their audience to think "He said any "man" can do these things with Vigors, so obviously the Blacks and Irish can't get anything useful out of them. After all, they're not really men, are they?" 2)Comstock and/or Fink issues a statement that Vigors only work for "good, wholesome god-fearing white men and women." In the case of Blacks, Irishmen, Jews, etc, they claim that Vigors have negative effects ranging from grievious mutilation to death; thus, Comstock's flock feel so much better about themselves, and the underclasses of Colombia will be hesitant before trying to use vigors of their own.
"As for citizens, they get a few cheap samplers at the carnival games that wear off in a minute or two, but unless they can pay for the real deal and meet the necessary requirements, that's it." And yet Possession, arguably the Vigor that would be most concerning to a group of people that are actively oppressing another group of people, is being GIVEN away for free at an open air fair. Granted, the base version only works on machines and it doesn't seem like any non-whites/Irish were allowed in, but it would be easy enough for a revolutionary to sneak a bottle and possess a gun turret or two. Not to mention that several bottles of various kinds of Vigors are found just lying around in-game. They only give Booker salt, but that's because you already have that Vigor. Heck, the only bottle of Charge in the entire game is literally sitting on a pedestal for any of the dozens of revolutionaries running by it to take a quick sip, and only Booker thinks to take advantage of this.
The bottle of charge was actually locked up securely in the police station; you see it on the way in, before shifting universes for the second time, but can't reach it because it's locked behind bars. You're only able to get it on the way back because the revolutionaries smashed the grate protecting it. (Why they didn't drink it themselves, of course, is another question.)
I actually wondered a bit about Possession: it's supposedly only being given out as a free sampler- the kind of thing that lasts for a couple of minutes and then wears off- but instead, Booker gets the full-blown version. Why? I personally suspect the Lutece twins of manipulating things from behind the scenes; after all, they're implied to have killed off a few of Comstock's assassins already, so maybe it's not such a leap for them to replace bottles with the real Vigor. As for the reason why nseem to use the Vigors scattered around willy-nilly... well, in the interests of not repeating myself too many times in a row, I won't bring up the "Vigor Propaganda" thing again; so, maybe some of the rebels did take advantage, and Booker doesn't run into them. In the Vox Populi Uprising universe, this might (key word being "might") be justifiable by the few rebels with Vigors being sent deep into enemy territory to kill off high-priority targets — before the events of the endgame, anyway: since the Vox believe that Comstock's aboard the Hand of the Prophet, logically, they'd have no excuse for not sending in their most powerful troops to bust through his defenses.
That doesn't really hold up for me. Before the encounter with Fitzroy and Fink, Booker and Elizabeth go through the factory. They see the conveyer belts of Vigor being produced off the line. There are crates full of the stuff. Even if you could argue the stuff people can actually walk into a store and buy is just a temporary "sample" type deal, which there's nothing really in the game to support that (in fact a lot of what you're suggesting to justify it seems to only exist in your head and not in the game, but it does make sense so I'll give you that), how can you explain the Vox not chugging that shit when they take over the factory? You storm the gates with them, and by the time you get to the top and officially say "Ok, Columbia sucks, lets bail out", the Vox completely own the factory and basically the entire city. The place where the Vigors are produced and stored is under their control. Why aren't all of them drinking that shit by the bucket load? Brainwashing that it doesn't work on minorities or not, I refuse to believe not a single Vox soldier at least took a sip of that stuff out of curiosity, and when they saw it worked despite the fact he wasn't white, the entire army should have been running around tossing lightning and possessing their enemies to watch them kill themselves for pure amusement. The fact there ARE Vox-aligned Firemen and Zealots to fight for the rest of the game only further goes to show that yes, they know you can use Vigors even if you aren't white as the driven snow. Even if you could make the tenuous claim that Vigors weren't in wide spread use before the uprising, I don't see why they aren't afterwards.
Not really suggesting that the sort of Vigors available in stores are just temporary samples; I'm just suggesting that Columbia's citizens would have to do a lot more than just show up with the money if they wanted the real deal — proof of loyalty to Columbia and its ideals, or proof of white ancestry, something like that. But I agree, it doesn't really make sense for the Vox not to start powering themselves up; it's either an issue of supply (the Founders bombed the shit out of the factory's store Vigors, and it takes time to manufacture more for the Vox to use) an issue of philosophy (the Vox don't want to rely on Fink's product unless they absolutely have to, although I doubt this is the case) or an issue of game design. You be the judge. Hopefully, though, it'll be explained in the upcoming DLC.
Well, the whole issue of game design angle was kinda what I was going for -_- hence the Gameplay and Story Segregation trope. I just fear putting it on the main page now for fear of it causing an edit war.
There might be an edit war over the general usage of Vigors throughout the game and the plot, but if it's any consolation, we've come to an agreement that it doesn't make much sense for the majority of the Vox Populi to be running around without superpowers now that they're in control of Fink's factory. You could raise the trope on the main page with that point.
There was a point in the game's development when we were told that Vigors would only be good for a limited number of uses, then you'd have to find another bottle. The EVE-like Salts hadn't been conceived yet. The setting makes more sense under those rules — Vigor bottles would be a rare resource, and once a person used up a Vigor's "charges", he'd be a regular Joe again.
Perhaps Vigors are normally temporary or otherwise more limited when used by ordinary people (with some disadvantage or another that we don't know about), and only work so well for Booker because he's from another timeline? If it's derived from Elizabeth's power, perhaps it only works at full strength on people from her original timeline? Given that she got her powers from being "split" across timelines, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that Vigors would be more powerful when their user and the Vigor itself are likewise split between origin.
The power of a yellow sun?
Confusing things is the fact that while the Possession Vigor was presented as a free sample, yet is permanent, a few feet away at game booths you're given a Bucking Bronco Vigor for the purposes of the game, which nobody says is temporary, but which lasts for exactly game and no more. At that point it's probably best to just say Gameplay and Story Segregation and move on.
Either that, or the Lutece twins providing another little moments of helpfulness.
Another odd point which might be a topic all by itself: While most of your Vigors are found in a random-seeming fashion, Shock Jockey, once you find you need it, is treated like a rare and incredible treasure, which you have to travel a long distance to find, through a war zone, killing dozens of people and leading up to a massive showdown. (Even though it looks like it should be common, since there's receptacles for its energy all over the place and ads for it plastered on the walls.) When you get back from all this, as if to mock you, you'll immediately find another Shock Jockey bottle on the counter of the ice cream shop, if you pry the place open and go inside.
But Vigors aren't found in random and arbitrary places, in many occasions. There are numerous rooms with fireplaces in the game... and what's found nearby? Devil's Kiss. There are several maintenance and service rooms. What's in there? Shock Jockey, Bucking Bronco — things that can aid with power and moving heavy crates or machinery. Where will you find Return to Sender? Abandoned in a crate on the battle-scarred streets of Emporia. Although we don't see many citizens actively using Vigors, we have more than enough evidence in the world that their use is widespread and practical, aside from a few exceptions (such as Charge, which is found only once — and it's impounded). If you recall, in the first BioShock, offensive Plasmids weren't seen used very often, either, outside of Houdini and Spider Splicers. They weren't seen being used practically. But it was implied! And not nearly as commonly as in Infinite.
Not to mention at Fink's dock, where there's a crashed truck that spilled several bottles of the stuff, including several intact bottles simply lying around.
Another thought is that Vigors are temporary and require constantly taking more (in addition to Salts) normally... but not for you. Vigors are derived from power siphoned from Elizabeth, yes? Well, you're her father, and a dimension-hopper. While you didn't leave a part of yourself behind in another dimension (thus don't get the whole reality-warper suite of powers), who's to say you don't get SOME minor perks? I'd imagine genetics plays at least SOME role in Elizabeth's Superpower Lottery. It being dictated solely on leaving part of yourself in another universe seems a bit flimsy (and easy to duplicate) to me.
The reason Elizabeth has her powers is because she's a literal paradox, as far as Quantum Mechanics are concerned. Remember how the entire idea behind Schrödinger's Cat is that the point of the experiment was that it is in fact ridiculous to think a cat can be both alive and dead at the same time? As far as the universe is concerned, that's what Elizabeth is. You could either argue that the universe is trying to correct this paradox by giving her the powers, or coming into contact with the Lutece portal ridge when it chopped off her finger got some of that quantum energy into her blood stream. Either way, it has nothing to do with genetics. She's not a mutant, she wasn't born with the powers (though there probably is something to be said about her being Booker's daughter considering the mumbo jumbo with an alternate universe version of her father who never conceived her stole her away, but whatever). If you piece together enough of the Luteces' Voxophones talking about the subject, they basically spell it out for you, as much as you can say that of the least... Bottom line, I think the justification that the Vigors work the way they do because proximity to Elizabeth/help from the Lutece's is kinda weak (especially the idea that it's thanks to the Lutece's doing. They're not Reality Warper s like Elizabeth, they just exist in every conceivable point across all of time and space simultaneously. That does not give them sudden access to manipulate matter on a molecular level.)
The help from the Lutece twins wasn't applied to the issue of all Vigors being permanent: it was applied to issue of Booker getting a permanent edition of Possession out of a version that was supposedly given as a temporary sampler edition. In this case, it has nothing to do with them being reality warpers, and everything to do with them being able to replace in the vendor's basket ahead of time. They've already demonstrated a willingness to tweak variables in Booker's favor — remember the dead lighthouse keeper?
Early in the game, during the fair, you can hear a couple of guys talking about Vigors. the other if he had tried any of the new vigors yet, to which he replied "I'll wait for them to work the kinks out first", which implies that there are unsavory side effects to Vigors that the populace is well aware of. Take a look at the Fireman for example. How are we introduced to him? He's standing in the middle of the street surrounded by flaming rubble (no doubt his own handiwork), sealed up in a red-hot metal suit, and screaming about punishment for one's sins. The Zealot is constantly surrounded by flocks of killer birds and teleports randomly. Slate, although he was already completely nuts regardless of Vigors, still had huge, deforming purple crystals growing out of his head. Add that to the horrible screaming pain that Booker goes through whenever he drinks a new Vigor, and it's pretty clear the Vigors aren't exactly user-friendly.
It's explicitly stated that some, if not most or even all, of the Vigors are "new", and it's pretty obvious that they aren't completely "working out the kinks" as the above troper quoted. The main reason they aren't seen anywhere is because they're new to the market, at a time when "The next big thing" wasn't something that everybe the first to have, but waited to see if it would catch on first THEN went to go get theirs.
"They would have restricted access to the Vigors for non-whites" really doesn't hold up when you remember Booker literally gets his Vigors out of a vending machine. And Booker's implied to be part Native American, so it can't have been a race-detecting vending machine.
And they would have used what, exactly, to purchase anything out of a vending machine? The laborers are paid in company scrip, not in Silver Eagles. Fink makes a point of this in one of his speeches and specifically states that it's so that they don't make frivolous purchases, such as Vigors, one may presume. So you don't need a race detecting machine, just an incredibly corrupt economy.
The point being that anyone could kick the vending machine into bits and steal the contents, use forged money, use stolen money, or intercept supplies from when it gets restocked. The Vigors really would have made more sense purchased over the counter from a human clerk if they were supposed to be regulated.
Why did Lutece need Comstock for funding? She explicitly indicates that she was able to create dimensional windows even before she met him, but wasn't able to create ones that would let anything through, and therefore needed his money to fund the development of a gate that would let her bring her brother over. But it also indicates that even those early gates could still see the future (or, as she more carefully states it, see probability, but it works well enough), and that this is how Comstock got his reputation as a prophet. If she can flawlessly see the most probable outcomes of the future, shouldn't she be able to make more than enough money to fund anything she wants herself?
It's possible that in some universes, she did; however, Rosalind doesn't come across as especially adept at finding her way around politics, or even especially interested in politics to begin with. It's possible that Comstock was simply the politician that found her first and started offering funds — remembering that he actually knew more or less what he was looking for in order to build his utopia.
After Comstock is erased from existence and Booker is returned to a "normal" life with Anna it's quite plausible that America (or another nation) still bankrolls Rosalind to exploit her discoveries — none of them are negated by the Columbia story never having existed.
Selling a way to hack own machines?
Another bit of Fridge Logic with Possession — why would Fink allow onto the market an easy method of ripping off his own vending machines? Although I suppose you could Hand Wave this as an unknown side effect they hadn't caught in the lab.
It's heavily implied that Fink is a shortsighted idiot who would sell you the rope you'd use to hang him with. His only concern is immediate profit, hence why he lets the Vox fester rather than at least placating them (which costs him far more in the long run). He didn't think it all the way through.
This is a city where a shop can simply leave out their products and a box asking people to pay for what they take. At least in the upper class parts of Columbia (i.e. the only parts that could afford Vigors), it doesn't matter how easy it is to rob the machines, the fact that it's illegal means people won't do it.
Columbia would stand a good chance of wiping out civilization in an invasion...in 1912. But it attacks New York in 1983, transitioning into 1984. Even with its advanced technology, even with its tear-manipulating abilities, even with Vigors, would Columbia have been able to stand up to a modern (by Cold War standards) military force? Would Comstock's zeppelins have stood much of a chance against carrier-launched attack fighters, or anti-aircraft missiles and batteries? We'll never know for certain, but I'd say it's a longshot, even with Columbia's advancements.
Columbia has devised man-portable, electromagnetic shield projections that can deflect or absorb projectiles. They also have walking combat automata that can take high explosive impacts to the face and keep running, with even tougher, terrifyingly agile cyborgs. This is neglecting the fact that a massive flying city has managed to stay hidden for decades, despite the advent of radar and commercial air travel. The surface would have to resort to chucking nukes around, and even that isn't a surefire solution. All of this is assuming that Columbian technology will cease all progress in the meantime.
I think people keep forgetting just how advanced Columbia already is seventy years before that attack. We've developed nuclear weapons and automated strike drones in less time — surely it isn't too much of a stretch that the people with access to what essentially is magic would have developed something far more powerful in seventy years?
Chalk it up to multiverse theory. It is theoretically possible that Columbia could successfully attack and destroy 1984 New York City. Thus there are multiple timelines where it happened. You briefly visit a timeline where it happened. The end.
If Comstock knew how to identify the "False Shepherd", then why not station some people at the Church to check the arriving pilgrims? Especially since there was such a convenient ritual that incapacitates the entree. For that matter, how come none of the people involved managed to notice it? It was quite obvious, and Booker didn't try to hide it.
Comstock clearly believes all of his own bullshit. He didn't put a checkpoint in the church because he believed the False Shepherd was meant to enter Columbia and attempt to lead Elizabeth astray.
And in a way, he's right. The audio recordings from Future!Elizabeth sort of indicate the only way she could be broken was to first be given the hope Booker gives her. If he'd never built her up, she'd never have fallen so low.
Why DIDN'T Booker try to hide it after he saw the billboard? Even before he got a wind of what Columbia really is, surely being taken for the "False Shepherd", whatever the hell it means, cannot be a good thing, even if it's just a freaky coincidence. If I arrived, say, to the post-WWII Germany and learned even a little about the recent events, certainly I would try to cover my ancestral tattoo of Twin Lightnings, wouldn't I? Yet Booker learns that he bears, basically, the Mark of the Beast, and he doesn't even care to find a glove or improvise a bandage. What kind of an agent that is?
I guess he didn't yet realize just how fanatical the people of Columbia were. I mean, imagine if you had a 666 tattoo on your hand and you were transported back to 1912. Would you expect the people to try and murder you on the spot?
Well, not murder, certainly, but if I saw that those people were religious, and especially if I saw some warning signs, like "Beware the Antichrist!", I wouldn't expect a warm welcome.
Comstock didn't have someone waiting in the church to kill Booker because he had a guy waiting in the Lighthouse to kill Booker, the Lutece's just got to him first. Booker didn't hide his brand because he's kind of used to being able to just kill everyone if things go bad, and as we've seen he's not wrong. On top of that he's got some pretty hefty self destructive issues. So he doesn't overly care
Uhm, why in the Lighthouse and not in the church? What's the logic? Also, regardless, how could noone in the church see the brand? Booker is grabbing the priest, then people are dragging him out, and at no moment does anyone catches a glimpse of his hand? Hell, with all the posters telling people to be on a lookout for FS, why in the name of Our Prophet wouldn't they actively check newcomers for the brand?
Because after the guy in the lighthouse kills Booker, Comstock won't need a guy in the church to also kill Booker.
How do they eat?
Columbia clearly has a very wide variety of food. It has everything from cake to pineapples, cotton candy, pork, beans, pears etc. My question is: how do they get all that food in a city in the sky? We know that some of them hunt birds for food, but that doesn't explain the sheer variety of it. We don't see any evidence of farms in the game, and it would be next to impossible to smuggle so much food to one place without being noticed. The food doesn't seem to be rationed either. As far as I can see, Columbia should've starved to death long ago.
I know it's kind of a running joke to say "Uh...quantum physics did it?" but in this case I think it might really be the case. Columbia may have unseen farms and hydroponic gardens for basic food staples, but raising livestock would be extremely difficult and wasting space to produce luxury items like cotton candy and pineapples would be very poor judgment, even by Columbia's standards. So where are they getting all this stuff? Possibly...from other universes.
Why would they need to evade notice? I don't think Columbia is supposed to be a secret to the world — after all, they have seceded from USA, so clearly people on the surface are aware of them. So they simply import all they need.
Considering that they seceded from the USA, relations with the surface probably wouldn't be ideal for trade.
Mr. Fink has some unscrupulous business associates on the surface, willing to trade with Columbia in many goods, including "Negro convicts".
Laputa demanded tribute of food from its subjects below, threatening a Colony Drop if their demands were not met. I don't see why Columbia would be any different. Though it might involve more trade than threat, still, trade with the surface wouldn't be unreasonable.
Troy Baker himself lampshaded the question in an interview. He claims that Booker "Has seen a lot. D." — and has "a lot to make penance for".
In other words, he has followed Pinkerton orders to the point that he feels guilty while other times he has shown outright insubordination in other times. The ethnic cases most likely gotsay...killing Chinese laborers in cold blood and refusing to fire on them while killing labor unionists without even thinking until afterwards in drink.
Remember that the Pinkertons were in charge of getting striking laborers back to work through any means necessary. Booker isn't the kind of person who breaks a few bones and that's it, he cuts a bloody swath through the enemy. The Pinkertons wanted scared workers, not useless corpses.
President William McKinley
Ken Levine has said that part of the game's inspiration was this ludicrously jingoistic speech by President William McKinley. And yet, while McKinley was president when the Boxer Rebellion happened, Columbia somehow intervened without his authorization. Given that he likely wouldn't have wholly disapproved of this interventionism, why did he not intervene when Congress blew up and demanded that Columbia return home? Why were there "tensions", as the Truth From Legend trailers call it, between McKinley and Columbia? What did they do to piss him off?
Not as hard as they might've suppressed the Boxers, but the way they did it was barbaric even by McKinley's standards. On top of the fact that they were acting without authorization but claiming to represent the US, it's easy to see how even a Jingo Moralist like he would've wanted to rein them in.
New York Buildings
Did you notice how you can recognize the Empire State Building behind Elizabeth in the future sequence, but there's no World Trade Center? In 1984? Did Columbia already knock it down?
The developers probably omitted the appearance of the WTC Towers because portraying them in such a scene would be in incredibly poor taste.
They actually omitted because the viewpoint of that scene, Booker's apartment, has the World Trade Center behind where the character is standing. Other than being slightly higher than it is in the real world, Booker's apartment exists in the real world as an actual building with the viewpoint lining up with what you'd see if you went there yourself.
Of course, the World Trade Center wasn't blown up until September the 11th, 2001. So it would still exist in 1984.
Retgone and lives
This is more of a point of view thing, but if you erased Columbia from existence, wouldn't that cause hundreds of couples from meeting the person they fell in love with? That would mean you caused hundreds, if not, thousands of people from ever being born which, in essence, makes them Deader than Dead. However, it could be subverted by the grace that, in theory, everyone has an alternate counterpart in different realities, so that all those people who ceased to exist would simply be different people in the universes that still exist.
Yes, and this even sort of happens in game with Chen Lin; in one universe his wife is Chinese, in another she's a completely different woman.
And besides, not all possibilities are eliminated anyway; who's to say Booker's the only one with constants and variables in his timeline?
While I understand the choice, from a narrative perspective, to not make a Songbird boss battle (indeed I can think of roughly twenty tropes that rhyme with bad writing if such a fight had happened), I don't quite understand why Bad Future!Elizabeth imply that Songbird is flat out invincible. I mean, between the handheld weapon technology, the Vigors, the personal deflector shields, and the fact that Songbird is specifically said to be made mostly of leather (i.e. not bulletproof), you'd think that End Game!Booker would have at least a decent chance. But no, apparently, possibilities are Infinite, except when it come to Songbird, then it's auto-lose.
While there are probably plenty of things that Booker could have used to have a decent chance of successfully killing Songbird, he didn't actually have access to any of them — until he was given the flute, that is. But honestly, what would you use to stop him? The airship fleet didn't do much good, likely because he was too fast for their unwieldy guns. Even if he's not bulletproof, he doesn't have to actually survive, just kill Booker. Elizabeth is largely helpless on her own, and could be captured by normal mooks. However, I had a bit of fridge brilliance as I was writing this: He might have a shield, like Booker. That could be how he survived ramming through giant airships, and why the cooldown existed (he needed to wait for the shield to recharge). In that case, there might be literally nothing in Columbia that could do enough damage to kill him.
^This. Songbird isn't flat-out invincible in the sense that nothing that exists or ever will exist can kill him, but nothing Booker has access to will do the job before Songbird kills him first.
An alternate Ending
Couldn't Booker and Elizabeth simply force Booker to not participate in Wounded Knee in the first place? Seems a bit more convenient than suicide.
Then neither would exist. Picking the moment they did stops Comstock and makes sure Anna lives.
What in particular does participating in Wounded Knee allow Booker to have a daughter?
For Want of a Nail. It's better to not mess with more than you have to otherwise it might lead to a Booker that never met Anna's mother. Like, maybe, her mother was a bartender he met while drowning his sorrows or something. If he never went to Wounded Knee he wouldn't have gone to the bar to the drink and never met Anna's mother. That's just an example but I hope it got the point across.
The Vox Populi of universe- 3
I guess this is something that could just be handwaved with "alternate universe, everything is possible", but it is something that appears really, really unlikely to me and I would really like to know if some of the steps that got us here are ever elaborated upon. Throughout the universes you visit, the higher class Columbian society pretty much remains the same, probably because booker becoming comstock if he accepts the baptism is some weird universal constant. With that society comes the repressions of non-whites, the Irish and the Jews. So how did the Vox Populi of Universe three get so incredibly powerful? How does a poor and repressed minority, led by someone accused of murdering someone akin to a saint, obtain their own fleet of airships? Where have they been converting Handymen? How do they have their own Firemen? How about their own line of Abe Lincoln battlebots? They can't have gotten it from Fink Manufacturing, since they only capture that when Booker arrives, but what else is there? While we're at it, why are some of the Vox Populi suddenly dressing as devils (despite also seeming religious)? Why are there suddenly members of the Order of the Raven in the Vox Populi, despite the cult being dedicated to the oppression of the same minorities that the Vox Populi is made up of?
Firstly, in this universe, they got the armaments they didn't receive in other universes. Plus, the poor and repressed minority is comprised of the entire city's working class, most of whom couldn't give a flying fuck about what happened to Lady Comstock. Gigantic working class in opposition to comparatively miniature upper-class is an incredibly one-sided battle, provided working class is armed and equipped (which they weren't in other universes). Airships and Motorized Patriots can be stolen here and there, and anyway, most of them you don't see in action until after the raid on Fink Industries. In regards to them dressing as devils... well, they're kind of opposed to the ideals of the rabidly fundamentalist Founders; these costumes exist as an insult to their enemies. Finally, the Crows you encounter are likely defectors from the mainstream cult in much the same way that Slate defected from Comstock's army; the same likely applies to Firemen and Handymen.
Logistics aside, remember that Elizabeth's Tears were a form of wish fulfillment. And along with the other factors that empowered the Vox in that universe, one very important point in their favor was Booker, who teamed up with Slate, burned down the Hall of Heroes, and fought and died alongside Fitzroy. Since Elizabeth was no longer a factor in him being there in Columbia, only Slate and the Vox gave him a reason to stay. You, as the one controlling Booker, know exactly how much of a One-Man Army Booker can be; imagine that guy on the side of the Vox.
Lutece twins are healthy; Comstock is not?
So Comstock became sterile and aged quickly due to using the contraption. But why are the Luteces fine? Presumably they'd use it even more than he did, or at the very least be present when he did.
Two things: One, we don't know that they used it more than they did. They only needed it for one thing: bringing Robert over. The rest was all stuff Comstock wanted, so they could have easily just opened the door, popped over for a minute or two, but not stayed for long enough to do real damage. And two: After their accident, they're universally transcendent beings with no clearly defined limits. For all we know, they were about as bad as Comstock, but they decided to appear younger after their deaths.
Booker and Comstock in the same reality
How are Booker and Comstock inhabiting the same reality from the start of the game when they originate from different parallel realities? We get no indication that Booker traveled to another reality before arriving in Columbia. That would make the more reasonable option that Comstock arrived in Booker's native reality years earlier and took over Columbia. But from what I can gather, Columbia only came to be through Comstock's influence, and Elizabeth's abduction to a parallel reality happened shortly after the city was launched, so... huh?
We see it in the flashbacks when Booker's real memories start resurfacing. Robert Lutece opened a tear in Booker's office, pulling him straight to the rock with the little rowboat in Comstock's reality. Then Booker underwent tear-sickness, his mind trying to fill in the blanks caused by stepping between universes. He sorts it all out, coming up with the fiction that the Luteces hired him to "bring us the girl and wipe away the debt," and that's when the game starts, as Rosalind and Robert are rowing him to the dock in the rain.
Booker has no clue about Columbia at first. When Elizabeth comments on the strangeness of not knowing about a flying city, he says he hasn't caught up on current events. It's fairly reasonable that he didn't know about Columbia because it didn't exist in his world, and Booker gives a weak Hand Wave that makes that lack of knowledge plausible in his own mind due to his Tear-sickness mental conditioning.
Booker, Tears and Decoy
Every now and then, especially during sniper sections, one of Elizabeth's Tears can materialize a Decoy Booker for the enemies to shoot at. Question is, in another universe someone left a Medkit crate, or a Patriot, or whatever, for Elizabeth to phase in, and that's fine...but what the hell does she summon when she brings in a Decoy?
Maybe in an alternate universe Comstock was a lot more depraved and had Booker stuffed and mounted after he killed him one way or another? Sounds pretty horrible, I know, but that's the only way I can think of for a lifeless, immobile, but still convincing enough Booker to exist.
Burial at Sea makes the original game make no sense!
If we're to believe the generally accepted explanation of what the ending of BioShock Infinite means, it is that Elizabeth, in drowning Booker De Witt in the baptism pool before the choice between De Witt's path and Comstock's is made, utterly obliterates every timeline which involves Booker De Witt becoming Zachary Comstock by killing him at the very point where that choice is made. Thus, we are to believe, Comstock CANNOT exist anywhere in any universe as Booker can never become him, found Columbia, rain holy fire on the world etc. But Burial at Sea quite clearly proves that to be horseshit, because it now turns out that far from preventing any Comstock from ever existing, he still does in at least some timelines, and Elizabeth (presumably the last one left in the BS:I ending) has to roam around the multiverse to get revenge on his various incarnations individually. WHAT. THE. FUCK. You can either take this one of two ways: either Elizabeth's timeline-reality-warping at the end of BS:I was never going to destroy all the Comstocks, in which case there was no point drowning Booker at all other than Rule of Drama (and this directly contradicts what Liz herself says about Comstock's still being alive in "a million million worlds" necessitating him being smothered in the crib), or the explanation given for what Elizabeth did makes absolutely no sense and therefore neither does the ending, even as a metaphor. Either way it somehow manages to Retconin a plot hole, which seems at best deeply unsatisfying and at worst something that completely ruins the first game entirely...
It's possible that drowning Booker only destroyed Comstock in the worlds where Elizabeth existed. Anna was killed as an infant in Burial!Comstock's universe, thus leading to his guilt and absconding to Rapture. Elizabeth, and by extension Columbia, could not have happened in that universe because Anna died — therefore, in that universe Booker was not drowned because Elizabeth did not exist to drown him. Alpha!Elizabeth, fresh from the events of Infinite, is coming to fix that error by killing that version of Comstock. It's also possible that by going into another universe, Comstock saved himself from the universes resetting so that he always drowned, and again Alpha!Elizabeth is coming to fix that error. Either way, the DLC is not over yet. All of this will probably be explained come Episode Two...
Another possibility is that this DLC actually takes place before Comstock is erased from the timeline, or perhaps concurrently. Once the Siphon is destroyed, Elizabeth gains total control over time and space. She could have potentially spent millennia wandering around the multiverse before returning to Booker and helping him destroy Comstock and from his perspective it would have seemed completely sequitur. It does raise the question of why she bothered killing Comstock if she's planning to erase him from existence later, but it could be that killing him was not her ultimate goal in that timeline. Instead she was merely using him to find Sally, and once they did she pulled a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on him.
But in how the Lutece twins explain time, there is no such thing as BEFORE Comstock being erased, Comstock is erased, will be erased, has been erased. All time is simultaneous. The only explanation is that indeed, Bioshock's ending is BS, or rather Elizabeth and Booker have no idea what they were doing. They thought they erased the timeline, but in fact, it was all futile, because there are always constants, and introducing new constants only introduces new timelines.
I figured it was a Comstock that escaped the event that ended all his counterparts. If you look at Alpha?Elizabeth as she was begging Comstock to let go of Anna, she is still wearing the clothes she had on in Colombia. In the end of the main game, the Elizabeths that drown Alpha!Booker are not her. It can be figured that it was at this moment she left Alpha!Booker to go and try and get Comstock to reconsider in this universe, maybe as a way to alter the infinite timelines without killing him, this being her first try to alter timelines with her abilities, she fails...badly. This Comstock then has the Luteces transport him to the BAS!Rapture where he forgets his past, his mind create memories as to why he is in Rapture and he becomes Booker!Comstock, but this saves him. As he made the journey to a universe where Booker never existed or was still alive elsewhere, before Alpha!Booker erased the Comstock timelines. He saved himself, unwittingly, from never existing. The point, as I understood, of the entire DLC was Alpha!Elizabeth trying to see if Booker!Comstock had truly changed into a Booker, or if deep down he was still Comstock. This is why she set up events so that Booker!Comstock's rescue of Sally would mirror Comstock' stealing Dead!Elizabeth. She was giving him a second chance and once again he failed, showing that in the end, he was still Comstock. She then watched him die to "erase" him, one less Comstock to harm others.
He tried to rescue a little girl from a life of being a genetic abomination, he didn't even want to use the heat up the furnace trick, and Elizabeth is judging as an asshole deserving to die. What. I think Liz, godlike or not, is tottaly blinded by her hatred for Comstock, and that she is trying to pidgeonholed him as an evil bastard, no matter what.
Well... dude did decapitate a baby.
With an infinite amount of parallel universes it's perfectly possible that there's at least one if not countless where Booker refuses the baptism but due to who knows what factors becomes Comstock anyway, as well as Bookers who take the baptism but for whatever reason avoid becoming a power-hungry religious zealot. The drowning only prevents the Comstocks that result from the baptism, it doesn't stop the ones that happen due to other circumstances.
What is Elizabeth Doing At the End of Burial at Sea?
While I can understand a lot of the plot details regarding the ending, there's one massive issue I still can't get around. If the hypothetical split between the main campaign and the Burial at Sea campaign is the event where Comstock takes Anna away from Booker in the portal, then the Burial at Sea story takes place in the one that we see from Comstock's POV, where Anna is decapitated, he suffers from guilt and retreats to Rapture. Question: What is grown-up Elizabeth doing there? I understand that at the end of the main game, she was basically trying to rid out all versions of Comstock after becoming an omniscient Physical God, even the ones that weren't formed by Booker's baptism, but then why is she there? If she's able to jump timelines like the Luteces now, then why doesn't she just deck Comstock in the head rather than just shouting at him with the Luteces for him to give Anna back to Booker? Hell, if she could do that, then why did she have to follow him when he went to Rapture? Couldn't she just have jumped back again and actually did something else at that same situation? I realize this is only Episode One's ending, I do think this warrants some form of explanation.
I think of it as she's trying to redeem him first, see if this Comstock is one of the variables. One of the Comstocks who lets go, or will be the first to let go. And her trailing him throughout the game to see if Rapture has changed him, to see if he's a better man. She's a physical god, she can judge him all she wants, and then when she makes his judgment, determine what to do.
There's one problem with that - When the find Sally in the ducts, Elizabeth is insistent in burning her out of them and Comstock wants no part in potentially killing her, going so far in that he demands Elizabeth hit the thermostat. If Elizabeth were judging his character or looking to redeem him then she wouldn't be putting herself in a position where she could be doing something even more monstrous than what she knows Comstock did.
Big Daddies in Burial at Sea
For some reason, no one on the Internet is bringing that up. The original BioShockestablishes that Big Daddies were created during the Atlas/Ryan civil war in 1959. But they appear in Burial at Sea, which is an anachronism, since this DLC is set shortly before the start of the war, and there isn't yet "a genetic arms race" going on nor a whole lot of corpses lying on the streets. And the Bouncer that fights Booker is clearly shown to be protecting Sally, which means these Big Daddies aren't just maintenance workers who would later be given a new function. It's understandable why the developers wanted to include such an iconic element of Rapture as the Big Daddy, but they didn't quite think this through from the writing standpoint. Of course, the discrepancy could easily be explained by this Rapture not being in the same reality as the one from BioShock, but Ken Levine's words in an interview imply that this is, in fact, the Rapture from the first game. So, is this a retcon, or is this Rapture really a different one? Asking Ken about it might shed some light on the issue. Burial at Sea Episode 2 may also provide some answers. There was a similar discrepancy in BioShock 2, with Suchong dying at the hands of a Big Daddy before the New Year's Eve, although IG apparently doesn't consider this game canon, and Burial at Sea contradicts it in regard to Big Daddies, already having Bouncers around in Rapture.
It's a bit of a Fan Wank on my part, maybe some of the information given is unreliable. I mean, we never heard of Minerva's Den and the Thinker before BioShock 2. Maybe some stuff isn't exactly known. Maybe the Big Daddies weren't widely known about. And those that did had ties to Fontaine and Ryan. Like Booker with his cop friend Sullivan, who worked directly for Ryan.
The same Big Daddy issue exists in the BioShock prequel novel, but that incorporates characters from the sequel too, so that might not be canon.
Burial at Sea and Vigors
Why are there Vigors in 1959's Rapture? If they were Plasmids in any other thing except name I'd understand, but they are not only most of the same Vigors you find in Columbia (including "Shock Jockey" instead of Electro Bolt) and they make people crazy, but they are not injected. (INB 4 they are using the BioShock Infinite engine. I'm sure they could have tweaked it a bit if they really meant to.)
An audio log explains how Suchong saw Fink through a Tear stealing his Plasmid designs and tweaking them into drinkable compounds, ie the Vigors. Suchong then stole that idea for essentialy next-gen Plasmids, but there wasn't time enough to distribute them widely before the attack on New Year's Eve, which is mere hours away during the event of Burial at Sea ep1.
No Happy Endings in Infinite?
Why do the endings of the main game and Burial at Sea, Episode 1, have something horrible happening to the player?
Maybe Irrational hates happy endings?
I'd consider Booker reuniting with baby Anna, with Comstock and Columbia retroactively erased from existence, to be a fairly happy ending, all things considered.
In Burial at Sea, does Elizabeth murder Sally to troll Comstock?
As mentioned above, once they find out Sally is in the pipe ducts Elizabeth is so insistent in turning the heat up and Comstock repeatedly warns her that it could kill the girl. Eventually he's so pissed that he makes Elizabeth hit the thermos, and at the point he's almost saved Sally Elizabeth demands he lets her go. When the Big Daddy kills Comstock, it's pretty obvious that the girl's still in the pipe, so what happens then? did Elizabeth just do something much more evil than what she killed Comstock over?
Promotional material for episode 2 shows Elizabeth holding a Little Sister, presumably Sally. Maybe she needs her for something, and decided to make Comstock help her (and then kill him when she didn't need him). It's hard to tell until it actually comes out. Furthermore, Little Sisters are basically immortal. Unless those vents are a lot hotter than they should be (like hot enough to incinerate things), she'll survive. It will hurt, but she'll survive.
Guessing from the trailer for Part 2, Sally survived.
Elizabeth's learning as a child
If Elizabeth was denied human contact her whole life, who taught her to speak, read, use clothes, and (ahem) other basics?
Rosalind, presumably. Plus, during her most formative years, she had the power to create new tears and go on multi-dimensional jaunts, so maybe she was socialized through people from other dimensions.
Is it faked, or is it real? Cohen probably had an actual mustache, but in Burial at Sea, it looks like it was drawn on. So do his eyebrows. For reference, see this picture.◊ and this one. (WARNING: Uncanny Valley+Nightmare Fuel)
Looks pretty fake to me, like he smeared his face with a calligraphy pen. Come to think of it, I don't think he even his mustache in BioShock 1 was real, looking back at it. But yeah, no facial hair could be that smooth.
You could be right-This picture I posted on the Nightmare Fuel page shows him without one. But then, Fontaine Futuristics also made lots of other Plasmids that aren't seen in the game. I remember in the BioShock: Rapture book, an angry Brooklyn worker yells that his "New Skills" Plasmid, that he was going to use for a job tomorrow, was stolen. So perhaps Fontaine made a Plasmid that gives you impossibly smooth looking facial hair?