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blitzburns4

Bioshock Infinite's Ending

Hey guys. We haven't talked in a while, so I thought a good point of discussion would be to discuss Bioshock Infinite. (Specifically it's ending, but anything goes.) It's a game series most of us have played and many enjoyed, and we all seem to be pretty intelligent, so I wanted to get your opinions on it.

Naturally, there are some major spoilers in this discussion. If you haven't played Bioshock Infinite yet, I naturally suggest you do not participate in this discussion. (But feel free to anyways if you don't give a dime.)

Here is my analysis that I wrote to clear my mind upon finishing Bioshock Infinite a week or so ago.
 

 

Begin Rant.

Alright, so I may be a little bit more sensitive about the ending considering the fact that I just dropped full $60 and played Bioshock Infinite 14 hours straight (Taking food/bathroom breaks of course.) from 8:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M...only to see the ending that happened. Let me say this right now, I thought the game itself, up until that point, was a perfect 10. (And if not a ten, definitely a nine. Again I'm a little raw having just finished the game on Hard. The gameplay and was quite intese and suspensful- but that's another conversation.) Least to say, it lived up to every expectation I had following the first two masterpieces in the series. (And also to both System Shock 2, the spiritual predecessor of the Bioshock franchise, and Minerva's Den- the mostly forgotten single-player expansion for Bioshock 2. It was a self-contained story, but dang... What an amazing and brilliant experience that was.)

*Big Spoilers ahead*

Upon further research and thought, I do not feel confused by the ending any longer and I feel that I understandd the creator's intent perfectly. The idea, I think, was to instill a mind-blowing ending through the use of inter-dimension travel. I thought the idea was fine, but the execution total rubbish in my opinion. I literally had to think over what I saw for a good half hour before I even understood what had occurred. (This is not a good thing, by the way. I'm quite the avid reader of Science Fiction and fiction in general, and it's common knowledge that in order for the plot twist to have any kind of impact, whether it be emotional or psychological, the plot twist must be made clear to the reader. Otherwise, the reader could become disconnected from the story entirely as he/she will have trouble grasping the sequence of events IE "What the f**k is going on!? What the hell am I even reading?!?".)

Especially when it comes to Science Fiction, it's so important to have a number of rules and stick to them and make it absolutely clear how a plot twist fits within the given parameters set throughout any given story. Bioshock Infinite, as a game, establishes a few rules and hints at a few ideas very solidly, but then circumvents them entirely in the ending. Okay, so the ending didn't fit into my expectation. The expectation I personally had was that the ending would be similar to the last two games- with a positive bang. (Depending on your choices, of course.) However, the ending of the newest game ended with something of a whimper, to my total and utter dismay. The major reason for this (And that I felt was justified in my stance.) was that morality had absolutely no equation in the ending at all, even though- up until that point- we were given (What I found out later on) arbitrary choices between "good" or "evil". Stealing or Killing innocent civilians, for example- or deciding between throwing the ball at the captives or not. Then there's whether to kill a certain someone or not. And finally, there's that choice whether to kill to threaten to kill a station worker right in front of Elizabeth. All these choices, and experiences from the previous games, give the idea that I had some kind of influence on the resolution. So when I saw this bad and negative ending, I thought at first that I had accidentally made some kind of error in a moral choice earlier in the game. I hadn't though. So that in and of itself was pretty disppointing to me.

Anyways. Now that we have that out of the way let's move on. The idea I personally got was from the ending was that the creators were trying to get this idea that what had to be done, needed to be done in order for Elizabeth and Booker to not ever have to go through the ordeals that they did over and over again in alternate dimensions. That's something of a great idea the creator's where getting onto in my opinion- that the bad guy could never "truly," be defeated unless drastic action was taken. (That he could keep coming back.) It's kind of like Kingdom Hearts. (but not really.) It sets up PERFECTLY for an epic bad guy vs. Good guy conclusion. Instead though, the creators ended up circumventing their entire build up. I'd like to assume they where trying to be ingenious or clever, but in all honesty it was a total cop out. The way it actually ended up playing out was extremely flawed to me.

The biggest problem, to me, was that the guidelines that are set up give this idea that Booker HAD to sacrifice himself at a certain point in order for Comstock to never come into existence. (And thus, kidnap Elizabeth from Booker) This idea is flawed because it breaks the games' own rule it had established just minutes prior to this new development. Remember, just a few scenes earlier Elizabeth presents this idea that, whenever we make a choice, there is a new dimension created for the alternate possibility.

*Timeout* At this point, it's pretty clear all this falls under the Multiverse Theory. I'd just like to throw it out that that this sudden change in direction didn't sit well with me at all. To me, Bioshock was never truly a scientific game in the first place; (Man summons crows from his hands? Shoots lightning from his fingertips?!?) it just doesn't work for me. To me, Bioshock worked best playing off raw emotion. Not logic. (Ethos and Pathos, not Logos.) In fact, the very conditions by which Elizabeth controls her powers are very questionable, at best.
*Time In

Anyways, going back to the original point, though, it sets up this sense of an all-important sacrifice. At the time though, I assumed by the implications that it was sacrificing Booker's morality. This, again, would have been FINE. There where plenty of hints throughout the game that pushed Booker and the player to question their own morals. (An entire section of the game devoted to Boxer Rebllion and Wounded knee?) Hell, even if it was giving up his life, I expected it to be him going down...with a bang...Causing commotions and getting out of impossible situations seemed to something Booker was quite good at up until this point. I was disappointed to see otherwise.

Anyways- continuing onwards, In one of Elizabeth's "Great Revelations" before the actual conclusion of the game, we see how radically different dimensions could be. (For example, such as how the underwater city of Rapture could be created instead of the floating city of Colombia.) We see thousands of light houses and a full galaxy of all the possibilities and dimensions created for them. Indeed, we see all of this through Elizabeth's Inter-Dimensional Powers. Up until this point, the revelation of all this information was so-far, so good. (As all this information had been hinted all the way up until this point throughout the entire game.) We had some really cool cinematography, dialogue. The works, and it was perfectly FINE considering how damn good the rest of game was.

However, this is when things seem to go awry. First, we are reminded of how when someone crosses dimensions, they do not exist as a separate entity from themselves. This idea is not fully explained nor fully elaborated on, other then from a short cutscene that shows how we can relive, but not directly influence previous events. This, to me, is dumb. You are telling me that I can cross a dimension, become myself in that dimension, but not alter the course that was already set in that dimension?

Seriously, it was a "What the f**k does that mean. I don't get it." moment. Didn't Comstock and Booker, who are the same person from different dimensions, co-exist in the same dimension for the entire game? Why the hell do the rules for this change now? Oh, for some scientific mumbo jumbo, you say? Ok that's cool. I still don't get it...but whatever. And that's what I was like. At the time, I literally said myself, "Whatever the fuck that means. Let's DO this already!"

So by the time I opened that fourth thousandth light house door, my adrenaline was seriously PUMPING, my eyes GLUED to that TV Screen, and mind....my mind was already blown ten times over. I had to piss like a racehorse, but no human needs could draw my mind away from the Bioshock Infinte climactic resolution everyone had been talking about.

Least to say, I was ready. When I heard Booker say, "We'll smother him in his crib," moments before opening the door- I personally heard Seargent Johnson screaming from the background, "I'm about give you some whoopass!" and cheering "Oorah" in the back of my mind. I was seriously ready to take a shotgun and freakin' merk baby Comstock in his goddamn crib! (That's right. I even admit it.) Let me say this right now, do you know how f****d up that is? But hey, it was Bioshock. So again, understandable. I was literally ready for something amazing and mind-blowing to happen, as promised by the online interwebs.

Oh. The interwebz kept their promise all right. This ending was amazingly stupid and mind-blowingly disappointing. So what do we finally get in the super-climactic conclusion? Well, we end up for the tenth billionth time back in a freakin baptism courtyard, a beautiful day among nice green grass. (I seriously wanted to break out my Incinerating power and just torch the place at this point.) The creepy-ass priest is still there, minus his weird cult friends. I turn around, Elizabeth and her five clones come out, state something along the lines of, "Only way bro. Sorry, I own you."

Actaully, I believe the words were actually "smother," and "This has to end by never starting." Hey, whatever the f**k that means. I didn't care. I literally just stated that I did not get the message during this ending at all. (Literally, at the time I was still ready to go merk Comstock in his baby crib.) It wasn't until she proceeded to drown Booker, who either just lets this happen or wasn't strong enough to wrestle out of the grasp of three teenage girls and about six super-deep inches of water. (I don't know if anyone else realizes this, but once your body realizes it's about to freakin' drown goes total apeshit, whether you actually want to die or not. )

The screen fades to black as I stare, seeing nothing but Elizabeth's not-sure-if-hot face. (Three of them, actually.) In a post-credits scene. We see all the Elizabeths start to dissapte. Finally, we see Booker, ignorant of anything that happened at Colombia, stare upon a crib that may or may not have his daughter in it.

What really boggles my mind here is how Booker sacrificing himself would truly stop Comstock from being created in all dimensions. Besides the obvious, "Hurr durr Comstock's dead. Booker killed him."- Cause... Well, you know, the whole, "super-climactic revelation" was supposed to be that Comstock and Booker where actually the same person simply from different dimensions. So, umm.. "Surpise?"....

No, still don't get it? Yeah, neither did I. That's the entire goddamn f*****g point. No one gets it. (Let me repeat that.) NO ONE F*****G gets it. At least, not at first anyway. After we watch the ending and rush online for some enlightened user on a internetz to share his amazing knowledge and understanding of the Bioshock ending. It starts to makes sense because, because, because...because.......because.......

Multiverse? Yeap, that's it guys. Case closed. Booker killing himself to stop another evil version of himself yet somehow still surviving makes total sense now. It makes perfect sense that the rules of infinite possibility do not apply to Comstock because, well...Booker stopped himself from choosing to become Comstock by killing himself, right? Yeap that's right children- killing oneself to stop an evil side of your own self will not only stop the bad side, but promise to fix all your problems! /Sarcasm.

Listen guys. I'm going to call this for what it is. It's a plot hole. Yes, it's another mother f*****g plot hole, all right? (#Dealwithit?- No.) Except not really. Because, you know, we can always rely on the Multiverse to give us a nice Mind F*****g.

Because it all just fits now, right? Wrong. This change in events was clearly an arbitrary creation by the devlopers to try and be all cool and clever. Yes, we all know Booker should be dead. But he isn't. (It's splendid how it just works out like that, doesn't it?) You see, the game clearly established that dimensions are created based off possibility or, "What If" scenarios where, for every choice, a new dimension is created were the opposite choice was taken. Well, CLEARLY Comstock existing was a VERY real possibilty otherise Infinite's story would not be possible. (Hell, it isn't possible. Never was. But I'm speaking within context of the game's story.)

For example, what if- within the "good decision" branch. My man Booker went to his cousin's wedding. While there, he met an actually cool, not cultish priest who he became BFF's with. Booker's new priest Friend hits him up for a second baptism and Booker, still feeling all sentimental- decides to actually go through with it this time. Whoalla, Comstock 2.0 occurs- still existing within yet another universe.

Now, I understand that was an extremely bad example. But it's still gets the point across. According to the multiverse theory, new dimensions are based off possibility. Bioshock Infinite itself establishes that. It's very possible, though a sequence of choices, Booker can still decide to become Comstock regardless. I'm sure SOMEWHERE within the "good" decision branch, Booker at least ONCE thought back to his decision to not get baptized and considered to get batpized again anyways. (Or, for whatever reason, to become Comstock regardless.) By the way I'd just like to throw this out there...How the f**k does someone simply getting baptized lead to one becoming a crazy-ass religious prophet bent on the world's destruction, anyways? I didn't listen to every Audio recording, but I'm relatively certain it's safe to say that that is also a pretty far stretch considering the kind of character Booker is.

Anyways back to the original point. I'm sure, with in the infinite amount and combination of possible dimensions, we could find at least ONE where this exact scenario plays out...As that's just the thing about dimensions, they are paradoxes. As paradoxes, they can be bended to fit one's needs depending on circumstance. However, especially in the example of Bioshock Infinite, the reasoning itself is very flimsy at best. If you really want a legit example of Inter-Dimensions done right, please go do yourself a favor and refer to Roger Zelanzy and his Chronicles of Amber series. (No, not the s**t Disney one, which isn't related at all to Zelanzy's book series anyways except in the word "Amber." I'm talking about the legit and badass book series by one of the world's most famous Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors.)

(TL:DR) I basically just feel that in any other situation except Bioshock's. That ending would be thrown out. I have come across PLENTY of plot twists, cliffhanger endings, and mind-blowings. This one simply doesn't do it for me. And considering the circumstances of this game's release and how I played through it the way I did...I'm pretty disappointed. Now, I've never played any of the Mass Effect games, so now I feel that I can begin understand the massive frustration you guys went through. Speaking of which, my brother said the third God of War's ending sucked too. Jeez, I'm glad developers are experimenting but seems they might be trying a bit too hard to be different.

Thanks for bearing with me.

/End of Rant.
Tucker933 likes this

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