GameSpot GamePlay Special Edition Spoilercast: BioShock Infinite

IGN's Mitch Dyer joins Kevin, Caro, Chris, and Tyler to analyze BioShock Infinite and ask each other: what does it all mean?

GameSpot GamePlay Special Edition Spoilercast: BioShock Infinite

Caution: If you listen to this special episode, BioShock Infinite will be spoiled for you. Listen at your own risk!

How wonderful that BioShock Infinite has given us so much to talk about! Eager to sound off about Irrational's latest work, the GameSpot crew invites guest Mitch Dyer from IGN and dissects the sights and sounds of Columbia, seeking truth in every nook and cranny. This week's regulars include Carolyn Petit, Chris Watters, Tyler Winegarner, and of course, host Kevin VanOrd.

You can access all previous episodes on GameSpot here.

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GameSpot GamePlay Episode 33: Salmonella Commendation

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GameSpot GamePlay Episode 30: The Beefy Center of your Meat Arsenal

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GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

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Discussion

229 comments
NTM23
NTM23

Now I can finally listen to this, two months late. Late to the discussion. :(

jayd02
jayd02

I know it is kind of far off but I'm playing the game for the second time and I noticed something about the vigors.  When you get Devil's Kiss for the first time Booker says, "That was more than a sample."  Maybe that has something to do with  people not having vigors or abusing them.  

registradus
registradus

I don't felt like Daisy Fitzroy was a fleshed out character at all...

macca366
macca366

I thought Elizabeth would be Anna, but I thought Anna was Booker's wife that died, so it got me more when I saw it was his daughter, a little baby. I also thought Booker might turn out to be Songbird.

Question: If Anna was born before the baptism, then doesn't that render Comstock's sterility and hence motive to steal Booker's Anna irrelevant? Why would Comstock have had to go to the trouble to get her from another dimension, instead of merely getting his own Anna from his own dimension?

aldronlin
aldronlin

this game is epic, story wise... the end shocked me just like the first Metrix... 

X-Robert
X-Robert

Got to say, back in 2011, when Comstock was first revealed in the E3 demo, the gaint poster gave me a odd sense of looking at oneself in the mirror, and Damn, the ending twist.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Mitch's theory at 1.10... that's a pretty great theory.

Dradeeus
Dradeeus

I think Carolyn is wrong. She, |(like probably most people who saw a people being segregated and abused) likely wanted to see an inspirational Ghandi/Martin Luther King Jr-type person on the right side of history in Columbia. However upon replaying and listening to her voxaphones again, you can very much tell she was never some pacifist freedom-fighter and was always out for blood and revenge. Hell, she kills the man who breaks her out of prison (and prevents her from getting a lobotomy.)

I do agree smearing blood on her face was off-putting, especially considering she was supposed to be an intellectual, and in the context of a game that propagandizes the notion that the Vox Populi are wild savages.

RIIIIKU
RIIIIKU

I still dont understand somthing..... how does Killing booker at end kills Comstock ...... yes i know we are killing Comstock at his birth at the baptism...but...doest that kill the Comstock in that universe Only......how could it kill all the other Comstocks ???

luizferrarezzi
luizferrarezzi

“ The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist...”
Barriers to Trans-Dimensional Travel, R.Lutece 1889

“The impulse to accept the experience as real is so strong the dreamer will often invent a memory or a story to cover up an incongruous or unrealistic event in the dream.” Welcome to the Magic Theater: A Handbook for Exploring Dreams. McLeester, Ed (1976). 

No one is analising the first thing you see when you start the game.

push88
push88

I can't believe no one thinks that Columbia was a waist of an environment!  It was a city in the sky for crying out loud and all they did was add sky rails.  Think of the possibilities for combat they could have explored.  Honestly I can't believe it.  Didn't Ken Levine say that it bothered him that Rapture was nothing more than "art in the back ground?"  How was Columbia that different?  Ken Levine is a great writer.  We get it.  Can we move past that and analyze the game play a bit deeper?   

Disturbed_88
Disturbed_88

Now i understand why Ken asked Kevin if he saw 'Oldboy'... "You should watch oldboy Kevin"! Then again, if we could perceive time as it truly was, Kevin has already watched it...

sheogarde
sheogarde

The use of racism in this game is almost criminal. If you want to use something as emotionally powerful as the discussion of race in america, then you damn well need to be using it for a reason. Trying to figure out what they were thinking, and drawing inspiration from while making the game is irrelevant. Intent is not good enough to forgive the actuality. Even if it was, the game jumps realities 3 times, so the daisy that you end up with is not the daisy that you started with. The answer to why she becomes bloodthirsty all of a sudden is that booker decides to focus on the vox populi cause rather than going directly to Liz in the tower, and we know that he is a strong enough agent of change to cause this drastic difference. But the thing is, none of that matters. When you try to say that power corrupts, thats why, you can throw that right out the window because you just hopped from a reality where it didnt, so they cancel each other out in symbolism. When you start playing with infinite, which i wish they hadnt, then symbolically nothing matters, because there are now an infinite number of realites where they werent corruptible, and infinite where they were no matter what you do, so your choice is irrelevant. So after all that, what it boils down to then, is that racism was used as a form of conflict, and since this isnt a history lesson, it should never be used in that way. Ever.

The game was beautiful, but it felt like an empty, well built amusement ride to me, like a horror, or mirror house, you are shown one thing, and then are quietly ushered forward because lingering has no further effect. You can gleen all the meaning you want out of the infinite reflections of a mirror room, but its still flat on the surface under your fingers. When you have infinite reflections, none of them are important, and the heavy tropes you abused in trying to prove your point, like racism, and religion, are simply left abused, because in an infinite world those things werent required to achieve the same effect.

unanocheconte
unanocheconte

For a more well thought out study of this game, please check out http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=533205  -- makes more sense then the confused rambling from kev and caro ( no offense).  I tended to agree more with the others take on the narrative and themes. 

Surprised you guys didn't talk about the racial and religious  elements in the game more.  I personally found the both really offensive and ruined the experience for me a bit.  The poster of the  child standing above and aiming a gun on the 'foreign hordes'  was a 'damn they really just went there' moment for me. Was just so jarring to see that stuff in a game (yea I know I know, it's a MA rated game; still jarring thou)   Hearing the voxphone logs that were religious in tone talking negatively about non whites was such a hit in the gut for me.  I mean I get what the Devs were going for with the era and all.  I guess I'm not use to games taking such adult themes and subject matter; it's a bit jarring. Just kinda put me in a bad mood while playing. And the lynch mob scene in the beginning.... damn. So upsetting for me. I cant say a game has done that to me.    

But enough with the negative.  Being a Fight Club, Inception, Memento  and most of all a FRINGE FAN, I saw the ending coming a mile away.  They drop so many hints.  The AH-HA moment for me was the voxphone log where the female Letece says that she was looking at a girl that looked like her but wasnt her, and she was looking at someone that looked like her but wasnt her, etc and that's when she knew she wanted to get into Physics. 

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

But honestly how people could have not been expecting a more interactive, free roam FPS from Inifinate and then got what they got and not realise its just a total turd of a game baffles me.

Anyone who even dare say GOTY for Infinate needs there head looking at or maybe if there is pretty pictures in the background and a gun to fire your happy " this game has the prettiest pictures in the background such a great game" yurrrp.

i_like_pie123
i_like_pie123

Booker actually calls tails and the coin lands on heads.

Disturbed_88
Disturbed_88

Ken Levine... The Christopher Nolan of videogames...

Icarian
Icarian

Ken Levine clearly took a lot of influence from the French Revolution for Vox Populi. 

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

just got to the "Engineering Deck" on 1999 mode. i'm only 24, but even i remember how challenging games used to be. This is my second play thru (first one was on medium), and the level of difficulty on 1999 mode really makes the gameplay mechanics shine imo. vigor combos were very important, keeping track of ammo and spare weapons in the environment, and at some points even managing what pieces of gear you were wearing was important (i.e. for ghost mother fight on 1999 mode, the only way i managed to beat it was with an all melee-focused gear build while spamming Charge). The harder difficulties in most games these days don't offer the level of challenge given in 1999 mode, and in turn don't offer the greater feeling of accomplishment from completing these modes...and i'm playing it on my ps3! it's probably so much easier w/ mouse + keyboard..

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

Infamous had the same twist. It's a really unoriginal idea. Making the hero and the villain the same person. 

JOYRIDEME
JOYRIDEME

Also a question I had in my second play through that I couldn't figure out is when Comstock tells the soldiers to stand down and speaks to you on the TV screen Booker's nose starts bleeding and I couldn't actually figure out why. If anyone has figured that out i'd appreciate being filled in

Bolgernow
Bolgernow

just watch, all the parts of the plot that we skipped over will be filled in with DLC

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

I think every video game has officially exhausted the gimmick of the hero having no memories, false memories, or distorted memories. Enough with this gimmick. 

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

The discussion on Bioshock Infinite is some serious over kill. Jesus Christ people this isn't THAT smart of a game. 

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@macca366 I'm fairly certain that the baptism happened BEFORE Anna was born because the baptism happened 20 years ago but Lady Comstock "gave birth" to Anna 19 years ago. Unfortunately, I can't say I remember which Voxophones those numbers are from.

LiquidBullet
LiquidBullet

@Dradeeus I agree totally, though there is something to be said about what the game itself says story-wise, rather than the book that came before. The game doesn't really show her being as bloodthirsty as what she was written as.

registradus
registradus

@RIIIIKU there were other Elizabeth's from other universes present. I presumed they had already killed all the other Comstocks?

Jamoid
Jamoid

Because every Comstock went through the baptism. No baptism = no Comstock in any timeline.

Jamoid
Jamoid

Everyone should watch that masterpiece.

Jamoid
Jamoid

You say racism should never be explored within video games. Why?

It doesn't glorify racism, so what is the issue? You don't think games should explore any subject that might offend? Then why should movies, books or indeed any media/art be allowed to do so?

edgewalker16
edgewalker16

@Bread_or_Decide I think the ending is more of a "greater than the sum of its parts" case instead of the sort-of predictable plot twist where they are the same person.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

@JOYRIDEME they talk about it during the podcast, it's cuz that whole sequence doesn't actually happen...booker is imagining that in his head, as the mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist. if you try to kill the soldiers that stand down, their corpses disappear. it's the only time they do (aside from glitches i'm sure..)

petez34
petez34

@Jackier039xop looks like one of the Baldwin Brothers. waiting for a price drop. 60 for 15 hrs too much for me.

Redpool
Redpool

@Bread_or_Decide Yeah, I don't know what that is. The ending wasn't even that great. I mean, it was in no way bad or anything but it was fairly predictable and the whole thing was kind of a cheap escape by Levine, in my eyes... he could have done so much more with that setting :/ I guess that amidst all the god-awful endings of recent time, the game does stand out but all in all it is far from "genre defining" or "the best FPS"...

To be honest, as a game designer, the game is actually quite mechanically flawed in many aspects and  has some very antiquated problem solving employed... If it wasn't for the story... I don't know if I would've even qualified it beyond decent...

RIIIIKU
RIIIIKU

@Jamoid Yes i understand that...but....There are Millions of Booker.....Elizabeth killed "a" Booker....killing "a" Comstock at his birth........their are still a million more who ddnt die.......my head hurts....


sheogarde
sheogarde

@Jamoid I did not say it should not be explored. Im saying that this game does NOT explore racism. When you go out of your way to say that Daisy could have been good, Daisy could have been bad, Daisy could not exist at all! Then you are no longer exploring daisies reason for resisting, because there is no one answer. You dont end up with an end equation of what you were trying to say with her existence, because each subsequent existence contradicts the previous, you just end up with what her existence meant to the character, not to daisy herself, which to the character, daisy was a form of conflict. 

pentraksil
pentraksil

@Redpool @Bread_or_Decide 

You guys do realise that people are not praising the game ending because of the "twist" right? You could hint it halfway through the game, but in no way could you predict the entire universe travel, Comstock entering Bookers timeline and vice versa, same Elizabeth existing in two timelines, the loop Booker is in  and many many more details......the entire ending is marvelously put together and makes sense and that is the triumph here and i really can't remember any game doing something similar with the story. That is what the people are praising here, "twist" is not the key point here at all....

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

@Redpool @Bread_or_Decide  Playing the game in 1999 mode pretty much shines a light on how annoying the gameplay is and can be. How many times do I have to wonder whose shooting at me and from where? 

leviathanwing
leviathanwing

@Mersinary_Myth youve got it the other way around... because he didnt get the baptism he DIDNT become comstock... thats why he was chosen to fight comstock by the luteces and its all explained quite clearly during the ending.  turn the volume up and pay attention to elizabeth.

Mersinary_Myth
Mersinary_Myth

@RIIIIKU I look at it like a branching tree. and the moment that booker refused to get baptized actions led to him becoming comstock   so by killing off THAT booker comstock(all) no longer exist.. I think 

Disturbed_88
Disturbed_88

@Jamoid Back to the Future doesn't follow the "infinite-parallel-timelines" theory (what Superstring theory suggests), but the fact that one timeline/universe exists, where different choices/events don't branch out reality. But that theory can cause SO many more paradoxes, which would make one's head hurt more...

Jamoid
Jamoid

The Comstocks in question all relied on that specific moment happening, only after that did the realities relevant to the game branch off. Of course there are an infinite amount of Bookers, which by default means there are an infinite amount of Comstocks, just like there are an infinite amount of Stomcocks sniffing glue in Narnia wearing nothing but speedos and hats made of cured ham. None of those realities have anything to do with the game though, no matter how similar they are they are not within the timeline relevant to the game, they exist only because infinity dictates by default that everything exists ...and doesn't.

At least ...that is my best shot at justifying it within the context of the game world. When you start to mess with time travel and infinite realities there's really no point trying to make sense of it because our logic doesn't apply. The best you can do is creatively fill in the gaps and hope it comes out entertaining, which I believe was achieved.

Yeah my head hurts now too, fuck this I'm watching Back to the Future and Time Bandits.

Disturbed_88
Disturbed_88

@RIIIIKU I would think, since there are infinite possibilities, after that baptism, there is a set of infinite universes (that is developed through that particular timeline) where Booker never becomes Comstock, never builds Columbia etc. But, there is still an infinity of universes where they can't change things...

sheogarde
sheogarde

@RIIIIKU It wouldnt kill him, you are right.That is part of the problem of playing with an infinite world. It is quite literally impossible to put a leash on it, which is what they are trying to do. Even if they went further back and killed bookers mother, it wouldnt work. If anything is possible then nothing you will do will stop what you are trying to prevent from from happening. As lutece says, lives, lived, will live. Just as its possible that you will find an infinite number of worlds where no bookers exist, ever, its also possible for an infinite number of bookers to be born to an infinite number of different mothers.

Jamoid
Jamoid

Ok I'm starting to understand. Your original wording threw me off and I thought you were the type that wanted certain themes censored or used only in certain ways. Sorry!

I definitely agree it was all handled a bit clumsily. I think maybe for them it had to be specifically Daisy that was corrupted, because it's her that the player starts to feel a connection with through the voxophones etc. Maybe they felt that if it wasn't her but the rest of the Vox or just some of her random goons then it would not have had the intended impact on the player. The way she changes happens so abruptly and without explanation though that it ends up not having the desired impact anyway.

That said I still feel the game is enriched overall by including the themes of racism, but I definitely feel it could have been done better.

I think because at heart it's a shooter I went in with lower expectations in regards to the narrative, so I was pleasantly surprised by it, even though it's far from perfect.

sheogarde
sheogarde

@Jamoid Again, im not saying that i want it out of the game, i want it in the game but i want it used better than simply being boiled down to as a form of conflict. Look, if you took out Daisy being corruptable, and left Daisy as her original point of reference as a point of racial tension, then you can both have it in the game, study it in an enlightening way, and be the richer for it. By doing this Daisy is no longer something that can be factored out. If the vox populi still rebel against daisy, despite what she wanted, rather than what they did in the game, you accomplish both goals, and more. It proves that anyone is corruptible still, the followers after all joined up because of the racial oppression, Daisy isnt the only one with a beef after all. It retains that despite noble causes, daisies, the best intentions can go awry, as in the french revolution it was referencing. It still keeps the respect that championing these causes is still worth the risk, despite the outcome. And Daisies effect on the character is no longer JUST conflict, it is now all these things, looking for hope in the bleakest situations etc. These are all things we do, or at least should, know. But we dont know them because the game reinforces that. And thats why originally i say that the games use of it is criminal, not that its criminal in that they put it in the game.

Jamoid
Jamoid

I still don't see why any of that justifies completely taking out the racism, or why anything has to make a point to be allowed to be in the game. It's a game for adults, it's a given that some of the content will be offensive to some of the players. They don't have to answer to anyone for making the choice to include these themes and said themes don't need to make a point either. They can use them purely to create a believable world if that's what they choose to do. Who are we to dictate otherwise?

sheogarde
sheogarde

@Jamoid It needs to be explored because you can't simply use racial tension, racial oppression, racial history just for the sake of it being there. This is not a class about history, it is making up history using reference to real history. So if you are doing this you need to say something with it, it cannot simply be used as a mechanic. When you can take out the racial tension, Daisy could still exist. Daisy does not need to be fighting racism to prove that anyone is corruptable. The use of racism is not intrinsic in trying to say that anyone is corruptible. Its a cheap out to get the player to say "oh well obviously daisy is in the right, she is trying to throw off oppression of a highly racist society that has an institutionalized KKK. Well would you look at that, she is corruptable!" Well of course she is, but proving that she is corruptible proves no points in why her struggle was racism. By making Daisy anything and everything, then the reason for Daisies existence is now null and void, the actual physical person of Daisy doesnt even have to exist, because anything is possible in an infinite reality. So if Daisy the person doesnt have to exist then all you are left with is what you were attempting to use daisy for in the first place, which was racial tension, therefor you are only left with what that meant to the character, not to Daisy, and again, to the character it was all only a form of conflict.


Jamoid
Jamoid

I think I may be completely missing your point then. You think because within the game every possible outcome and scenario exists, that the racism becomes meaningless and therefore should not be in the game at all? Or am I completely missing the point?
Why does it even need to be fully explored? Can't it just be used to flesh out a world and make it more believable?
Maybe I am indeed missing something, but it sounds as if you are reading far too much into it. What I took from the game is that anyone can be corrupted - black, white, rich, poor, all can be both beautiful or hideous. Isn't that a good message to send out?

pentraksil
pentraksil

@Redpool @pentraksil @Bread_or_DecideI am not saying it is extremely original, but it is so well put together. When i first finished the game I also tought that the ending was nothing special as i was focused on the twist. I was kinda disapointed, but when i thought about the game a little, and started my second playthrough and actually went in depth with all the loops, time lines colliding, the games version of multiple universes I was blown away. There were hints, you knew that the time lines collide but still you could not have predicted everything that is there. It tells you that Elizabeth exists in two universes but not how that happened. Bioshock does take it's inspiration from Quantum Physics but it doesn't hold it as a rule...it has its own lore when it comes to that so it really doesn't abuse it since it doesn't take it fully as a center of the story. 

And you could have predicted all of this right? 

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=533205

 I am sorry but i really I really don't know how anyone could predict all of this before the ending itself...there were hints ofc, but getting all this hours before ending...sorry i just can't believe that.

Redpool
Redpool

@pentraksil @Redpool @Bread_or_Decide What the hell are you bloody on about? "in no way could you predict the entire universe travel" you mean the same universe travel that is one of the staples of the actual theory... You know the whole quantum physics guff that they're constantly repeating throughout the game? So it's surprising that two major characters may come in such a contact? Or that Elizabeth can travel because a part of her is in a different one? You know, LIKE THEY LITERALLY TELL YOU hours before the end.

Any and every part of the ending was expected. Was it bad? No. Could it have been better? At least I think so. I am really interested in hearing about all these "minor details" and how they come together to form this mythical, awe-inspiring "marvelously put together" ending... (Though I will concur here on one point, the ending, disappointing as it was for me, was pretty well put together and quite coherent as these things go.)


P.S. Don't get me started on their abuse of much of what Quantum Physics stands for. Anyone with a basic understanding in the matter undoubtedly had seizures at several key moments where they "explain" some stuff...

P.S.Or the ghost. Seriously, f*ck that bloody thing. -.-

Redpool
Redpool

@Bread_or_Decide @Redpool Yeah, that's what I played it on the first time, using the code. Not only did it explicitly show the flaws but it was also kind of bullshit as a difficulty modifier. 1999 style my ass...

I also got 100% of the collectibles  so I had plenty of time to explore every nook and cranny of the environments... Pretty yes... empty, vacant and hollow... yes :/

At 18h I wouldn't call it a disappointment but it sure as hell didn't live up to the insane praise. I was so looking forward to it too... Would've been nice if the "brainmelting awesome" ending wasn't spoiled in the title...