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BioShock Infinite has been out for over a week now and its storyline, specifically its ending, will remain a big topic to be discussed in the world of gaming for months. If you prefer hearing Entertainment Fuse’s thoughts about the game in podcast form, the latest Digital High podcast is now available to listen, but if you still prefer our thoughts in written form, keep reading here. Keep in mind that if you have not beaten BioShock Infinite yet, come back here when that is done because there will be lots of spoilers below.
After the first couple of hours wandering around Columbia, BioShock Infinite’s story definitely takes shape once you meet Elizabeth. Throughout the game, however, there are some hints that various NPCs or the environments give you that are surprisingly addressed in the ending such as the one girl calling Elizabeth Anna after the beach scene. Where the game really took off for me story-wise was the tear opening to another version of Columbia when Booker is supposed to be leading the Vox Rebellion. That was when I realized Infinite is not as straightforward as I thought it was going to be, but that is probably not a surprise since it is BioShock game. Also, suspicions of the multiple universes concept was not in my mind until it was addressed in the ending even though it seemed like it was teased at that turning point as well.
Once you're able to defend Comstock's airship with Songbird helping along against the Vox to destroy Monument Island, that was when BioShock Infinite to me turned into an episode of Lost with some answers, but a lot more questions. The nod to Rapture is a beautiful scene assuming that Infinite does take place in the same universe as the original BioShock, but turns out it was not and instead it is just one of infinite universes as Elizabeth explains in the multiple lighthouses scene. What I didn't expect the first time experiencing the ending was the game’s big twist that Booker is actually Comstock. Hearing Voxophones by Booker and Elizabeth during the game also got me a bit suspicious about the fact I’m playing as a different Booker, but I know I should not be concerned thinking about it. Elizabeth being Anna Dewitt, Booker's daughter, was also something I didn't see coming.
It was actually nice to see BioShock Infinite live up the title especially with the post credits scene full of possibilities and more questions. I’m curious to see how Irrational handles the DLC for this game as one of them is about Songbird’s background. If the franchise ended here with Infinite, I would be fine with that, but I won’t be surprised if we see another BioShock game in the future.
There can be many different interpretations of the ending, which is fitting for the game's "infinite worlds" theme. However, BioShock Infinite's ending leaves much to be desired and more questions than answers.
Although the ending for the most part makes sense (the acceptance of the baptism leading to Booker becoming Comstock, requiring that "post-baptism Booker" be killed to prevent the turmoil from ever taking place in the game), it is an unrealistic solution given the number or variables involved. With parallel universes, Comstock wouldn't always be the religious zealot thirsty for power and control. In other worlds, it could very well be Booker, who is the antagonist while Comstock is trying to "wipe away his debt."
Overall, the game does a great job with trying to bring everything to a close, but the foundation of the ending was not well planned or executed. There were many paradoxes that were difficult to explain or even accept. The biggest hole in the plot for me is that if Elizabeth killed Booker in her own universe, she would cease to exist in her current state with those memories, meaning she wouldn't remember to travel to other universes to continue the killings.
I don't think that the ending to BioShock Infinite is all that hard to grasp, but the internet be damned, because everyone is trying to turn this into more than it really is.
The basic concepts that I figure matter at the end are this: Booker is Comstock, and he gave away his daughter to pay off “his debt,” which even though this “debt” is debatable, I swear it was revealed as gambling debt. During the twenty years that he regrets his decision, he at some points brands his hand with the initials A.D., which spell out Anna DeWitt. In 1912, he's magically the same age that he was when he gives up his daughter.
Now to understand all of this, I have come to this simple conclusion, and I know it is an easy one to pick, but it is what makes the most sense to me: everything that happens in BioShock Infinite is a dream. Now, I would not have come to this conclusion if it didn't have the total “Inception” post-credits ending, but based on that, this is the best answer I can come up with. The events of the game come off as one gigantic dream that Booker/Comstock has that makes him realize, “I shouldn't give up my daughter for this gambling debt,” and thus, at the end, he doesn't. Now, we don't see Anna/Elizabeth at the end of the game, that's where the game leaves us to come to our own conclusion, but this is the best conclusion that I can come up with.
The only monkey wrench into my ideas would be the scene in which Elizabeth opens a tear that drags you into Rapture. However, more than anything I came off of that as simply a fantastic nod to a game well loved by fans of everything Irrational Games has created, more than anything else.
When I first finished BioShock Infinite I was pretty overwhelmed with everything like a lot of people were. Having replayed the sequence multiple times and reading up about the backstory it pretty much all makes sense to me now. For a multi-dimensional/time travel story it actually comes together rather well and holds up under scrutiny. As is the case with this story and TV shows like Lost, I think the thrill and discovery of the journey is the most important part rather than actually where we end up, and that journey for the game’s duration was incredible. It is probably my favorite story ever told in a videogame. For people who are struggling with some of the concepts, I would recommend collecting all of the voxophones as they really clear up many of the plot points such as why the Luteces are doing what they are doing, why Comstock is a lot older than Booker, why he can’t have children, etc.
As far as what the effect of drowning Booker at the baptism has is anyone’s guess. I think they leave it open on purpose so you can decide on an outcome for yourself without there being one true outcome to everything. The post credits scene furthers enhances this idea which plays like the final shot of Inception. The way I see it is that we see a completely different Booker in a new and fresh universe where the possibility of Comstock never happened. It leaves it somewhat happy, but it could just mean that the drowning changed nothing and it is inevitable that Comstock will be born via baptism in an alternate universe and will always take Anna away from Booker.
I love how much this game references the original BioShock game and it really is the perfect sequel. The Rapture reveal was perfect and couldn't have been handled better and with the BioShock world being explained that there is always a lighthouse, a girl, a man, etc. it seems impossible for Irrational Games to ever do another game that tops this. I can’t see them doing another one, but after the huge success of this game I’m sure we will see a sequel, I just hope whoever makes it can do the series justice.