Wednesday, April 24, 2013

(What I Think Was or Is or Will Be) DeWitt's Fate

"There's always a lighthouse, there's always a man, there's always a city."
- Elizabeth

First things first. Just a word of warning, this post is full of spoilers on Bioshock: Infinite. There's really nothing to review in terms of gameplay - it's a Bioshock game, after all. The writing, however, is worth a deeper look into.

Secondly, let me get something out of the way - I liked Andrew Ryan's Rapture much more than Zachary Comstock's Columbia. There is something much more compelling about a 1960s underwater city than a 1920s floating city. So much more, in fact, that I constantly refer to Elizabeth (or Anna, if we are to debate semantics) as Eleanor.

Thirdly, and perhaps just a matter of personal opinion, Songbird seemed like a vastly underdeveloped character. I thought that being pair-bonded to serve as Elizabeth's guardian would give it a greater role in the story - comparable to that of Subject Delta.

Lastly, the ending was strange, if not downright confusing altogether. I've said before that I'm not exactly fond of protagonists getting killed, but alas, Booker DeWitt is yet another entry to this growing list. I suppose that ending sequence, lengthy as it was, threw so much information at the player too quickly. It took me several hours to try to piece together what happened - because game story writers leave so many things to interpretation these days. Even then, I'm still not sure if my interpretation is correct.

From what I understand, DeWitt and Comstock are the same person. The former was his real name before his baptism (because he wanted to be rid of his sins from the Battle of Wounded Knee. The latter was his name post-baptism - where he went on to realize his vision of Columbia. This sort of explains why Comstock claims to have been at the site of those two hideous battles (whose names I forget) - because he still went under the name of DeWitt during those times.

This also explains his motive for trying to take Anna (or Elizabeth) from DeWitt, since he claims that only his flesh and blood could be the heir to Columbia (and the Luteces claimed that Comstock was rendered infertile due to exposure to the energies from the Tears). Technically, Elizabeth was still his daughter, albeit from a different reality within the probability space.

It also appears that DeWitt has been trying to rescue Elizabeth across multiple realities, as shown in the repeating intro sequences near the game's conclusion, although he gets the same result up until his last attempt (where the game is set) - he saves Elizabeth, accepts baptism at one of the realities and unknowingly creates another Comstock to start the cycle all over again. This is also alluded to in the early part of the game where the Luteces make him flip a coin and he has chosen heads for over a hundred incarnations.

Anyway, DeWitt's death before his baptism and rebirth ensured that Comstock (referred to as the Cradle) would never exist (and neither would Elizabeth), but it would spare DeWitt in the realities where he never sells Anna to Comstock - since Comstock would no longer exist in the first place.

I guess it's a bittersweet ending. On one hand, Anna is spared across the multiverse where she exists. On the other, the events in the game never occurred in the first place because DeWitt's actions in said game prevented it from happening.

As a final note, I thought I had it figured out. Then I was reminded that only Andrew Ryan (and his genetic kin) could operate the bathyspheres of Rapture. I gave up at that point.

So yeah, Bioshock: Infinite is definitely a mindscrew.

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