Escapist Podcast: Bonus: The BioShock Infinite Podcat!

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Bonus: The BioShock Infinite Podcat!

Warning! This podcast contains major, major spoilers for BioShock Infinite - If you haven't completed it or haven't played the game yet, listen at your own risk!

In this bonus edition of The Escapist Podcast, we discuss all the ins and outs of BioShock Infinite: Our most favorite (and least favorite) parts, what parts of the story confused us the most, and what we think is next for the franchise.

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Mmmmmm.. special podcats. My favorite. I think you guys work best when you have a topic you're trying to stick to (keyword on trying, I suppose). I miss game of thronescast..

edit: About the "Where did the racism come from..."
The main group who do the whole Baptism as adults thing are the, surprise surprise, Baptists. And, Southern Baptists were racist as shit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Baptist_Convention#Divisions_over_slavery

I'm guessing that's where they pulled that inspiration from, with Baptism and its moral implications (Some sins can't be forgiven.. , followed by Comstock's madness) being such a main focus.

MisterShine:
Mmmmmm.. special podcats. My favorite. I think you guys work best when you have a topic you're trying to stick to (keyword on trying, I suppose). I miss game of thronescast..

We do have one in the works, albeit we had to deal with some unexpected audio issues :P

I did not even realise that part was a stealth section. First encounter I just shot/bashed everyone. The rest I used Murder of Crows traps, which I upgraded, so they turned to more crow traps. Combined with that item (whichever it was) that gives you salts for kills it was a breeze. Played on hard.

I feel after you mentioning about Booker raking through the trash/toilet that this gif is rather appropriate :D

image

Also, I must admit, I was so getting ready until the last 5 minutes to write a comment going "Oh, you didn't mention the music..." and then you did, and I'm so glad you did. Not to do a disservice to any other part of the game (most of which I thought were wonderful as well) but the music was my favourite part.

A lot of it was absolutely wonderful but I'll link a couple of my favourites.

One that Susan mentioned, the God Only Knows cover

And the version of Fortunate Son during the Vox Populi uprising

Just unbelievable, and I loved the explanation for it as well.

Definitely best game of the year, so far, in my opinion.

Am I the only one who liked the ramming vigor? Get the explosive upgrade with the gear that makes your melee hits turn the enemies vulnerable and the electric shock with the slightest touch, and I could ram into enemies,the explosion counts as a touch and everyone was weakened and stunned, allowing me to pick them off with my hand cannon. REALLY damn fun.

Great spoilercast guys! Was looking forward to seeing this one.

I personally have no problem buying that Booker would emerge from the baptism as Comstock, and then become a virulent racist, when racism was so common back then.

Long post ahead, but please read, I really really want to know what people thought about this. -SPOILERS-

So about the neck pendant decision. EVERYONE(almost) chose the bird, as the game lead you to make obvious decisions(I mean no one threw the ball at the slaves either -.-). But those decisions you chose as Booker that seemed very "right/wrong", the opposite answers were Comstocks ideals/things he would have answered that you(Booker) never would have chosen to do.
-Assuming you followed how the game lead you-
#1: You(Booker) throw the ball at the announcer, but Comstock would have thrown the ball at the slaves.
#2: You(Booker) choose the bird as it represents Elizabeth and that you just set her free, but Comstock would have chosen the cage for obvious reasons.
Etc.
But did anyone else feel that way? That the choices wernt hard, they were obvious or atleast heavy handed by the game. Yet in retrospect, the choices we were lead to disagree with were all things the alternate world Booker would have done. This really sold me, it made me realise how well the game made you BE Booker, even though you were also Comstock.

But half way through the game(the climax/turning point for me), when you see Elizabeth in the future and New York is burning, she hands you a note. On this note is a picture of the cage.

Seeing that made my heart stop.

Elizabeth then tells you to take it back to her younger self to make things right. I thought they were about to pull an old trick and make you replay the game THROUGH the story giving you this reason and to choose the cage. As Booker himself says at one point (paraphrased) "Sometimes a cage is a good thing, it protects you." I genuinly believed i had reached ending #1 of the game and that i was being told that my seemingly obvious and superfluous decision altered the course of history. Now i had to go back and fix it.

Honestly, i wanted that to be the ending. I was so disheartened that the game went on a different path that i almost lost interest in the game. I was SO gripped by that idea...I just cant bring myself to like the true ending at all because of it. Anyone else think the same thing at that moment?

Having never watched any of the trailers for the game pre-release, I wasn't really surprised by

About the Bird/Cage pendant:

The trick here is they both mean the same thing - at the start of the game they both symbolize Elizabeth being trapped (the bird = Songbird, the cage = her tower). At the end of the game they both represent how she gains her freedom (Again bird = Songbird, and the cage = the sequence of notes to control him).

Turns out the Luteces were asking you a trick question - which is very in character for them ...

I threw the ball at the interracial couple. At the time, I told myself that it was because Booker was "undercover", all alone in a potential hostile city without weaponry, but afterwards, I thought that I had no way of knowing how he felt about the racial question. None.

Oh, and you don't actually get to throw the ball.

The racism is actually well-explained near the beginning of the game. Right after the raffle scene, there's a voxophone of Fink saying that running Columbia takes a lot of manpower and that the upper-class citizens of Columbia wouldn't want to do it, so Fink could get prisoners and poor people and that Comstock could use racism to dehumanize the workers so that the citizens wouldn't have any issue.

And don't forget, the racism isn't just against blacks. Irish immigrants were considered the scum of the earth; there's more than one Irish Vox member later in the game.

The Lady Comstock fight was a monster box, I killed loads of them before I was sure of it the first time then the next 2 I just nuked the fuck out of her with devils kiss and all ghosts died.

I predicted the you are Comstock part about half way through the game cos I knew the ending was some sort of big twist so just started going through all the usual ones. (Booker is not real, Elizabeth is not real, Comstock is not real, Columbia is not real, You are Comstock, You are Elizabeth) But the rest of the ending was unpredictable and when you are in Rapture I was like OMG!OMG!OMG! even though it turned out to be just a reference and nothing to do with the ending.

cynicalsaint1:
About the Bird/Cage pendant:

The trick here is they both mean the same thing - at the start of the game they both symbolize Elizabeth being trapped (the bird = Songbird, the cage = her tower). At the end of the game they both represent how she gains her freedom (Again bird = Songbird, and the cage = the sequence of notes to control him).

Very interesting way of looking at it :)

Crazy Zaul:
The Lady Comstock fight was a monster box, I killed loads of them before I was sure of it the first time then the next 2 I just nuked the fuck out of her with devils kiss and all ghosts died.

Those fights were BULL HONKEY!

Crazy Zaul:
The Lady Comstock fight was a monster box, I killed loads of them before I was sure of it the first time then the next 2 I just nuked the fuck out of her with devils kiss and all ghosts died.

Yes i don't understand why they all found the challenge during this fight so hard. When she resurected people she stayed still and got a LOT brighter and solid instead of transperant. I really don't mean this to be braggy, but it came off as obvious in the first encounter ._. guess i am in the minority there.

Did anyone else get to the Wounded Knee part with the 2 archer statues and think 'Really guys? A Skyrim joke? In a world with a proper story...' But then fortunately it turned out to be a legitimate historical event with a stupid name.

Fortunate Son by CCR is playing near a tear in Finkton.

Crazy Zaul:
Did anyone else get to the Wounded Knee part with the 2 archer statues and think 'Really guys? A Skyrim joke? In a world with a proper story...' But then fortunately it turned out to be a legitimate historical event with a stupid name.

Wounded Knee was a river name.

Leximodicon:
Fortunate Son by CCR is playing near a tear in Finkton.

Yep. Because of quantum.

So the stealth section isn't spelled out with big letters and short words (but that's being nice; it actually is spelled out, in big letters and short words. And a picture). But if you don't get the idea after the first encounter then that's not the game's fault.

But it's not even necessary - it's a trivially easy section without stealth. The enemies are all slow and melee-only. There's plenty enough health/ammo/salts in the area to clear them all out.

Yeah, I didn't find the asylum that difficult (on Normal). It was creepy as hell, though.

About Comstock's racism:

There's a voxophone you can find from Comstock where he talks about being accused of "Having a few teepees in his family tree" by other soldiers (Slate also mentions something about him being called the "White Injun of Wounded Knee') which was one of the reasons he was so brutal during the massacre - he was trying to prove that he wasn't one of the "others".

Given that Comstock's big thing was that he never truly repented his actions but rather took for granted the forgiveness he'd be granted by God (the difference in Booker being he felt he could never be forgiven), is where Comstock's racism comes from - trying to prove that he's the Great White Messiah he claims to be and not of mixed race with a bit too much zeal.

EDIT: Found a transcript of the voxophone for those who missed it:

Zachary Hale Comstock:
"In front of all the men, the sergeant looked at me and said, 'Your family tree shelters a teepee or two, doesn't it, son?' This lie, this calumny, had followed me all my life. From that day, no man truly called me comrade. It was only when I burnt the teepees with the squaws inside, did they take me as one of their own. Only blood can redeem blood."

Really enjoyed the podcast and thank you for doing one. While I will save whatever disagreements I had you what you guys have said; I will say that I really wish you guys touched on a theme that resonated for me throughout the game was the cyclical nature of the game and how (as the title suggests) the game has been played on infinitely. The idea of the main objective of the game to be, as Elizabeth's song suggests, to break the cycle ("will the circle be unbroken?" a nice meta moment for me). I also really latched onto how certain things were labeled as variables and constants. The whole there is always "a man, a city, and a lighthouse" as well as that coin flip moment apparently being a constant. It was a nice bit of Sci-Fi that I really enjoyed. Coming to the realization that every time Booker died (w/o Elizabeth around) was a Booker from an alternate world doing exactly the same things this Booker did up to the point of his last fight was a great way to open my head up to the possibilities of what the game could do with the premise.

Also, it is my theory that the pendant was used as a way to mark to the Lutece's to help differentiate the Bookers and Elizabeths from one another. That or it really didn't matter at all, which I am fine with. Hell with the cyclical theme, I took away from the game you could say that the drowning didn't work at all (since you don't see Anna after the credits) and that Booker is just hearing things because of his guilt.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the game flaws and all and really want to start a 2nd playthrough.

I just got to the bit in the podcast where you talk about the choices not affecting the ending, which I thought was actually really clever and one of my favourite things about the game.

'Moral' choice systems have been one of this generations biggest game mechanic fads, but there's also always been a bit of a backlash against them. They've been accused of being arbitrary, being a gimmick only used for cheap replay value, and also on some occasions having a very skewed view of morality itself. One particular game that, in light of all it's other praise, got particular stick for it's moral choice system... was the original Bioshock.

The attitude to choice that this game took seemed to me like a rather meta way of Irrational Games saying that they got it wrong in regards to choice in the first Bioshock, as well as a commentary on choice in games in general. No matter how much illusion of choice a game is giving you, you're still being guided by a game world that runs on a very strict set of rules. No matter what the game is, in order to progress in the game, you have to do things the game's way. Therefore choice in games, even when it does have narrative consequences, is inherently cosmetic. As such, I actually thought it was both very clever and appropriate how they used the issue of choice as a red herring, and made pretty much the whole point of the game about how, even when you think your fate is in your hands, you are being guided by forces that you can't control and don't entirely understand, and that your choice is only possible because the opposite choice was also made an equal number of times in a different world.

EDIT: I also found that a lot of the things Susan is calling out for not being explained properly were explained perfectly adequately in my experience. For example it's stated more than once (and not just in the voxophones) that Elizabeth was kept in the tower because they needed to siphon her ability to create and control tears, otherwise she could just escape no matter where they put her. Until they were able to control her personally and use her as a figurehead, they needed to restrict her abilities so she couldn't use them against them. Comstock's racism manifests because he interprets the baptism not as a chance to repent, but as a way to justify the things he did, which was helped along by the 'White Man's Burden' attitude that was still potent in a lot of fringe Christianity at that time.

The racism was several fold and fit especially well with Columbia. Baptists, deep seeded racism, DEEEEEEEP seeded racism. DeWitt being accused of not being white drove him to extremes of depravity to prove loyalty to being white, so when seeking redemption he would again go to extremes, which leads back to Baptists.

Explained in game about needing labor, which is explained by someone else.

The thing I love most about games is the world it creates. It can have flaws story wise or bugs in its mechanics but as long as they're not to extreme I can still enjoy myself.

Its one of the reasons I enjoyed Bioshock 2 but at the end of the day HAD to admit that it made no sense. By allowing the Big Daddy character Delta to CHOOSE weather or not to harvest the little sisters they killed the idea of what a Big Daddy is for me, and don't give me that shit about how he's a proto-type, thats such a fucking cop out! This sucks especially as I really became attached to both Eleanor, who I thought was more bad ass then Elizabeth, and Sinclair, whos death was damn depressing seeing how much he wanted out of Rapture.

I loved Bioshock Infinate but it definatly has its flaws in terms of continuity and a very watered down combat system. The world it creates is easily enough for me to recomend it though, that Beach Boys cover isn't going to listen to itself.

For some reason I had a idea where the song bird was Elizbeth's mother. I thought because she died when Elizbeth was really young, was super protective and ya well seemed to make sence in my mind until it was all contradicted.

I know the Podcat crew may have said why before, but why is it that you guys dislike BioShock 2 so much? Granted, I always like sequels better then the originals with just a few exceptions, but in Bio2 the gameplay was tighter, there were more weapons, more plasmids (which also had different ways to use them), a better hacking minigame, more choices with the Little Sisters, more choice period, more endings, more everything. I even liked the story better, because I found Sofia Lamb a much more 'visible' antagonist since Ryan never really spoke to Jack much. And of course, poor, poor Mark Meltzer. What is it about BioShock 2 that's so objectionable that you guys won't even speak it's name? Presumably because saying it would increase it's power?

cynicalsaint1:
About the Bird/Cage pendant:

The trick here is they both mean the same thing - at the start of the game they both symbolize Elizabeth being trapped (the bird = Songbird, the cage = her tower). At the end of the game they both represent how she gains her freedom (Again bird = Songbird, and the cage = the sequence of notes to control him).

Turns out the Luteces were asking you a trick question - which is very in character for them ...

What you say. I think it is "true". :) Well done.

I have heard some people ask about what/where the vigors came from. That one voxophone from Fink's brother that tells us about how they have been looking through the tears to steal music was also used by Fink to spy on a "brilliant biologist". My guess is that they stole the ideas of the vigors from other people in other dimensions. Maybe even from the Rapture dimension.

That's my guess anyway.

Also, did anyone think naming Fink, fink was a bit too on the nose. I mean, come on. The lying, backstabbing, jackass of a businessman is named FINK. That's a bit much.

To Susan, Justin, Paul and anyone else who struggled with the Siren/Lady Comstock fights:

There is a piece of gear on Harmoney Lane, which is right before Comstock Victory Square(where the last Siren fight happens) that makes these fights a breeze even on Hard(haven't tried 1999 yet). It's a hat called "Storm" and it's inside a locked store that requires 3 lock picks to enter. Sorry I can't be more specific. I wasn't paying that close attention at the time, but I am sure there are FAQs that can help out anyone who can't find it.

Description: Killing with Devil's Kiss, Shock Jockey or Bucking Bronco causes effects to chain to nearby enemies.

She always resurrects enemies in clusters. I shock one with Shock Jockey and kill him with one of my firearms. Then the electricity spreads to all the others and I finish them off. The effect also renews itself everytime you kill one of the subsequent enemies. It works great for that last fight where you have to protect the generator too.

So hopefully that helps alot of people out.

MisterShine:
Mmmmmm.. special podcats. My favorite. I think you guys work best when you have a topic you're trying to stick to (keyword on trying, I suppose). I miss game of thronescast..

edit: About the "Where did the racism come from..."
The main group who do the whole Baptism as adults thing are the, surprise surprise, Baptists. And, Southern Baptists were racist as shit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Baptist_Convention#Divisions_over_slavery

I'm guessing that's where they pulled that inspiration from, with Baptism and its moral implications (Some sins can't be forgiven.. , followed by Comstock's madness) being such a main focus.

You guys also seemed to miss out on the stark reality that America was a deeply racist country during 1912. This was a country where even the social progressives were tinged with the racism of feeling a social obligation to use their superior whiteness to help those unfortunate enough to be born black or Chinese. The people who weren't so high minded were downright evil to everyone not like them.

Now take a man who committed the next best thing to genocide, tell him that his sins have been washed away and he can take that to mean one of two things.
1. God has forgiven Booker/Comstock for his sins. He has a clean slate, and get a second chance at life. No murder this time son.
2. God understands, and it's cool Booker/Comstock! Wounded Knee was okay. You don't need to feel guilty about it. Go forth and tell the world! Maybe sponsor that zany scientist lady.

I think that #2 is the most likely explanation because Booker/Comstock is an intrinsically violent person and deep down can't successfully deny that aspect of himself. In the Booker universe(s) he decided to try and drown himself in booze and gambling to try and come to grips with the guilt he still felt. In the Comstock universe(s) he decided it was okay by god that he killed a bunch of people at wounded knee and therefore there was no need to feel any guilt at all. That lack of guilt in the Comstock Universe(s) led to the systemic racism of Columbia. This is compounded by the fact that Columbia removed itself from society at large years before, and has had YEARS to fester and feed upon its best and worst aspects. Meanwhile Booker, still holding onto his guilt, won't stone an inter racial couple.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Songbird was a third Booker/Comstock that Comstock snatched from another dimension and turned into a monster.

Description: Killing with Devil's Kiss, Shock Jockey or Bucking Bronco causes effects to chain to nearby enemies.

She always resurrects enemies in clusters. I shock one with Shock Jockey and kill him with one of my firearms. Then the electricity spreads to all the others and I finish them off. The effect also renews itself everytime you kill one of the subsequent enemies. It works great for that last fight where you have to protect the generator too.

So hopefully that helps alot of people out.

I think the gear is randomized, but yeah... this. When Lady Comstock started raising everyone I charged up a Devil's Kiss, dumped it in the middle of her little display and when all the enemies spawned there was a massive explosion that blew the living crap out of everyone. Then I just filled the Lady with lead.

Well Susan, I think Comstock's racism can kind of be justified, in that article your were talking about, with broken knee and all that, there was also a description given of parallels between comstock's philosophies and a irreligious movement from that period on american history which included A: white man is holy man, all other races suck (so his racism could be seen as not coming form some kind of hatred he pulled out of thin air, but as a necessary part of his new found faith) and B: jesus will only return once the whole world is christian, either through conversion or through killing everyone else off.
So I think that's why "newyork".
I think it was also offered as a constant reminder of just how horribly wrong comstock's vision can and will go, that he ends up trying to wipe out all other cities for being sinners. the whole "the prophet shall sit the thrown and drown in flames the mountains of man" and such.

As for the "gotcha" ending thing. I've definitely seen worse. Spoilers for the movie The Number 23. Jim Carry's obsessed with a book which is a biography of some guy who fits Jim Carry's character spookily, and he can't figure out how it's possible. At the end of the movie it turns out that he had written the book in his past and it's like "WTF? how can that be" and it's only then that he reveals "oh by the way, I have amnesia and don't remember the first 20 years of my life" and it was like "WHAT?! YOU CAN'T BRING THIS UP NOW!!"
But i think Infinite did a good job leading into those revelations, such as offering you that "anna" is a thing. We know there's an "anna" involved some how, but we don't know how. So when it's revealed that Booker had a baby girl that he sold to pay for his dept, we don't think "you can't tell us this now! otherwise we would have figured it out!" we're busy being satisfied in the revelation of "OH! That must be Anna!"
So I think they did a good job in leaving so many loose ends that when the truth was revealed, all those loose ends being hooked up to each other and completing the circuit made it a satisfying reveal.

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