If you were looking for some more details on the fish-tank dunking, girl-snatching steampunk cyborgs of BioShock Infinite, then look no further.
Even among the floating townhouses and psychic powers of BioShock Infinite’s teaser trailer, it was impossible to miss the enormous mechanical man with a beating, human heart protected behind a glass shield. This is hardly surprising, as aside from this rather unique appearance, the guy who throws the protagonist out of a window at the start of the trailer – which is even worse in a flying city – and grabs the girl at the end, tends to make an impression. Don’t think that he’s just some nameless horror though, because he’s actually called “Handyman.”
But according to BioShock Infinite team, he was very nearly called something else; he was very nearly called “Crabman.” On the latest Irrational podcast, concept artist Rob Waters said that the original design called for crab-like claws, but they were scrapped after Irrational realized that it looked goofy when the character was put into the game. Art director Nate Wells said that Handyman’s functionality in the game also shaped his design, as he was supposed to punch, which required fists rather than grabbing claws.
Lead artist Shawn Robertson believes that the evolution in the design was actually a good thing, because Handyman’s huge porcelain hands are more “fundamentally scary” than crab’s claws, and adds a certain humanity to the character. Interestingly, Handyman is only ever referred to in the singular in the artist’s conversation, which might mean nothing, or it might might mean that he has a different purpose than a Big Daddy. If Handyman was some kind of unique enemy that hunted you down – similar to Nemesis in Resident Evil 3 – that could be an incredible gameplay experience.
BioShock Infinite is scheduled for release some time in 2012.