Is anybody tired of Bioshock yet? If so, you’re probably at the wrong blog—any day now I’ll be installing a giant flickering header that reads Bioshock Thoughts, let me show you them.
With Burial at Sea: Part 1 two weeks since released (and shocking, horrifying, and confusing players all the while), it seems like the new Bioshock installment is creating more questions than it’s answering, and sometimes we’re not sure which is which. In light of that, I’m going to do something a bit different here and throw down a nitty-gritty analysis of this DLC—what we know, what we think we might know, and what we definitely don’t. As a bonus, let’s take a look at how assertions previously made on Oracle Turret regarding Bioshock Infinite stand up to this new addition to the story, and what should terrify us going into Part 2.
During the final two levels of Bioshock, as player character Jack traverses the halls of Point Prometheus and the Proving Grounds, there is a notable shift in the game’s focus: where once it was about destroying the heinous dictator Andrew Ryan, everything suddenly becomes about the Little Sisters. Jack’s journey through Rapture concludes with a series of events that change the little girls from notable side-quest to characters of literally game-changing importance. Saving or killing the Little Sisters—the one decision Jack is truly able to make for himself—comes to define his character, effectively structuring his personality and determining if he is a hero or a villain.
With the release of Bioshock 2 in 2010, and Bioshock Infinite earlier this year, a pattern began to emerge based on Jack’s original journey, with the main protagonist of each game—in all cases an older (or, in Jack’s case, simply larger) male figure—acting as a protector to a younger female character. Perhaps even more interesting, the games’ villains follow a dynamic based on similar principles, though instead of protecting young characters, they harm them for personal gain—an act that, in the otherwise morally grey universe of Bioshock, marks them as irredeemable. Through these patterns, the Bioshock series maintains an underlying current of paternal anxiety, where the hero’s major conflict lies in his ability—and his choice—to protect or harm his female progeny, and the villain becomes irredeemable by harming her.