BioShock: Infinite Big Daddy replacement named “Handyman”

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 10:00 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Irrational has given a name to the giant enemy seen in the recent BioShock: Infinite reveal: he’s called Handyman.

“Obsession” with “large hands” led to the creation of BioShock’s latest icon, Irrational’s confirmed in its latest podcast.

The Big Daddy-alike – seen both fighting a human at the start of the game’s reveal trailer and grabbing the game’s female lead, Elizabeth, at the end – has porcelain, mechanical hands that very nearly weren’t.

“I think with the original Handyman, there were claws,” said concept artist Rob Waters.

“But in the end, Crabman didn’t end up working out because he couldn’t grab a guy and shove him in a fish tank very gracefully, and he ended up looking a little goofy in-game.”

Before the final Handyman design, the enemy had “giant mechanical crab claws,” according to the artist.

“How would he take a leak?”

Explaining the reason for working the monster’s hands into something more human, lead artist Shawn Robertson said the claws were simply implausible.

“How could this guy exist in any world? Fundamentally, how would he take a leak? How would he eat something?” he said.

Gameplay, as ever, had the final say.

“Levine’s problem was a gameplay thing,” said art director Nate Wells. “Here’s a classic case of a trailer causing one choice to be made which then has repercussions in the game. It actually turns out to be a really good thing.

“The functionality problem was that claws are for grabbing, and not for pushing or punching. This guy’s actual functionality was to punch.

“And that sort of evolved between the time Rob did his first sketch and the designers based funactionality on that sketch, and by the time we’d done a prototype is was like, ‘Well, this guy should grab, not punch.’ You punch with fists. So he evolves again and he actually gets hands.”

“Fundamentally scary”

In addition, the team said hands are more “fundamentally scary” than claws, and that using the porcelain hands you saw in the trailer adds a “humanity” to the character.

In the game’s first play demo, Handyman is seen in action as a boss, right at the end. This early play-test has thus far been shown in New York and Cologne.

Studio boss Ken Levine actually confirmed the character is called Handyman in Cologne last week, speaking to French site GameKult.

BioShock: Infinite was announced in New York earlier this month. It’s a first-person action game set on the floating city of Columbia in 1912. You won’t be playing it until 2012.

Keza caught up with Levine at gamescom last week. Get that here.

Here’s the podcast clip that gave up these quotes:

And here’s the trailer again. Just as a reminder: