Irrational head Ken Levine has explained that BioShock Infinite’s Elizabeth is the spark that lit the powder keg of Columbia’s seething political dissent.
“When you arrive in Columbia, Elizabeth has been trapped in this tower since she was a little girl – and you bust her out. That’s essentially the catalyst that heightens the conflict. You really turn the heat up in a way that it wasn’t before,” Levine told CVG.
“The Vox Populi believe that the city is corrupt, so they want to demonstrate to the workers and the downtrodden of the world that this symbol of American imperialism has to fall. A prophecy says that if Elizabeth falls then the city falls with her. So they want her dead.”
“We started to think about this notion of her interacting with other versions of reality. It’s a notion of things that don’t necessarily exist in our reality, but that she can bring into the gamepla,” Levine said.
“What if she could bring in a skyline? What if she could bring in a turret? What if she could bring in ammo, or access to a new area that you can’t get to? What if you’re fighting the Vox Populi and you can summon in some Founders from another reality to fight for you? All these ideas came up in one meeting!”
Levine revealed that Elizabeth’s complicated relationship with her captor, the Songbird, was inspired by his personal experience with a victim of domestic abuse who inevitably returned to her abuser.
“That’s not Elizabeth – Elizabeth is trying to get free – but she definitely has a connection,” he said.
“This is the thing that raised her: this was the only contact she had. He brought her food, and her clothes and her books. He played with her when she was a kid.
“So she’s conflicted. And I think conflicted characters are way more interesting than characters who act with a certainty.”
BioShock Infinite is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012, with a stand-alone Vita project expected.