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BioShock Infinite Pendant: Should you choose the Bird or the Cage?

What are the consequences of choosing between the different necklaces for Elizabeth?

Some way into the story of BioShock Infinite, you'll be prompted to choose a necklace for your NPC companion, Elizabeth. The game makes much of the significance of the pendant on the necklace: one shows a bird flying free, while the other shows an empty cage. Both images have symbolic importance to Elizabeth's story, and making the right choice feels important.

So which will it be: the bird or the cage? On this page we'll explain the significance of the choice, as well as what impact it has on the rest of the game.

Warning: expect story spoilers for BioShock Infinite from here on in.

Should I choose the Bird or the Cage?

The honest truth is that it doesn't really matter whether you choose the bird or the cage, at least not in terms of gameplay; your decision has a symbolic impact but doesn't change the game mechanically, nor does the story diverge from here. Choice, divergent paths, freedom and entrapment are running themes of BioShock Infinite, and this is an extension of that idea, inviting you to make a decision that you don't get to see the results of... and if that's still a bit too cryptic for you, read on below the picture for a fuller (though not necessarily less confusing) explanation.

Crucially, while the necklace does play into the game later very slightly, which pendant you choose doesn't actually change your overall experience or set you on a different path, so you can safely pick whichever you prefer.

What happens if you choose the Bird or the Cage?

Ultimately, this decision is less about Booker and Elizabeth, and more about the Lutece twins who offer you the choice, similar to the coin flip they gave you at the beginning. Being interdimensional explorers unlimited by time or space, the Luteces have likely seen this scenario play out hundreds of times, either in different timelines or by going back and looping the same events over and over. Offering you this choice is one of their ways of keeping score of all the little differences and nuances between the many universes they've observed. You could also make the point that it's a metanarrative comment about free will and player choice, but that's probably for a different article.

The only tangible difference your choice makes is cosmetic: Elizabeth will prominently sport your choice of pendant for most of the rest of the game. That being said, there is a moment near the end of the story when Booker sees Elizabeth and suddenly exclaims that it isn't her. Looking closer reveals she's wearing the other pendant, not the one you picked out, hinting that this Elizabeth is not the one from your universe. However, that's literally the extent of its importance to the story after the initial choice.

It's a bit of a mind-bending answer, but should clear things up after a couple of days to process it. If you want something more straightforward in the meantime, why not check out how to crack all the Vox Populi ciphers and codes in BioShock Infinite?

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