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SPOILERS for BioShock Infinite After the Credits Content

As the title says, this post will go into spoilers about the end of BioShock Infinite and the content that is included after the credits on that game. If you have not yet played BioShock Infinite, then please pick up a copy and give it a go before you read this post. If you have played it and not stuck around to the end of the credits, I suggest you go back to your last save and check out the after credit content. It is not long, but it changes your perspective on the end of the game.

…………….SPOILERS FOLLOW………………………..

When I watched my co-op partner finish BioShock Infinite I was… disappointed. So much so that I almost did not finish the game myself. It had left things in a fairly sucky position and I just did not see the point in all of that time invested in game play only to have things then .. end how they ended. I then discovered that there was content after the credits and I wanted to see what that was, so I went ahead and played through to the end of the game. For those who have played it and not seen the after credit content, I must say give it another chance. Go finish the game and check that out, then read what I have to say here. I can actually forgive them for the one ending only on that game.

So, why just one possible ending when we had multiple endings on the other BioShock games? It is simple really, that is the only possible solution to the puzzle.

I am going to assume that if you read past here you have either finished the game and watched the after credit content, or you want to be fully spoiled about it.

Now, if you do not already know this, then you have been warned that you are in for major spoilers, so, here is the fist one. When you finish BioShock Infinite, Booker Dewitt dies. The character that you have spent the entire game coming to love is dead and you have no options throughout the course of the game to change that from happening. And that is where things get… complicated. To understand the end of the game, you need to understand multiverse theory. I don’t want anyone to think I am talking down to them, but I am going to explain in simple terms because I had at least two people that I had to explain in the most basic of terms. So, if you know what multiverse theory is, please feel free to skip the indented section and go on to the rest of the game discussion.

Multiverse Theory is a theory that says that every decision we make, rather it is to turn left or right at a street light, to accept a new job or pass it by for a job we think might be better, every choice we make creates a possibility of “what if we had made that other choice?”

So, if someone pulls up to a stop light and they have no predetermined reason for which way to turn and they turn left, it creates the possibility that they might have turned right instead. By turning to the left maybe they stopped at the store and bought a lottery ticket that won a million dollars, which they then spent on poor purchases and within a year they had blown it all away and were back to being poor.

But what if they had not turned left? What if they had instead turned to the right? Might they have never purchased that lottery ticket? Maybe instead they went past an accident and saved someone’s life. What might have happened in their own life then? Perhaps by turning to the right they save a multimillionaire’s child from being hit by a car and are given a reward of $100,000 that the multimillionaire then invests for them and in five years they are, themselves, a millionaire and have a better, slower developed, sense of value for the money and go on to be multimillionaire’s themselves?

The trick is, that BOTH versions are in some way a reality. The person made both decisions, became wealthy through fast lottery winnings and through a kind deed. So this creates two different worlds in which the pair lives.

Imagine if there were a way for the two to meet. Might the one that had lost their money be angered at the one that had it so much better? Might the one who came into their wealth more slowly feel compelled to give the poor version of themselves a second chance at wealth?

This is the paradox that is dealt with in BioShock Infinite. The question of what changes might Booker Dewitt face if he were to be baptized, and how those changes in one man might effect the lives of those around him, even the world.

 

Now that we have an understanding of what a multiverse is all about, we can explain what BioShock Infinite was trying to accomplish with the story, that, if understood, is a pretty good one.

At some point in the time leading up to the start of the story, Booker Dewitt decided that to wash away the sins of his past he would get baptized. After this baptism he took on a new name and, seeing the world through a new perspective, felt that the corruption of the world needed to be risen above. This came about the floating city of Columbia. Columbia was everything the new Booker wanted the world to be, but it did not have the one thing he wanted in the world. An heir to carry on and assure his city never fell from the skies.

This caused the baptized version of Booker Dewitt to seek out a way to have a child despite his inability to father children. Enter our Booker Dewitt, the gentleman who is ferried across the sea to the lighthouse where he will go up to Columbia and face off against a tyrannical version of himself.

The hero Booker walked away from being baptized. He turned it down, and thus split the world into two versions. The one where he was baptized, and the one where he was not baptized.

Throughout the story there are multiple indications that there have been other Booker Dewitt’s that have tried to change the fate of Columbia and the world. The brother and sister pair that reoccur is usually the source of these clues. Such as their commentary, the coin they ask Booker to flip for them, with a signboard sandwich-board that has multiple results ticked off on it. The combination to get into the tower is, itself, an indication of how many tries had already been attempted.

It is not until the end of the game, when Booker Dewitt makes the decision to “kill him in his cradle” that the complexity of the situation is fully understood. The only way to save Booker’s daughter is for the Booker Dewitt that went through the baptism to drown while being baptized.

This is not, however, the end of the story.

Observant players will notice that the Elizabeth that Booker spent his time with has not accompanied him to the baptism this time. None of the Elizabeth’s that we see there wear the broach that she still wore just a scene before. This would seem to be insignificant, except for a small matter of multiple worlds theory that fits in with the one “true” Elizabeth, our Booker Dewitt’s daughter, would be the one that wears the choker. By her not being at the death, it indicates that there is a thread, somewhere, where she is still a part of the world.

This is the world we see after the credits.

Booker Dewitt wakes up in his office after we see him having drowned at the baptism. The calendar on his desk is a good clue that tells you this is the day he had handed his child over to an alternate version of himself, the one that had made Columbia. The last we see is Booker racing into the next room where Elizabeth’s crib is, desperate to see if his daughter is in her crib. We never know, it fades to black.

This brings us to Schrodinger’s Cat.

Until we look onto the crib, Elizabeth is both there and not there. It is up to the player to decide if Booker succeeded in stopping the creation of Columbia by his alternate self, thereby never bringing about the events he went through in the game, or… What if Elizabeth is not there? What then? How many possible changes were there outside of the baptism that might have lead to her not being there?

Still.  I prefer to assume she is in the bassinet until she is proven not to be by us seeing into it. For now, she is both there and not there, which means that Booker both succeeded and failed in his mission. An interesting study in multiverse thinking, and not one that many would attempt to spread out in a game’s story.

Looking at the game from a scientific perspective I applaud the makers of BioShock Infinite and will most assuredly look forward to their next offering.

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