Home Editorial Bioshock Infinite: “Burial at Sea” DLC plot theory

Note: Due to the complex nature of Bioshock Infinite’s timeline, I delineate between Bookers based on which dystopia they come from. It gets a little confusing, so bear with me.

With Infinite’s latest DLC video circling teh internetz as I write this, I thought it might be prudent to discusses what I think and want out of the official return to Rapture. I’ll say here that “Clash in the Clouds” is a nice take on Horde mode, and really opens up possibilities for combat, but isn’t interesting beyond that point.

Beneath the lighthouse door

One of the major plot points of Infinite, and its namesake, was the concept of an infinitely spanning multiverse of realities. Elizabeth, existing in two separate and otherwise out of conjunction realities, can traverse any and all of them at will. In the ending cutscene of Infinite, Booker and Elizabeth visit Rapture, then leave so she can stop the temporal loop that is Zachariah Comstock. As I mentioned in my review of the base game, the after-credits scene reveals Elizabeth failed in her mission to close the loop, as there are still an infinite number of Bookers to live out the game again.

With the “Buried at Sea” DLC, players are ostensibly taken to yet another alternate reality, but with a twist. In the trailer, we see that Elizabeth is quite a bit older than her appearance in the base game, and this gives me an idea. Granted, the “it’s one of an infinite number of universes” argument stands, but I think I know where Irrational’s going with this one.

As “Buried at Sea” takes place while Rapture is still the utopia everyone hoped it would remain, in its reality Columbia never existed. Booker did however, and without the interference of the Lutece twins, he went down instead of up. Elizabeth, however, traveled to the Rapture reality with or without the Columbia Booker, and decided she liked the sea more than the sky. What she did with the Columbia Booker I’ll get to below, but for now, know that the journey Elizabeth took in Infinite is still very much in play.

The billion Bookers

Elizabeth exists initially in a world without Columbia, and through a very long winded scenario becomes intimately tied to it. One of a billion or so Bookers rescues her and learns how she gained her powers. A second of a billion Bookers never met the Luteces, was born several years after the one we play as in Infinite, and goes to work for Andrew Ryan.

Unbenounced to the Rapture Booker, Elizabeth and the Columbia Booker were partially responsible for Rapture’s creation. With her knowledge of Columbia and her reality spanning senses, Elizabeth assisted Andrew Ryan in sinking a city. Knowing the Infinite loop isn’t going to close, she decides to keep Booker with her, possibly turning him into the first Big Daddy, or some other fate we’ll learn of in due time.

Now situated in another utopian world, Elizabeth waits for the appearance of the Rapture Booker, with plans to use/rescue him from the fate she’s already foreseen and, in some reality, lived. From there, the story goes two ways. One, Elizabeth lost the Columbia Booker some time before and wants to keep the Rapture Booker from a similar end.

Behold the end of all things

The far more interesting direction, however, is thus: Elizabeth has become nihilistic and more than a little insane. Her mind is fractured attempting to compartmentalize an infinite number of answers to every possible scenario, and she’s seen one too many utopias end in mass slaughter. Instead of trying to save Booker or return him to a former state, she wants to destroy all the realities she can no longer tolerate. Stop me if you’ve seen Back to the Future and can already predict where I’m going with this. She’s kept the Columbia Booker alive for the express purpose of having two totally separate versions of him meet and tear a hole in reality so big that it can’t be closed.

This Omega Tear (my coinage) begins warping space and time beyond repair, eventually causing a fracture in causality that destroys the multiverse. When the “smoke” clears, nothing remains. Even the Luteces die, as there is no more “possibility space” remaining. All that is has become null.

But wait! There’s two parts of “Buried at Sea,” and we play as Elizabeth in the second. My prediction, then, is that a second Elizabeth, or even a massive number of them, learns of this rogue element in their ranks and they flock to Rapture to stop the end of all things. The problem is, the Elizabeth they face is far more powerful, having had years of being unfettered by the Siphon. The final boss of Part 2 is Elizabeth vs. Elizabeths, for the fate of all existence.

The billions of Bookers, of course, just get to watch and scratch their heads.

15 replies to this post
  1. Great theory, I hope your are right about it. I would love for the DLC to tie in so much with the main game. Unfortunately I think they are going to make it more stand along with a new Booker and Elizabeth that are oblivious to the others. I would much rater play your DLC though.

    • I admit, this theory is probably a long shot, and from a design standpoint its much easier to completely separate the two stories, but a man can dream.

  2. How it’ll actually play out:
    “Hey! Remember this awesome game we once made and what made it good? Well neither do we, now get down and do some more fucking Spunkgargleweewee, all the while getting dragged along inorganically shopped in setpieces from previous games which make you tear up wondering where the better gameplay went!”

    Interesting theory, but wouldn’t two polar Elizabeths meeting create yet another Omega Tear? Not helping the issue, is it. Besides, Elizabeth’s literally only role in Infinite was to sit in a corner where you don’t have to babysit her while you’re doing Spunkgargleweewee stuff. Maybe you’ll get to see people like Whazzername, the antagonist from 2, and be awarded an achievement named “Doing The Right Thing” for game over-ing by shooting her in the face. Then again…

    Holy fuck, everybody just mentally put those two things together for a moment. Elizabeth. Eleanore. Am I the only one seeing a possible connection? Imagine the possibilities. I won’t do it for you since some people seem to have problems with me speaking my mind.

    Or, hell, maybe there was something behind all those moments of apparently stupid luck in both BioShock games. What if Elizabeth realises the web of causality behind it and sees herself forced to ensure that all of Rapture’s events play out as they have, will, and do? It’d take one hell of a writer to make you believe that causing the fall of Rapture is the right thing, but I have faith… bwaa ha ha, as if.

    • I hadn’t considered the Elizabeth tear part, but if they’re willing to give her the powers they did, then two of them meeting would likely not be as catastrophic as two Bookers meeting.

    • I have no clue what I just read. I think the combination of me skipping Bioshock 2 , and Toraka having ADHD are to blame.

      • You know, I played BioShock 2 before the original and I found it sort of alright. In fact, its gameplay is the best of the “series”!

        Basically, I’m saying that BioShock 2’s McGuffin, Eleanore, and Infinite’s McGuffin, Elizabeth, are sort of similiar in both looks and function. Coincidence? Absolutely.

      • To Wikipedia I go! I always heard Bioshock 2 was the worst of the series, but having not played it cannot voice an opinion. I found Infinite much better than the first one in almost every way.
        Elizabeth can hardly be called a McGuffin though, she is incredibly important to the story,she is the main driving force of the whole plot and allows it to be explained.

      • Without meaning to start another argument here, that is exactly why she is a McGuffin. By herself she’s a rather meh character with lots of logic holes, but she’s the sole force that pushes the plot and that is her only reason to exist, to the point where it’s practically silly.

        Don’t expect people to be rational on things like that. Of course the old parts were always the best and anything that wasn’t BioShock 1 was bad for not being Bioshock 1 enough.

  3. I just wanted to point out that if one looks closely near the end of the trailer, you notice that Elizabeth is wearing her Songbird necklace.

  4. Elizabeth is an essentially omnipotent being that sees all possible realities and all timelines at a single moment…Its kind of an idea beyond understanding, but I don’t think she would simply go insane over time considering she gains all knowledge of all realities in a single moment…If she was going to go insane it would have been at that moment…Insanity would typically stem from the mind being overwhelmed with a specific or multiple pieces of knowledge and it can’t cope. However Elizabeth’s understanding of all reality is absolute. In the moment the Siphon is broken she obtains ultimate clarity not insanity….Also isn’t the ending of the credits proof that she completed her goal in stopping the continuing reality loop? A reality where Anna is still with her father and was not given to Lutece is a reality that can only exist outside of the loop…And why would she decide to make Booker into a Big Daddy? That seems a little too vindictive for Elizabeth to do…And isn’t the first Big Daddy the protagonist of Bioshock 2?

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