Cosplay by Angela Bermudez – Photo by Andres Herrera
BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. It was released worldwide for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms on March 26, 2013; an OS X port by Aspyr was later released on August 29, 2013 and a Linux port was released on March 17, 2015. Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock series, and though it is not immediately part of the storyline of previous BioShock games, it features similar gameplay concepts and themes. Irrational Games and creative director Ken Levine based the game’s setting on historical events at the turn of the 20th century, such as the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and based the story on the concept of American exceptionalism, while also incorporating influences from more recent events at the time such as the 2011 Occupy movement.
The game is set in the year 1912 and follows its protagonist, former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, who is sent to the floating air city of Columbia to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive there for most of her life. Though Booker rescues Elizabeth, the two become involved with the city’s warring factions: the nativist and elite Founders that rule Columbia and strive to keep its privileges for White Americans, and the Vox Populi, underground rebels representing the underclass of the city. During this conflict, Booker learns that Elizabeth possesses strange powers to manipulate “Tears” in the space-time continuum that ravage Columbia, and soon discovers her to be central to the city’s dark secrets.
The player controls Booker Dewitt throughout the game, eventually working with the AI-controlled Elizabeth. Like previous BioShock games, the player uses a combination of weapons, clothing called Gear that offer unique attributes, and psychokinetic powers granted through Vigors. Elizabeth’s powers can also be used to help fight hostile forces. In contrast to the limited spaces of the underwater city of Rapture, the openness of Columbia provides for more dynamic combat, including combat that takes place aboard the city’s Sky-Line rollercoaster-like rail system. Downloadable content for the game includes a story-based mission, Burial at Sea, that links Infinite‘s story to that of the original BioShock game.
The game won over 85 pre-release awards for its display at E3 2011, including Best of Show from the Game Critics Awards. At release, BioShock Infinite received critical acclaim, with praise particularly directed at its story, setting, and visual art design, and is often regarded as one of the best video games of the seventh generation of consoles. According to review aggregator Metacritic, it was the third-highest rated video game of 2013. Within two months of release, it sold over 3.7 million retail copies, and has since sold more than 11 million copies overall. It won year-end accolades, including Game of the Year from several gaming publications. A remastered version of the game was released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 13, 2016, as part of BioShock: The Collection, alongside its predecessors.
Cosplay by Angela Bermudez – Photo by Andres Herrera
Elizabeth is a fictional character in Irrational Games‘ BioShock Infinite, the third title in the BioShock series. The game is set in 1912 on a floating steampunk city named Columbia which was founded on the principles of American exceptionalism. Elizabeth has been groomed to take over the city once its current leader, Father Comstock, dies. Elizabeth has the power to open “tears” in the fabric of reality, allowing her to access parallel universes. To prevent her from leaving Columbia, her captors employ a “siphon” which limits her powers, and she is locked in a tower guarded by a giant mechanical bird called the Songbird. The main protagonist of the game, Booker DeWitt, enters Columbia in order to rescue her in exchange for his gambling debts to be forgiven. Elizabeth also appears in Burial at Sea, a film noir-inspired episodic downloadable content story set in the underwater city of Rapture. She takes on a femme fatale role and serves as the player character in the second episode.
The character is voiced by Courtnee Draper and her motion capture was provided by Heather Gordon. Irrational Games based Elizabeth’s face on Anna Moleva, a Russian cosplayer, after the developers saw her incredibly accurate costume, and hired her to do live-action advertisements. Elizabeth’s relationship with Songbird was partly based on Ken Levine’s personal experiences. She is slightly naive after having lived most of her life in a tower. Developers repeatedly considered simply cutting her due to the hassle in making her “work”. Great work was put into her artificial intelligence, with the developers believing there had been no real great A.I. companion in video games since Half-Life 2‘s Alyx Vance. The character has hyper-realistic expressions to help players see her from across the battlefield, as well as a two-tone colour scheme and unique silhouette.
Elizabeth was heavily featured in news and media prior to the release of the game, and plastic figures of her have been made. She has been positively received, and Infinite reviews particularly highlighted her role. Her A.I. was praised, as was her character and narrative role.