Bioshock Infinite is one of my favorite games on Steam and I have yet to talk about it on my blog! This was actually inspired by Hiram Lodge from Riverdale. I have been watching the series recently and I really like how they portrayed Hiram Lodge as a villainous figure and wanted to focus on a villain in video games. There will be spoilers in this post so please do not read unless you have finished the game or do not mind spoilers!
I chose Comstock as the villain because he is an iconic one for me. He was the first villain I remember really angering me when I was playing the game. So here is my post about why Comstock is a complex and interesting villain
Utopia and Bigotry
Comstock built Columbia in the sky and at first it comes off as breath taking. You see these huge clouds everywhere you go and the sun is shining. Everyone seems happy and content. You just want to stay in this world forever. Then you see how ugly it is.
The utopia fades when you win the lottery and your prize is to be the first to hit an interracial couple with a baseball. The town is clearly racist. From there the Columbia quickly turns into a nightmare with guards chasing you claiming you are the False Prophet. The city is in the sky because Comstock wants to be free to rule Columbia without outside influence.
Before you even meet him, you already are angry to see him making such a hateful world where he is worshiped like he is a God because he claims he is The Prophet of God. He builds this world just so his ideas can be practiced and so he could be seen as this great religious ruler of Columbia.
Comstock comes across as being a megalomaniac. He acts like he is this chosen God. I believe that he is convinced that he is this holy person, this chosen Prophet. He is so lost in the idea of being a Prophet that he will even use his daughter to get his wishes to control both Columbia and the world. Columbia is distorted by him using faith to corrupt others into following him and his ideas.
The Mistreatment of Elizabeth
He is so focused on his delusions that he does not see the harm he is doing to his daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is locked in a tower because she can tear through time and he wants to use her powers to create his perfect world. She is also later captured and in an alternative timeline where she is tortured and forced to destroy the United States.
When she is locked in the tower, she is so desperate to escape and live a normal life. She is trapped and she is never allowed to socialize so she only sees the world through books or her paintings. When you first free her, she is in awe of everything because she has never seen the outside world before.
This is an interesting scene. Normally when you have a villain like Comstock, you expect a huge showdown. You expect a long boss fight. Here it is all done in a cutscene. Comstock deliberately pushes Booker by grabbing Elizabeth and keeps yelling at her to ask Booker about her finger. Booker looses his temper and drowns Comstock for torturing and locking Elizabeth in a tower all her life.
Comstock expected this to happen which is why he labeled Booker as a False Shepard and tried to get the people of Columbia to kill Booker. He believes that his role was to end with Booker killing him because he does not fight Booker. He also was able to convince Elizabeth that Booker was hiding something from her and also himself
The Twist Ending
Elizabeth reveals to Booker the truth at the end of the game. The truth is that he and Comstock are the same. Booker gave Elizabeth to Comstock to get rid of his debt through a tear and she lost her finger when he tried to grab her back. It turns out that you were playing the villain all along. This explains why Booker sometimes gets nosebleeds during the game because he was taken out of his timeline as Booker and went to Comstock’s world to basically fight an alternative version of himself.
This also leads to one of my favorite endings in video games. What separates Comstock from Booker is a baptism. When Booker is baptized he becomes Comstock, when he refuses the baptism he stays as Booker. So all versions of Elizabeth drown Booker so he will not become Comstock which means that Comstock, Booker, and Elizabeth are all no more.
I remember being so shocked by the revelation and I just stared at the screen and cried at the ending watching all the Elizabeths disappear and the credits roll.
Will the Circle be Unbroken?
This song plays as soon as you enter Columbia and I love this song! But, it also has a different meaning the second time you play. Comstock, Booker, Elizabeth. They are all on a never ending circle. Elizabeth broke it at the ending of the game.
It was surprising to know that I was fighting Booker’s alternative future. That this villain went mad because of a baptism causing him to become a overzealous Prophet that made Columbia. The game truly shows how just one small event can transform a person’s life.
What did you think of Bioshock Infinite? What is your memorable video game villain?