In my assignment response, I listed some questions that I discussed with my professor in class. One of them went something like this: “If one of the biggest conflicts in the game narrative/play is that B.I. is so aware of its problems yet still sweeps them under the carpet of BOOKER, how could the game be changed to still include all of the positive aspects yet actively use its self-awareness of its problems to correct itself?”
In short, how could the game be improved? How could its potential be reached to include more of its diverse characters and audience members?
Here are some potential revisions:
- If the original game stayed the same, have the ending resolve more than just the problem of Comstock. Show how Elizabeth and Booker’s actions tried to change more than just Booker’s personal issues. Confront how both Booker and Comstock’s actions hurt the many non-white races in the game and the women.
- Replace Booker with Daisy. I think this would be absolutely the most interesting revision (possible DLC?). What if Daisy and Elizabeth tried to find Booker to save their world from his potential future, Comstock? Daisy knows that Comstock killed his wife, and Elizabeth knows about the potential for alternate realities. If the Luteces reached out to them to eliminate Comstock’s Colombia, Daisy and Elizabeth could lead the non-baptized Booker (still the same guy from the original game’s start) through the game to stop Comstock. They could still discover the surprise that Elizabeth was his daughter. They could still confront Fink and the revolutions and Lady Comstock’s ghost. Maybe both characters could be playable (switching off between scenes like Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate). How would that change the fight style though? I definitely think that first-shooter would be out of the question. Third-person perhaps.
- Bring the issue of race much closer to home. Make Booker black or Asian. Make Elizabeth half-black or -Native American (possible connection to Booker’s past). If the game had to be played through the eyes of a character who is absolutely rejected from Colombia’s white supremacist, hyper-masculine system, how would that change the game? I think the narrative would be altered incredibly. You wouldn’t have the freedom to just wander through Colombia unnoticed. Booker/Elizabeth would definitely have much more sympathy/empathy for the Vox and the Asian weapons builder (whose name, sadly, escapes me, because he’s brushed off so easily in the game). Their mission would become less selfish and more about changing their people groups’ lives.
- Bring Elizabeth’s mother into it SOMEHOW. She isn’t mentioned once. Not once, in this entire, incredibly detailed game. Whether she was a one-night-stand or the long-time love of Booker’s life, her absence is so ridiculously non-existent that I wonder why it hasn’t been mentioned before. Bring her into the game. Add the backstory. Whether she was added as an already-dead character or an active addition to Booker’s life, that aspect alone would dramatically change Booker. Why isn’t she there? If she meant anything to Booker, why did he sell his daughter? If she was an active part of the game, would that change Booker’s character and purpose?
- Daisy was mentioned earlier, but another change could be that the entire game was told from the perspective of the Vox. Most definitely, the issues of sexism and racism in this game could not be hidden in a version all about the oppressed peoples of Colombia (especially since their leader is a very capable, commanding woman).
Again, Bioshock Infinite has many incredible aspects to its original story and game play….BUT. But, for all of its attempts to (possibly) be a satire about racism/sexism/Western-entitlement/etc, it lacks the key element of satire, that it is created to prompt change. Otherwise, it’s just a joke. We laugh and point at what we COULD be, but “obviously aren’t.” But if it’s just a joke, we most certainly are embodying some of the worst aspects of the game, and we’re doing nothing to change them. Perhaps a remake or a new DLC is in order to restart the conversation.
Food for thought.