Crispy Gamer

Bioshock Infinite Debut Trailer

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To a certain extent, yes.

 

If you build a dam overlooking a town and use it to supply power to the town and its neighbors, then that dam is yours. If you find out it's going to be stolen away from you by the government, you have a right to be pissed off. But if you dynamite the dam out of spite, releasing the flood waters upon the town, killing the townsfolk and rendering the survivors homeless, then you have become a greater monster than those who sought to steal what you owned.

 

And that's what d'Anconia and Galt do. They set up the collapse and encourage it. And when Wyatt sets fire to his oilfields ablaze (think the first Gulf War) he not only dooms the looters that drove him to flee, but everyone else in the area. Industry in that region collapsed and when that happens so stores and the banks. Morgages are called in and you end up with the "Grapes of Wrath". Remember, d'Anconia doesn't just destroy his mines, he lies about their yeild. He promises that they actually have metal within them in order to trap the looters and in order to set off the collapse.

 

Though I don't think this is a point we'll be agreeing upon anytime soon. *shrug*

The key point you miss is that they only destroyed their own property. Do people not have a right to do what they want with their own property? You keep making implications that they owed something to the country. They owed nothing, including oil fields or copper mines. Burning down their own buildings is basically saying "You won't exploit the fruits of my labor and my mind". There is nothing unethical about that UNLESS you assume that they owe others something. You clearly do think that the great minds and hard workers in our society owe something to the rest of us. To me, that's just taking the best of us and making them slaves. Morally and ethically repugnant.

Yes they question it CONSTANTLY, but then they give in and flee. The evil they do isn't deciding not to be part of the society, it's in their decision to contribute to it's downfall. I'm not talking about the damage caused by their departure, but in their active efforts to exacerbate the process. I'm talking about Wyatt setting fire to the oilfields before he leaves, cripling industy in the area and setting others up to expereince the crush of economic collapse on them and their families. Or Francisco d'Anconia's lies about the copper mine and all of his efforts to trap and punish "looters", which also cause pain and suffering to everyone else financially connected to them.

 

It's not that they leave, nor the effects their dissapearance has upon the country, but that they actively work to collapse the world rather than 1) try to fix it, or 2) just leave. And while they are not beholden to anyone but themselves, by doing this they cause more death, misery and human suffering than James Taggart, Dr. Simon Pritchett, or any of the other looters. While the innovators and geniuses have the oppertunity to flee to Atlantis, it's the 132 million other American citizens they leave behind to suffer and die. It's one thing to leave on your own, it's another to (metaphorically speaking) poison the reservoir on the way out of town. Especially when you know that doing so will kill alot of innocent people.  

 

But looking back on this thread, I think we've wandered a bit off topic.

See this is how I know you missed the point of the book. A large part of the story is spent dealing with exactly what you pointed out. At first glance, it seems like backwards logic for these people to quit. That's why it takes so long for Dagny, and especially Rearden, to realize why they have to. The logic is sound, though, when you think it through, because of one key concept: the sanction of the victim. The reason the world was crumbling around them (and is crumbling around us, currently, for that matter) is because they were complicit in it. They were playing by the looters and moochers rules. And it didn't matter how hard they worked or how much they wanted to succeed, when the people in power can make laws any time they want that drain you of your livelihood, you must go on strike, or find some other way to avoid their corrupt system.

 

But if you want a character that fights to the bitter end, Eddie Willers is your man. The last we see of him, he's banging on a train engine in the middle of the wilderness trying desperately to get it to run. He's the man that agrees with EVERY principle of Rand but, like you, can't quite put the dots together to realize that you can't build your train tracks on ground made of quicksand. He still wants to believe that somehow, someway, everything they worked for can be salvaged. But it can't be. Not as long as the looters and moochers exist and are in power in Washington.

 

As for them being evil for leaving, you are echoing the sentiments of the "bad guys" of the book. Calling them evil for simply deciding not to be a part of a particular society implies that they OWED that society something. It's saying "you are really smart or really productive...you better make cool inventions for us/find a way to feed us/keep the trains running!". I don't think I need to point out how wrong that line of thinking is.

Oh dear god am I biased in this! You got me right with that one. ^_^

 

But at it's core, I can't say that I disagree with some of the main attributes of Objectivism.

I just disagre whole heartedly with Rand's version or it and how she depicts everyone else. In order to follow their ideals by "leaving", they cause more pain, destruction and suffering than would ever have been possible otherwise. I liked Dagney, but the moment she hits Atlantis, her character falls apart and she wants to be nothing other than Galt's diciple. No one in that book (other than her up to that point) is willing to say "No" to Galt. No one is willing to stand up for their beliefs, instead deciding to run away.

Also, the concept of going on strike to force people to change is somewhat antithetical to the concepts they claim to be following.

 

I like my science fiction to make some sense and for authors to depict human reactions realisticly, and up to a point I liked that in Rand's book. I loved Hank Rearden and I loved what she did with the character. But I hated how even he quit when faced with Galt.

These people were actively creating a new Dark Age. They weren't just running away, they were burning their bridges behind them and setting the world to collapse. When you get right down to it the whole point was to destroy the world and come back afterwards to fix it in the hope that it would inspire these prized attributes. However, by doing this they really become far more evil and despicable than even the worst of the book's villains. They were no different then those who sought to destroy the human spirit by binding it with debt, guilt, and embarrassment. They were worse as their continued efforts intentionally lead to death, sadness and misfortune.

 

Wow...well there ya go. You bias is telling you that Levine and Irrational Games were mocking Rand, even though he himself has said in many interviews that he agrees with much of Objectivism.

 

And as a side note, I agree that the GOP are just as guilty of not being Objectivists as the Dems. Both parties want to control people (using religion and socialism, respectively). What the GOP says or doesn't say has absolutely nothing to do with Objectivism itself and I think you probably realize how irrational it is to redirect your blame from the GOP to Obecjtivism. Do you also hate elephants because they chose that animal as their symbol?

 

I will say, though, that your understanding of Objectivism is superficial, at best. People can be Objectivists and not be raving assholes. In fact, the "American dream" is basically Objectivist and most people living in this country agree with pretty much all of the core concepts, even if they don't realize it. The core values are "There is an objective reality" (A=A) and "everything in life is earned" (including trust, friendship, love, etc). These aren't radical ideas, they are just basic, fundamental principles which most people, through their own weaknesses, fail to adhere to in their daily lives.

 

Rand may have been obsessed with the "perfect man" but I don't blindly follow whatever Rand happened to spew out. She also thought that women were supposed to be the "submissive" in every sexual encounter. The ideals are what is important, not a certain person's kinks. No one is a perfect Objectivist 24/7, including Rand, but that's not a flaw in the ideals, it's a flaw in people.

I wouldn't say it proves that Objectivism is a failure, but rather that it presents a way in which the philosophy fails to account for human nature. There are alot of philisopical paths like that, which base themselves upon how man can be "perfect" or live the "ideal" life, but fail to take into account core concepts of humanity that, while negative, define what it means to be human.

 

My argument is that whatever the state of the philosophy may be, Bioshock is based upon mocking that philosphy and it's story builds out of how it could fail. Especially since the main theme of the game is how this philosophy failed in this given circumstance.

 

On a personal level though, I hate objectivism, which is why I loved Bioshock as much as I did. Mainly it's because I hate how Rand presented the philosophy in Atlas Shrugged and I hate how neocons keep whipping it out as though it were some sort of conservitive constitution when they themselves represent the sort of bickering and bitching parasites that drove the geniuses to go on strike and who would have been the first to go up against the wall when the country fell. It's like a pro communist group telling everyone to read Animal Farm because it's a great example of communism at work. Personally, I'm glad the bitch is dead.

I'm also glad very glad William Faulkner is dead, but also sad as that means I can never run him down with my Toyota.

Well like I said, those that understand what Objectivism is really about know that Rapture was far from the ideals of Rand. If you want to think that Bioshock proves Objectivism is a failure of a philosophy, that's fine, but in reality all it proves is that those people weren't really Objectivists. The second they stole from others or harmed others, they gave up that claim. I could debate this with you ad infinitum, but this isn't the place for it. Hit me up on Steam if you want to continue it :)

Bioshock starts off with Rapture being founded on the ideals Ayn Rand based Atlas Shrugged upon. That a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed. Though I can't consider it a great work as her inspiration was a bitchfest following her editor telling her that after The Fountainhead she "owed it to her fans" to write another book. What partially inspired Atlas Shrugged was her reposnse of basicaly, "I don't own them shit" (not an actual quote).

 

Where I had problems with Atlas Shrugged was in it's complete failure to understand human existance and nature. Anyone with the least bit of altruistic intent is depicted as a monster who only wants to destroy the life and soul of those around them (the 3 siblings that ran the car company into the ground after turning it into a commune). On the other hand, in Galt's Gulch (ie: Atlantis) people live in harmony dispite the situation. One man proclaims that he ran the electric company in the town until another more skilled electrician showed up and started another company. He was driven out of buisness by the new guy and now worked for him and he was HAPPY about it. He was thrilled to get to work with the other guy. In reality, if you put a bunch of type A personalities in a community based on pure competitiveness, you'd end up with a pile of corpses by the end of the week.

 

Bioshock mocked Atlas Shrugged. It starts off like the "paradise" of Galt's Gulch, but then human nature and the realities of the world set in. You need workers to build everything (even in the gulch) not just skill, but manpower/numbers. And they aren't going to be able to compete. Then you have the geniuses and industrialists. Just because Rearden was a metallurgical genius and a nice guy to boot, doesn't mean every super successful master industrialist will be. And then there's the infighting. People competing for power, fame, money, life and then no form of government, no police force, nothing at all in place to stop them from stealing and killing one another. There are good people out there and there are bad, and geniuses aren't all good people. Ryan is Rand and Galt, and it's his naivete about humanity that allows it to fall, and that allows him to speed along its death.


The fall of Rapture is the collapse of Rand's Atlantis and all it stood for. To the extent that when you finally meet Andrew Ryan face to face, the encounter ends with them spitting in the face of everything it stood for. That line "A man chooses, a slave obeys" represents the key point of Atlas Shrugged, and what's the response? "WRONG!"

I disagree that Bioshock mocked Atlas Shrugged. I'm an Objectivist myself, and I thought Bioshock was a great homage to AS. Bioshock is, in part, the story of how an Objectivist (Andrew Ryan) became paranoid, insane, threw away his principles, and created the very thing he was trying to flee. Anyone who truly understand what Objectivism is and what Atlas Shrugged is about will tell you that Bioshock only starts out with Objectivist ideals. But pretty quickly, those ideals are abandoned in favor of the evils of theft (absolutely abhorrent to a real Objectivist) and harming others (even MORE abhorrent). Andrew Ryan, if he was ever even a real Objectivist, certainly disqualified from the title almost immediately upon the founding of Rapture.

But to answer your question, American Exceptionalism, seems to be the theme of Infinite. And just like Bioshock, I expect Levine and company to start with the actual premise and then pretty quickly warp that idea into something ugly and counter to the ideals. I am definitely an Objectivist, but I'm not sure I would consider America or Americans exceptional, at least not inherently. We aren't born exceptional, we have to earn it, like everything else in life. Most Americans don't earn it and lots of immigrants do. But I will say that it's REALLY hard to be exceptional in every other corner of the world. If you are going to be exceptional, America is the place to...at least for now.

I think the setting is less geared towards realism and more towards steampunk. The time period fits perfectly with that genre. Then again I'm not too interested in the realism of the settings. It does seem that the shift to an airborne city isn't a hugely interesting leap, but then again, is there anything they could have done that would have been? Maybe Rapture in the modern day? The invasion of the land by the splicers in the evil endings? A city underground? A city in space? Considering the material, I get the feeling that any change of venue wouldn't be hugely surprising. It's hard to top a city under the ocean.

 

I'm less interested in the setting as I am in the inspiration. Bioshock was inspired by Atlas Shrugged and in many ways it was designed to mock everything that book stood for. So the big question for me is "what, if any, is the inspiration for Bioshock Infinate?"

This game seems to stretch plausibility to the breaking point. Bioshock knew its premise was ludicrous, but A) it was a secret place that only the brightest minds escaped to (ala Galt's Gulch) and B) the fantastical technology was only possible because all (or at least many) of the world's geniuses were in one place.

This just seems like "Oh yeah that city in the sky...what's its name? Columbia? Yeah that's fairly interesting *yawn*"

It's an even MORE technologically advanced city that is built some 30-40 years before Rapture? If Rapture was "the impossible", then Columbia is "the ludicrous".

It looks pretty interesting, but I can't help but feel a bit pissed that this is what Ken Levine's working on instead of a damned X-Com game. So we get Bioshock in a floating city, and an X-Com reboot from a Austrailian company I wouldn't trust enough to feed my bloody cat while I'm on vacation!

Grumbling aside, it looks cool and I can't wait to see some ingame screen shots.

There are no big daddies or little sisters, but that wierd robot hand in the cutscene definately has potential.

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