Trailer Breakdown: Burial at Sea


After my initial excitement for the Burial at Sea DLC and my several watches of the trailer, I felt a strong need to dissect the trailer and talk about something that was a big red flag for me.

WARNING: Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite spoilers ahead. If you intend on playing either, don’t read further.

The trailer opens with 50s style background music into a dark office. The calendar on the desk reads “December 31, 1958.” Booker Dewitt is narrating, saying it’s his job to clean up the mess of a perfect world. He opens the door to reveal a pristine Rapture. This is where I nearly cried in excitement. If you remember my article from last week, I spent most of it being excited over returning to Rapture in its prime.

Then I remembered that the date on Booker’s desk is the night of the New Year’s Eve riots, lead by Atlas, which ultimately leads to the downfall of Rapture. The few seconds that follow feel like the developers are showing off what they’ve done, and who could blame them? They recreated the ideal Rapture from scratch in a fantastic game engine. During this time you are reminded of the Rapture you know this one becomes, specifically the school of girls and the “Little Wonders” sign behind them are highly reminiscent of the Little Sisters we all know and love.

Then we see a dark door open, steam rolls out, and we see a female figure overlooking a Rapture skyline. Booker says she knows of a way out, and he was “desperate enough” to believe her. He lights her cigarette using a plasmid, and she says her name is Elizabeth. This is where things get… weird. This section of the trailer feels very Film Noir, which I’m so far loving. But the relationship between this femme fatale Elizabeth and Booker seems confusing. It’s been established in Infinite that Elizabeth is Booker’s daughter in the universe it takes place. The established father and daughter seem to have romantic undertones during their brief conversation. In Infinite, there were moments you could feel that Booker deeply cared about Elizabeth, but not in a romantic way. He felt like a father protecting his daughter, which you learn he is. While we could argue that this Booker and Elizabeth aren’t related, it just seems weird.

The narrative ends with Booker saying “We were all buried at sea, we just didn’t know it yet.” It sounded kind of cheesy to me, like it didn’t completely fit properly. Knowing the complexity of Bioshock’s story lines and the ability of its writers, I’m hoping it was intentional to fit the Film Noir theme.

My favorite thing about this trailer is that we have no idea where it’s going. We know Booker is trying to escape Rapture and the Elizabeth supposedly knows a way out. We know things are going down the night that mark Rapture’s fall. That’s where the string of knowledge ends, and it’s great. The suspense, the subtle hints, and the connections with past games really does make this DLC the “developer’s love letter to its fans” everyone has been calling it.

Robert LaSure is a writer at Girl Gamer Vogue and PC/3DS Enthusiast.

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