Wow. Is that anger? Bitterness? Cursing game developers? Man, this part of the game makes me nostalgic for our Fallout 3 season.
This was a watershed moment for the Spoiler Warning crew. This is pretty much the low point of BioShock for us. This is where it all went bad. We recorded this episode almost three years ago, and to this day we still refer back to it. As in: “Man, it’s not a bad game, but I’m afraid it would turn into another BioShock.”
Still, our pain is your… gain? I guess?
Bethesda felt the need to jam a morality system into Fallout 3, and they blew it. Good and evil make no sense and the moral compass points sideways.
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Wait, where did episode 12 go?
It’s still right here: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=20867
Check the date.Shamoose picked up his comment from back when he posted the wrong episode.
So, just to (three years later) come to a halfhearted defense of Fontaine’s dialogue in this sequence (“we could have run the table!” and “you should be thanking me!” and such)….
While it’s not revealed until later, Fontaine has spent the time since we last saw him splicing himself up to an unbelievable degree. And (as the game has completely demonstrated), splicing drives people insane. There’s a whole different spin on this dialogue if you imagine it being said by the equivalent of a delusional Tony Montana face down in a pile of coke…
Of course, the game in no way plays that up at this point, and if they really wanted to make Fontaine sound crazy, they needed to go further than this to make it clear they were going for “crazy” and not “dumb.” So, yeah. Probably not what they were trying to do.
A better explanation – they wrote the dialogue for the endgame before they wrote the sequence after Ryan dies. They had a vague idea “Ryan dies, but tells you the truth about yourself. You swear revenge on Fontaine and set out to confront him. We’ll figure out how that happens later.” And then they got stuck. Maybe they really did want a choice like Mumbles describes – join Fontaine or fight him. But they couldn’t make it work, so they resorted to the laziest motivator in the game “he tried to kill me!” to be “what happens after Ryan dies?” Because it’s never YOUR choice to turn on Fontaine, the rest of the dialogue doesn’t make sense (the references to you “turning on” Fontaine), but they never cleaned it up (either because it was already recorded, or they ran out of time/money, or they they’re incompetent….)
I don’t know what’s right. But I know what to bet on. Always bet on incompetent. It’s like if the house let you bet on them.
What bugs me about all the post-Ryan Encounter writing is, now that Fontaine’s gained control of Rapture, what did he actually WIN? Fontaine hates Rapture. It held value for Ryan, because it was his dream and he wanted to live in it, but Fontaine openly pours scorn on the whole place, so what value is there in taking ownership of it? “Nothing to save,” he says. It has no value to him. He could rebuild and run the place properly, I suppose, except that doesn’t fit his character even slightly, and he’d have only insane splicers to do it with and no technical skill himself. All the best engineers in Rapture are dead, both Ryan and the underlings he pinned to his wall.
He’s supposedly a conman, having been playing the “long con” to beat Ryan, but that makes no sense either because conmen want money, and Rapture is a ruin and has no external trade – he might inherit the ability to print legitimate banknotes from Ryan, but what is there to buy with them in the economy he just destroyed, other than scavenged medkits and improvised weapons? There’s no trade with the surface, and if there were, Rapture money would not be exchangeable except for Rapture goods, which can’t be produced because the economy is ruined, the infrastructure wrecked and the labour force has gone insane, so no other nation would want it. You can’t buy luxury cars and the submersible equivalent of yachts in a post-civil war ruin; there’s nobody to make ’em.
So, what’s left? Plasmids, of course, whoever controls Rapture gets those – except Fontaine never had any desire for them, either; like all the wiser drug pushers, he never touched the product himself. (Which makes you wonder why he started his civil war at all – the ideal situation for a con man like him was immediately prior to starting the war, when he was the kingpin of the most successful market in a thriving closed economy) Then, for no apparent reason, he splices himself up like crazy (in a special splicing-one-person-up-like-crazy-room that looks like it must have been purpose built years before, because, um, why?), turning himself into some kind of Randian god, but again, who’d want to live even as a god if they were stuck in a waterlogged ruin full of lunatics?
The only possible way to actually gain anything from controlling Rapture in its final state, if you don’t actually *like* the place, is to loot it of all its plasmids and bio-research and then take that with you to the surface to sell – but nobody ever mentions that possibility. Though Fontaine heaps scorn on Rapture and says there’s nothing left, he never shows any sign of wanting or having planned to leave, either. Maybe we’re just supposed to assume that’s his plan, because it’s the only possibility that makes even a lick of sense? (Or maybe the writers had the idea that in the bad ending the player character just does the same thing Fontaine would have done anyway, so we’re supposed to extrapolate Fontaine’s plan from that? I think the writing’s just too messy post-Ryan to credit them with that, though.)
I’m guessing the devs thought they needed a boss fight at the end, and Fontaine is the villain, so naturally he’d splice himself up and go berserk.
With just a few tweaks they could have made him less stupid: The special room should have allowed him to splice/plasmid himself up without any ill effects. He could still have been a nightmarish super-baddie but without him suddenly going off-character. His goal is to kill the hero so he can safely make it to the surface with his ill-gotten biotech and maybe a cache of gold or something to found a new plasmid-based empire. The player has to destroy this method of escape (maybe it’s a bathysphere or something that requires the room to remain intact, so Fontaine will have to kill the player to use it safely) during the fight as it serves Fontaine’s abilities during the melee (if it has a cache of Adam or something else, he can recharge there until it’s blown up).
Boss battles may be cliche, but since they’re usually scripted, there’s no excuse for at least not making the reasons behind them halfway plausible.
And for the record, I still detest all of the game’s hype about choice and then giving you 2.5 endings (1 good, 1 bad, and .5 = the bad ending but read in a sad voice).
This is a Public Service Announcement informing you that Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is actually a beautiful, decently-written game, with escort mechanics that are not particularly frustrating or tedious, and that it is in no way comparable to the monotonous, ritualistic prison-hazing that is the Little Sister escort quest.
Thank you and have a nice day.
Although it does lay on the forced stealth sections a little thick.
I don’t even think the problem is just Fontaine being really super stupid.
You could still make the story work that way if you really wanted to present a message like “Haha, Ryan’s apparent Social Darwinist meritocracy got taken over by some complete dimwit with no sense of foresight whatsoever!”
But even then you have the issue with the whole convoluted baby-snatching, super-growth, mind-control plot. It all just comes back to the writers not really knowing what they wanted to do after the big reveal.
“Goal completed: become a Big Daddy”
This bodes well.
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