BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea

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BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea
BioShock Burial at Sea.jpg
Developer(s) Irrational Games
Publisher(s) 2K Games
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive
Director(s) Ken Levine
Designer(s) Andres Elias Gonzalez Tahhan
Writer(s) Ken Levine
Drew Holmes
Composer(s) Garry Schyman
Jim Bonney
Series BioShock
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) Linux
Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s) Episode One
November 12, 2013
Episode Two
March 25, 2014
Physical release (as part of BioShock Infinite: Complete Edition)
November 4, 2014
Genre(s) First-person shooter, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea is an episodic expansion sequel to the first-person shooter video game BioShock Infinite, and a prequel to the original BioShock, and was developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games. It is available on Linux, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and OS X. Burial at Sea consists of two episodes. Episode 1 was released worldwide via download-only on November 12, 2013, and Episode 2 was released on March 25, 2014.[1] A retail version on disc for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was released on November 4, 2014 as part of a "Complete Edition" reissue of BioShock Infinite.

Burial at Sea is set after the events of BioShock Infinite, which spanned several alternate realities and was themed on the nature of choice. Whereas Infinite took place aboard Columbia, the floating air city set in 1912, Burial at Sea takes place in an alternate reality within the underwater city of Rapture, a year before the events of the first BioShock game (which is set in 1960). The game features Booker DeWitt as a private detective, and Elizabeth as a femme fatale who employs Booker's services.


Like BioShock Infinite, Burial at Sea is a first-person shooter with role-playing elements. Using a mixture of the limited spaces of Rapture in BioShock and BioShock 2 with the expanded environment of Columbia from BioShock Infinite allows for more dynamic combat challenges. Returning from BioShock and BioShock 2, the player may carry more than two weapons at a time,[2] and can collect other weapons and ammunition either from defeated enemies or from random locations around the city.[3] Returning from Infinite is the regenerating shield, while health can be replenished with medical kits or food.[4] Plasmids and Eve replace Vigors and Salts from Infinite. Plasmids grant activated powers such as creating shockwaves, releasing bolts of electricity, and machine/human possession. Plasmids require Eve, the equivalent of magic points for powering their abilities.

"There were some Columbia ideas we kicked around, but I think we also got to the point where we felt like that was the story that we had just told. We had told it to the extent we wanted to tell it. But I had this image in my head of this moment in this detective's office, Booker’s office. Elizabeth walking in dressed like Veronica Lake. And I just fixated on that." — Ken Levine[5]

The player can traverse Rapture both on foot and by riding a pneumo-line, a roller coaster-like rail system similar to the Skyline from Columbia. The player rides the pneumo-lines via a wrist-mounted tool called an Air-Grabber, which the player and enemies use to jump to/from and hang onto the self-powered tracks. Players can jump onto, off of, and between pneumo-line tracks at any time, and may face enemies that use the system to attack; the player can use one-handed weapons in Booker's free hand while using the pneumo-line. Freedom of movement along the pneumo-line allows for several varieties of combat, including flanking, cover, and area-of-effect attacks through creative uses of the system. Throughout episode one, the player does not directly control Elizabeth, but instead she scavenges the area for supplies such as ammunition, medical kits, Eve, and other items, and tosses them to Booker as needed. She can also use her Tear-opening powers to aid the player, bringing in weapons, health, Eve, assistance in the form of Samurai warriors, and automated defense units. Only one Tear can be opened at a time, forcing the player to decide between the available options to suit the battle.

Episode Two includes a "1998 Mode" in which the player is challenged to complete the episode using only stealth and non-lethal methods of defeating enemies. The mode is a callback to Thief: The Dark Project released in 1998 by Looking Glass Studios, the predecessor to Irrational Games, and is compared to the main game's "1999 Mode", itself named in reference to the release year of Looking Glass' System Shock 2.[6]


The events of Burial at Sea connect many of the themes and characters from the original BioShock game and the BioShock Infinite sequel.

Episode One[edit]

Burial at Sea begins in a reality where Booker Dewitt (Troy Baker) is a private investigator in Rapture. On the eve of the Rapture civil war, Elizabeth (Courtnee Draper) asks him to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Sally. Elizabeth reveals that Sally is alive, and that a local artist named Sander Cohen (T. Ryder Smith) may have information regarding her whereabouts. When they arrive at Cohen's club, Cohen is working on his latest art piece, entitled "Capturing the moment of lovers dancing", but Cohen is constantly finding error in his muses and kills the two, upsetting him. Cohen agrees to reveal the whereabouts of Sally if Booker and Elizabeth agree to dance for his muse. As the two dance, Cohen becomes displeased and knocks them both unconscious.

When Booker and Elizabeth awaken they are in a bathysphere heading to the bottom of the ocean, where Andrew Ryan had recently sunk the Fontaine Department Store building, owned by his political competitor Frank Fontaine. The sunken store now acts as a prison for Atlas, the leader of an underclass uprising. Ryan is unaware that Atlas is really Fontaine whom Ryan thought had been killed earlier. Sally is discovered lurking in the ventilation system. The two protagonists then close all but one vent so as to ensure Sally will exit from the last vent, allowing them to increase the temperature in an attempt to force her out. Sally starts screaming due to the heat and flees to the nearest vent exit. When Booker attempts to pull her out, he discovers she (as he feared) has become a Little Sister and refuses to answer his call. Sally calls upon a Big Daddy, which then proceeds to attack Booker and Elizabeth.

After defeating the Big Daddy, Booker struggles to recover Sally; the motions cause him to flashback and recall events that he had previously forgotten with the help of Robert and Rosalind Lutece (Oliver Vaquer and Jennifer Hale). In the flashback, Booker had accepted the baptism and renamed himself Comstock, beginning the construction of Columbia. However, when he attempted to steal Anna (who would have grown up to become Elizabeth) from an alternative version of Booker, she was killed. Shaken by the loss, Comstock abandoned Columbia and asked the Lutece twins to wipe his memories and take him to a reality where Booker did not exist, that being of Rapture, and taking up that name. At the end of the flashback, Booker, now recognizing himself as the last remaining Comstock and Elizabeth's true identity, attempts to apologize to Elizabeth, but she does not accept. Unknown to Booker/Comstock, the Big Daddy revives and impales him from behind.

Episode Two[edit]

In this episode, Elizabeth becomes the player-controlled character. It starts as Elizabeth experiences a vision of a romanticized version of Paris at the turn of the 20th century (though with anachronisms such as music recorded decades later), in which she spots Sally and gives chase. The peaceful setting quickly turns nightmarish, and Elizabeth is forced to witness Sally burning. The vision ends now, and Elizabeth wakes up shortly after the events of Episode One, where Atlas (Karl Hanover) is ready to kill her while his henchmen remove Comstock's corpse and capture Sally. Elizabeth has a vision of Booker, who tells her information to give to Atlas about Dr. Suchong (James Yaegashi). Booker claims that Dr. Suchong can help Atlas escape the sunken department store in exchange for Sally's safe return. Left alone, Elizabeth begins to explore the store, discovering her own dead body impaled to the wall. She realizes that, in this reality, she was killed by the same Big Daddy that impaled Comstock. A brief flashback reveals that the Luteces assisted Elizabeth in planning out certain actions which would result in an ending Elizabeth found desirable. Unfortunately, the plan had a hefty price: it collapsed her quantum-superposition ability, removing her ability to open tears and see into potential futures. This left Elizabeth armed with only her knowledge from her books and random flashes of memory of what she saw behind the doors, including glimpses of future events.

Elizabeth continues onward, assured that she chose this path and that everyone involved would play out their parts that she had foreseen to reach her desired conclusion. The voice of Booker, who states he is simply a facet of Elizabeth's subconscious, helps to guide her through the Splicers that still inhabit the store. Following traces of Suchong, Elizabeth discovers the doctor knew about Columbia and created a tear device leading back to Columbia based on the Luteces' technology, and she rationalizes that she can use the Lutece particles that kept Columbia afloat to lift the department store back to Rapture. Collecting the equipment to repair the device with the tenacious help of Atlas and Suchong, Elizabeth travels through a tear back to Columbia aboard the First Lady in the time period where Booker and Elizabeth had searched through Fink's factories. She recovers the particle easily enough, but before she can return through the tear, Suchong requires her to collect a lock of hair from one of Fink's hidden laboratories. As she searches for the lock of hair, Elizabeth learns that Daisy Fitzroy (Kimberly Brooks) was persuaded by the Luteces to take Fink's child hostage to force Elizabeth to make the harsh decision to kill her and mature into a killer, after learning that she will not live to see the end of the revolution anyway. She also learns that Fink (Bill Lobley) and Suchong worked in collaboration through the rift to share technology, such as effective use of ADAM to make both plasmids and vigors, and creating and conditioning Songbird based on the Big Daddy technology. Elizabeth obtains the lock of hair, which turns out to be hers. Elizabeth reasons that Suchong did not recognize her as the same young girl that Fink was dealing with. Elizabeth escapes a few scavenging Vox Populi to return to Rapture via the tear (but not before catching a glimpse of her past self and Booker).

Elizabeth is transporting the lock of hair to Suchong when Andrew Ryan (Armin Shimerman) traps her, believing her to be assisting Atlas, and tells her that she can either join him or die at the hands of his henchmen (who are currently busy killing Atlas' men). Elizabeth escapes, and makes for the top of the sunken structure where the load-bearing columns meet. As she releases the Lutece particle, the building begins to rise. A few of Atlas' men show up and capture Elizabeth again. Atlas has a doctor inject a truth serum into Elizabeth and asks her the location of the "Ace in the Hole", a mysterious weapon he wants to use in his fight against Ryan. The doctor accidentally delivers an overdose to Elizabeth, and she passes out for two weeks. When Elizabeth awakens, she finds Rapture in all-out war between Ryan's and Atlas' forces.

It is revealed that Sally is no one important – just a small girl that the Comstock of Rapture had grown fond of. Atlas threatens Elizabeth with a lobotomy if she does not reveal the location of the "Ace in the Hole". Elizabeth refuses, and the Atlas threatens to perform a trans-orbital lobotomy on Sally instead. In a brief moment of panic, Elizabeth recalls one future that she previously witnessed, and tells Atlas that the Ace is in Suchong's clinic. Atlas sends Elizabeth to recover the Ace, holding Sally as collateral. (Ryan has rigged the clinic with defense mechanisms that target Atlas and his forces, so he can neither go by himself nor send his men). En route, Elizabeth helps two Little Sisters reunite with a wounded Big Daddy. The Little Sisters run off to Suchong, but he shoos them away and smacks one in anger. This enrages the Big Daddy and he kills Suchong.

Elizabeth finds an encoded message on a piece of paper among Suchong's notes. She realizes this is the "Ace in the Hole", and returns it to Atlas. Atlas whacks Elizabeth in the head with a wrench, proceeds to read the message, which infuriates him. Elizabeth has another flashback, where she finds herself aboard the plane that carried Jack to Rapture in the original game; she recognizes the coded message as Jack's trigger phrase – "Would you kindly" – that was written on a note Jack was given before the flight and that he will ultimately kill Atlas and Ryan. Once she informs Atlas of the trigger phrase, he orders his henchmen to arrange a flight for Jack. He then strikes Elizabeth, and this time the blow appears to be fatal. Elizabeth, dying, is left alone with Sally. She has one final future vision, in which she realizes that Jack will be the one to end the cycle of violence in Rapture and save Sally and the other Little Sisters. Elizabeth dies while holding Sally's hand.

In a post-credits scene of Rapture, the tail of a plane sinks into the city—indicating Jack's arrival in Rapture.


The in-game setting of Rapture is nearly completely rebuilt with very little reuse of BioShock assets. The gameplay for the content was altered to fit the setting and feel of Rapture compared to the larger battles of Infinite.[7] The added content includes new weapons, gear, and Plasmids (the Rapture equivalent of Vigors), as well as bring back the mechanic of the "weapons wheel" used in the first two BioShock games, where players can swap between more than two weapons at their disposal.[8] One of the Plasmids is Old Man Winter that freezes and shatters enemies. The concept was created by Joe Trinder, a fan and graphic designer, shortly after the reveal of Infinite. The concept art, mimicking other in-game posters for Vigors, caught the attention of Levine, who decided to incorporate the concept within the Burial at Sea content with Trinder's help. The artwork was redesigned to match the Rapture setting, but further influenced one section of the content where a portion of the city has been converted into a winter wonderland where the Plasmid will be found.[9]

In the second episode, Elizabeth becomes the player character. Being more of a thoughtful character than Booker, her gameplay focuses more on strategy and avoidance of direct combat, more like a survival horror or stealth game. It was important that Elizabeth did not feel simply like Booker "in a dress". Amanda Jeffrey noted that Elizabeth was the main character of Infinite and Rapture the main character of the first game, and so "Burial" involved "our two leading ladies playing opposite each other". No longer being recently out of the tower, Elizabeth's character is slightly different in "Burial", being "older, wiser and more confident". Lead animator Shawn Robertson felt that Elizabeth's presence helped tie Rapture with Infinite.

In February 2014, while promoting Burial at Sea: Episode Two, series director Ken Levine stated that the Burial at Sea will leave fans "walk[ing] away pretty satisfied with feeling a sense of completeness", with Courtnee Draper (voice of Elizabeth) calling it "the wrap-up for the whole BioShock series".[10] Shortly after, Levine revealed that Burial at Sea would be Irrational Games' last game in the BioShock series, leaving the intellectual property in the hands of 2K Games, should they like to continue the franchise with another developer.[11]


Aggregate review scores
As of March 27, 2014.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Episode One 68.52% (PC)[12]
78.60% (PS3)[13]
68.00% (X360)[14]
70/100 (PC)[15]
76/100 (PS3)[16]
68/100 (X360)[17]
Episode Two 84.00% (PC)[18]
83% (PS3)[19]
80.00% (X360)[20]
84/100 (PC)[21]
83/100 (PS3)[22]
85/100 (X360)[23]

The first episode received mixed to positive reviews. Its PC version holds an overall 70 score on Metacritic,[15] as well as a 68.52% on GamesRankings.[12] GameZone's Josh Wirtanen described the game as "dark, disturbing, and laced with political and philosophical irony."[24]

The second episode received more positive reviews than its predecessor. Its PC version holds an overall 84 score on Metacritic, as well as a 84.00% on GamesRankings.


  1. ^ Savage, Phil (2014-02-05). "Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 2 release date announced". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  2. ^ Irrational Games, ed. (2013), pp. 7
  3. ^ Irrational Games, ed. (2013), pp. 17
  4. ^ Irrational Games, ed. (2013), pp. 2
  5. ^ Andrew Goldfarb (2013-08-07). "How Playing as Elizabeth Changes BioShock Infinite". IGN. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  6. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2014-02-27). "BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea Episode 2 adds Thief-inspired '1998 Mode'". Polygon. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  7. ^ Bramwell, Tom (2013-07-30). "Ken Levine talks BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  8. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (2013-10-09). "BioShock Infinite's DLC brings back the classic weapon wheel". Polygon. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  9. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (2013-10-16). "The Story Behind BioShock Infinite’s Old Man Winter Plasmid". IGN. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  10. ^ "BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea Episode Two - Behind The Scenes Trailer". IGN.
  11. ^ "BioShock Creator Ken Levine ‘Winding Down Irrational Games as You Know It’"
  12. ^ a b "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  13. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PlayStation 3)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  14. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  15. ^ a b "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  16. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PlayStation 3)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  17. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (Xbox 360)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  18. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  19. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PlayStation 3)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  20. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  21. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  22. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PlayStation 3)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  23. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (Xbox 360)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  24. ^ Wirtanen, Josh (13 November 2013). "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 1 needs more Humphrey Bogart". GameZone. GameZone. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 

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