Spoilers for the first ten minutes of Bioshock: Infinite in the first part of this article, I guess? If you’d call those spoilers?
A few months ago, I decided to skip Bioshock: Infinite, despite the fact that it was basically guaranteed to be a great game. My reasoning: (a) very little time for gaming as a first-year grad physio, (b) horror tropes tend to absolutely wreck me, and (c) I’d heard that the game prominently featured a fictional Christian cult.
I’d rank (c) as the least significant of those reasons, but I figured that given the current social climate (I’m sure there’s a better phrase for that), I’d be subjected to some degree of the usual rah rah Christianity is terrible rhetoric, and frankly, I prefer to enjoy my games.
That said, when Kotaku linked to a video in which the game’s major points are condensed into three and a half hours (I guess that’s more “condensed”, huh?), I couldn’t resist taking a look at the story everybody was raving about.
And I was pleasantly surprised, for the most part! A very early scene in the game refers to a baptism by prophet (Comstock, game’s antagonist), city, and Lord. Any Christian should recognise that as a huge blasphemy: a rewriting of the Trinity. In a similar vein, a character who is definitely not Jesus is consistently referred to as “The Lamb” by this same cult leader. And so on.
I figure this makes for an exceptional piece of worldbuilding, and is a great way to show that this prophet teaches a super-weirdo offshoot cult of Christianity. Seeing all this twisted doctrine made me uncomfortable, sure, but at no point does the game pretend that Comstock’s religion is anything similar to real-world Christianity.
While these points might be lost on players who aren’t Christian - I could see plenty of people agreeing with Comstock’s assertion that a god who could flood the world must be a cruel god - it’s certainly not the game’s responsibility to put up huge disclaimers everywhere and pinpoint all of the ways in which the cult is heretical.
All of this praise notwithstanding, one point near the very end of the game was disappointing.
MAJOR ENDING SPOILERS ahead.