The Greatest AI: Deconstruction of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite – Gameranx

Elizabeth_fink_bioshock_infininte

You have been tasked to get a girl from Columbia. “Get us the girl and wipe away the debt,” they said. You think to yourself: “his is like that time I tried to save the President’s daughter from zombies and she kept getting herself kidnapped,” but you do it anyway because, let’s face it you have to. It’s a part of the game.

After a few hours you find the girl. Looking through the glass you see an innocent-looking artsy-type in a schoolgirl outfit and you think the worst. “The rest of this is going to be a companion mission isn’t it?” You approach her, ready to be the masculine hero, and then she hits you in the face.

Well, didn’t see that coming.

This is part of the fun of Elizabeth, your character Booker DeWitt’s support, companion, and confidant. You never know what you are going to get from her because she doesn’t act like a typical AI. Even before the game was released, creators were talking about this character, how they made her, and how they put every ounce of effort they had into making her as realistic as possible. I was eager to see just what they meant when they said “realistic” for an NPC but my expectations weren’t high.

Then I saw Ken Levine, Creative Director of Irrational Games, speak at this year’s PAX East to a completely packed theater. People sat eager to get a glimpse of the game just days before it came out, and hear Levine speak. To his right sat a few people who he later introduced as the primary team behind Elizabeth. The more notable ones were Amanda Jeffrey, level designer, Heather Gordon, motion capture actress, and Courtnee Draper, voice actress. These three women, along with now famous cosplayer turned character model Anna Moleva, all make up a small piece of Elizabeth. The story they tell the audience is in many ways more interesting than the one that Infinite tells you about the character because it’s not just a story about one person, but about many people coming together to become that one person.

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