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access_time October 13, 2011 at 9:13 AM in Culture by AJ Dellinger

Ken Levine Draws from Personal Experience for Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth

Ken Levine of Irrational Games gave some insight into where he draws his inspiration from when creating the amazing human stories that are wrapped within impressive fantasy worlds. In the case of Bioshock Infinite’s lead female Elizabeth, Ken dipped into his personal life to create the character. Elizabeth is based heavily on a woman in Ken’s life that suffered from domestic abuse.

For Elizabeth, her vice isn’t an abusive ex-lover, but an overbaring creature– the Songbird. It raised her and has been with Elizabeth for her entire life, but refuses to let Elizabeth move on with her life. This leads to some conflicting emotions from Elizabeth, which Ken explains:

“I’ve had the experience of knowing a girl once, dating her once actually, who had been with somebody who had abused her before. All the clichés you hear about are true. She would say that this guy had pushed her down the stairs when she was pregnant, that he had made her kneel in glass… all these unspeakably horrible things. Then she would make excuses for him, all the time. I knew the entire time that we were dating that she would go back to him. I could just see it. It was this tragic thing happening in real-time. And she did go back to him. That’s not Elizabeth – Elizabeth is trying to get free – but she definitely has a connection. This is the thing that raised her: this was the only contact she had. He brought her food, and her clothes and her books. He played with her when she was a kid. So she’s conflicted, and I think conflicted characters are way more interesting than characters who act with a certainty.”

The conflict will take place on gamers’ TVs everywhere when Bioshock Infinite drops in 2012.



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