Only Anarchists Are Pretty: BS Infinite “Stuff”

Loose Anarchists are the best kind.

Following on from their splendid covers, Game Informer have put a selection of information from their Bioshock Infinite coverage online. Everyone’s picking over the full set of propaganda posters and nosing at the screens, but the real interesting new information is actually about the factions who are tearing Columbia apart. The nationalistic, conservative Powers That Be versus the Vox Populi anarchist front, who apparently draw from 1970s German terrorists like the Red Army Faction (i.e. Baader Meinhof).

So – Bioshock Infinite features the Powers That Be. And what do you have to do to the powers that be, Chuck?

Well, yes.


  1. W says:

    World/Inferno Friendship Society reference!? Delicious

  2. Ian says:

    I’d like to think that the Vox Populi group will take inspiration from Vox Populi Vox Dei (A Werewolf Thriller) and be all about the lycanthropes, but that probably won’t happen.


  3. Ignorant Texan says:

    Aaaaaah, yeah, boiiiiii!

  4. Starcide says:

    “This group starts out as a confederation of like-minded people,” Levine says. “As it becomes more serious and more organized, there becomes a need to enforce an ideology, an order, and a hierarchy”

    whhhaaaaattttt do they not understand what the term anarchy means?

    • Xercies says:

      Thats one of the weirdest things about Anarchists…sometimes they do have a group hierarchy in place and organise themselves for anarchy.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The fact that anarchy is against the enforcing of order doesn’t mean that human social structures can exist when there’s a power vacuum, though (presently, anyway).

      That they betrayed their core principles doesn’t stop them from claiming to be anarchists.

      I don’t think Levine is particularly dumb, so presume it’s intentional and ironic.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      In fact,

      Irony casts a thick cloud over the resistance

      It’s only in the bloody gameinformer article.

    • Muzman says:

      Anarchy has never meant an absence of organisation and a life of complete chaos except in the slanders of royalists and conservatives (which have become the standard, which I think means they won)

    • Urthman says:

      The point in Bioshock seemed to be that an Objectivist Utopia would in reality devolve into totalitarianism the way so many other types of utopia (Communist, Theocracy) have devolved into totalitarianism.

      So perhaps they’re rehashing that point again except with Anarchists this time.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Muzman — at no point did anyone mention a problem with there being an organisation of anarchists. The problem is with an organisation of “anarchists” that coerce people into following the movement, enforce a party line and have a hierarchy beyond “this man is smart and I agree with with him so I value his opinion when he speaks.” By definition, these are not anarchists.

      So yeah, if you want to take offence at something someone said, please make sure they’ve actually said it. :P

    • perilisk says:

      “The point in Bioshock seemed to be that an Objectivist Utopia would in reality devolve into totalitarianism the way so many other types of utopia (Communist, Theocracy) have devolved into totalitarianism.

      So perhaps they’re rehashing that point again except with Anarchists this time.”

      I think this time it’s competing Utopias — Columbia itself probably represents an attempt at Progressive utopia (“progressive” in the sense it was used in America in the 1890’s), whereas the Anarchists represent socialism in its earliest years.

      The “change” in the anarchists and competing leaders will probably mirror the split between Bakunin and Marx, with the wing representing Marxism (and thus, eventually, Bovshevik-style violence, terrorism, and repression) coming out triumphant over the more liberal faction. If there is an Emma Goldman character, she’ll probably be the representative of the “good anarchist” faction and the (perhaps penitent) conscience of the game, unless they surprise me.

    • Muzman says:

      Norris: If I feel like taking offense I damn well will, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me facist pig dog.

      Wait, that came out wrong. I’m not offended. It’s not clear what definition Starcide is working from. Doesn’t hurt to spell it out ( a few times).

      Anyway, I surely hope Infinite isn’t just doing Anarchy the same way Bioshock did Objectivism. Boy would that be dull. Just painting a picture of the US back when it had a far more interesting political landscape than it’s had for most of the 20th century would be far more interesting. Nationalism, Empire, Manifest Destiny oh my. Some sort of mad steampunk epic mishmash by Upton Sinclair

    • Monkeybreadman says:

      “The People Who Hate People Party come together! – NO! – It’s so hard to get my people together”

      Bill Hicks

  5. Zetetic says:

    From the broken links to the curious spelling errors and random pluralisations, I think we can infer that Kieron’s drunk.

  6. Freud says:

    If I can’t name myself Leon Czolgosz and completely side with the anarchists, this game is broken. I want my damned choice. Don’t care all that much about consequence though.

  7. Tacroy says:

    … wait, is that Flava Flav? Huh. I always wondered why anyone cared about him.

    • Gorgeras says:

      You’re either very young or very old, not belonging to the ‘just right’ generation that knew some boring middle-aged farts used to be young and scared the establishment. Then they became rich and comfortable.

      The way to be scary is to be bad, mad and stink of toenails.

    • Thants says:

      He was in Public Enemy, in other words.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      He still is. I saw PE a few years back. They now use a full band and they rock harder than they did in the glory days.

  8. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Your link to the Vox Populi anarchist front seems broken to me. Which leaves me to wonder, why those anarchists are not based on the anarchists the game is supposedly inspired by…

  9. Teachable Moment says:

    Vox Populi anarchist front?


  10. Inigo says:

    This makes me want to see a remake of Liberal Crime Squad.

  11. SheffieldSteel says:

    Elvis was a hero to most
    But he never meant shit to me
    The sucka was simple and plain
    Mutha fuck him and John Wayne

    stop me now… I shouldn’t remember this after all that time.

  12. Alexander Norris says:

    Man, the number of idiots in the article’s comments who think that Palin, Beck and friends aren’t rich, racist reactionaries and are getting offended that someone dared compare point out the obvious is very depressing. :(

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      I won’t comment and Palin or Beck, but to refer to Rand Paul as either a “far right personality” on their level or as a “race baiter” at all suggests whoever wrote that piece only read a cliffnotes on the current political situation, and that the summary was from DailyKos.

    • suibhne says:

      Well, there’s some basis there at least in the issue of the “terror mosque” that has Fox News in a lather. Don’t confuse Ron Paul with Rand Paul. Ron, the father, has come out in favor of religious pluralism and tolerance and has said, quite publicly, that opposition to the mosque is just race- or culture-baiting – while his son, Rand, remains steadfast in opposition to the mosque. Given that his own father describes this as basically race-baiting, I’m not sure it’s that off base.

  13. Torgen says:

    Actually the *American* anarchist movement was very active in the late 1800s, the timeline of Bioshock Infinite. Bombing campaigns, the whole nine yards.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      1890’s London too, I believe. (cf. Conrad’s The Secret Agent?)

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Totally. Anarchism was a wide-spread social force then. Which makes it a little interesting they’re drawing inspiration from much later (non-anarchist) organisations.


  14. magos says:

    I think i.e. is correct, as in: The Red Army Faction (that is, [the] Baader-Meinhof [Group]). Still, probably drunk. He’s English & it’s Friday.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Baader-Meinhoff is perfectly fine, man.


    • lhzr says:

      those who aren’t drunk on a friday (evening even!), english or not, should be ashamed.

    • Unaco says:


      Even Muslims? Pregnant women? Trauma surgeons working night shift? Taxi drivers?

    • Deston says:

      Hey now, Friday night is (usually) my smoking night, and I have no shame – Saturday night is typically my drinking night…

      Also some Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. And the occasional sneaky Sunday evening.

      Or special occasions.

      Or when I’m bored.

      Or when it just seems like the right thing to do.

      … You get the point.

  15. Robert Yang says:

    Slightly off-topic: any RPS-ers going to the WIFS Hallowmas this year? I’m finally actually in the area and I can do it, but I don’t know if it’s still “legit” or not — thoughts?

  16. Cinnamon says:

    Would of thought that the Spanish Civil War would have been more of an inspiration than the Red Army Faction . They would even have some international brigade recruitment posters to photoshop. That war also had some of yer actual anarchists involved as well as communists.

  17. RSH says:

    More I hear about this, the more it sounds like a book called Against the Day. Except likely replace the super swell awesome writing with bad, and insert bland gameplay.

    • Thants says:

      The first two Bioshocks didn’t have bad writing so I don’t know why this would.

  18. kevin says:

    yeah this sounds a lot like “against the day.” incredible book.

  19. TheClosedWalletBrigade says:

    Looks pretty. But 2K won’t get a nickle outta me until they fix BS2.

    • Deston says:

      Did you ever get that bug on Bioshock 2 where you’d go to switch to or fire a plasmid too quickly after firing a weapon and your plasmid hand would just completely glitch out: it wouldn’t let you fire your plasmid or even switch back to your weapon?

      That was such a pain in the arse, it happened to me so many times during an extremely heavy firefight, I had to keep running to the nearest Gene Bank or Gatherer’s Garden and switch out my current plasmid to reset it. I couldn’t find any other way of sorting it out.

      I really enjoyed BS2 overall, and I’m fairly tolerant of bugs in general (I’ve done my time with harsh development release cycles, so I can sympathise with them), but that one was extremely annoying to me as a player. It completely ripped me out of the immersion of their excellent combat sequences… half the time I was either actively concentrating on not switching over to my plasmids too quickly, or I had already triggered the bug and was frantically hunting around for a bloody Gene Bank with 6 seriously pissed off Big Daddy’s trying to violate me with rockets and drills. Argh!

      I wouldn’t go as far as saying it ruined the game for me, but it did get very, very frustrating. Getting repeatedly killed and having to start over purely because of a bug is not cool. :(

  20. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    All this Bioshock talk made me give another shot to Bioshock II I picked on day one. And I say I like it – I set it on easy, because I want to focus on the visuals, the story and the philosophy underneath…it bodes well so far. I am actually a (conservative) libertarian myself, so I don’t really have much sympathy for Sofia Lamb…mmm, I should read up more about objectivism and Ayn Rand, tho.

  21. feighnt says:

    oh gawd.

    it’d be great if a game (and most other forms of fiction, for that matter, with a small number of exceptions) could actually manage to depict Anarchists realistically (and with an actual knowledge of some Anarchist history), but i’m pretty pessimistic – it always gets cocked up, and you get caricatures made by people who’s conception of Anarchism goes barely any farther than terrorism, punks, and Crimethinc (not that i’m suggesting that, at least, the terrorist aspect should be ignored, as at least THAT is historically important).

    and the fact that these “anarchists” are based on Baader-Meinhoff, which was only “anarchist” in the sense that people who didnt know what Anarchists are called them “anarchists” as a way of saying “they caused chaos”… well, it doesnt bode well in my mind.

    i’d love to see a game realistically depict Anarchists, and ideally side with ’em, but, HELL, i’d even love it if they made a game depicting Anarchists that made a genuinely *intelligent* and historically-savvy criticism (i’m an Anarchist, in the IWW, but my advocacy of the Idea doesnt mean i havent seen holes or discovered, in my looking into Anarchist history, things that are questionable, lamentable, or outright disgusting). but i doubt we’ll get anything better than wide-eyed dingbats suddenly going “oh gosh, we need more organisation – long live Jacobinism, hail to the dictator!”


    ps: i’m totally thrilled that a lot of the people commenting here actually seem to have a bit of a knowledge of Anarchism! few gaming sites that i know of have such informed posters! :D

    • DerShcraa says:

      Like in that Monty Python movie?

    • Deuteronomy says:

      To reply to your textwall: FUCK ANARCHISTS. Long live the Empire.

    • Loveschach says:

      I’m pretty sure the RAF, or at least its leading members, were mostly Marxist-Leninists anyway.

      I don’t know. I don’t have very high hopes and expect the commentary will be along the lines of “Hmmmm perhaps the answer is…… somewhere in the middle

    • medwards says:

      IWW 4ever! What branch are you in? (I’m Edmonton GMB)

      @Loveschach: lol

      Hey, is anyone interested in helping me write a series of game reviews of revolutionary themes in video games? Like, for example, did anyone notice that the backstory to Mirrors Edge involves protests and reprisals that are very reminiscent of May 68?

    • feighnt says:

      ahahaha – medwards, gee, wonder where i’ve heard that name from before? :P

      hi, i’m Bryn – Edmonton too, you were the one who brought me into the union!

      … i’ve responded late, so you may not see this, but next i see you i’ll tell you :P

  22. The Dark One says:

    Here’s a superior use of that beat:

  23. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    I can’t wait for the Daily Mail to get to the bottom of this!
    It’s got anarchists in it! BAN THIS SICK FILTH!

  24. boniek says:

    First of all there are many radically different flavors of anarchism. Most prominent are anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-capitalism. Anarcho-capitalism is about abolishing monopoly of government on things it has monopoly over. It does not mean no law or no police. It means free market in those things.

    • Loveschach says:

      I really wouldn’t say anarcho-capitalism is prominent outside of the Unites States. Or outside of the internet, really. If you talk to a European anarchist and tell them about anarcho-capitalism they’ll look at you like you’re mad.

    • James T says:

      If only that disease -were- limited to the US; it’s only since the GFC that significant political leaders in the Anglosphere have dared to so much as timidly suggest options other than taking our nations on a merry march over the cliff of anarchocapitalism (the only thing we’ve had to distinguish our so-called social democratic parties from the purer market-worshippers is that they’ve occasionally endeavoured to conduct the march ever-so-slightly slower).

    • feighnt says:

      oh to hell with that.

      “anarcho”-Capitalism isnt a form of Anarchism – it has as much right to call it self “Anarchist” as National-Socialism has to call itself Socialist. this bloody useless ideology came about a handful of decades ago, hasnt affected anyone but extremely *small* intellectual circles, yet the proponents of this ideology like to act as if it’s the brother of real Anarchism (which is at least as old, and probably older, than Marxism), and as if genuine Anarchism and “anarcho”-Capitalism (which is hardly different than just ultra Classical Liberalism – why on earth they couldnt use a more honest name like that is beyond me) are roughly as strong as one another.

      and referring to Syndicalism as if it’s the other side of the coin is ridiculous, too – Anarcho-Syndicalism is simply one side of genuine Anarchism, and most Anarchists dont *completely* identify with one specific (genuine) Anarchist trend (or, more commonly, most Anarchists i know of will refer to themselves, if people want to get more specific, as Anarcho-Communists, even if they’re in syndicalist organisations). although there are different wee little groups, typically, genuine Anarchists will just call themselves Anarchists, not “Anarcho-Syndicalists.” it’s only odd cases here or there where some Anarchists will specifically refer to themselves as an Anarcho-Syndicalist (especially since many said Syndicalists recognise certain flaws, or potential flaws in syndicalism, and simply believe the syndicate is a good tool towards a broader goal), Individualists… or, in certain lesser instances, stuff like Platformists (plenty of countries have at least one Platformist organisation) or Insurrectionists (see: primarily, Greece) or whatever.

    • feighnt says:

      … wow, i should’ve read and seriously reformated that message before i posted it : /

  25. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I hope they’re not guna make us fight the anarchists :(

    …I like anarchists, when in Scribblenaughts I typed in Anarchist and the dude started to attack me I disapproved greatly…

  26. door Door door says:

    If they’re talking about anarchist splits and conflicts they should totally be looking to the Spanish Civil War instead of the Red Army Faction. Homage to Catalonia anyone?

  27. Cian says:

    Anarchist splits, in Barcelona? Unless you hark back to the days of pisteleros and the CNT/FAI division there’s not much happening but your usual fighting of Fascism and Stalinism. If it’s anarchist infighting you want that’s mostly been done through the medium of name calling and pamphlets since the time of this games setting, bullets should be saved for reactionaries after all.

    Also chiming in with the oddly high number of Syndicalist readers of RPS, solidarity is strength after all.

  28. Kris says:

    Coz I’m black, I’m proud and I’m ready to fight.
    Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.

    Possibly the first time I noticed kieron liking a group/song that I do. If he could just pick up the new Charlatans album…

  29. Monkeybreadman says:

    Pope, Nope, Anarchy, Yep