Wild Palms: Bioshock Infinite Footage Shows Handyman

He's all hands.
Levine describes this latest “heavy hitter” character as “sort of a tragic figure.” The video goes some way to explaining why: a heavily-scarred gentleman trapped in a giant, ape-like robotic suit, at the centre of which is what appears to be a heart in a glass case. Threatening, indeed, but you really wouldn’t want to share his fate. There’s a bit of footage, and even a few glimpses of concept art for what the handyman could have been in other, hideous incarnations.

Between this and that nightmarish bird thing, Bioshock Infinite is going all out to have the most threatening baddies in any game ever.


  1. f1x says:

    Tragic indeed, what about when he goes “private” moments, it has to be hard to handle

    edited for more pun

  2. inertia says:

    I wonder if he asked for this.

    • puppybeard says:

      Yeah I reckon they went into it with their eyes open, they’re really happy with the results, and if they don’t like it the process will be fully reversible. The tragic part will be that in order to take time out to undergo the procedure, they missed out on the annual work outing, and when people reminisce about it in the office, they feel out of the loop.

      Y’know, because Ken Levine obviously knows better than to talk up what tvtropes calls the What Have I Become? trope as if it was something clever.

      • gwathdring says:

        It probably isn’t particularly clever in this instance, but cleverness comes more from implementation and in choosing the trope that best pops for your work than in avoiding tropes altogether. Just because someone took the time to laboriously document all of the instances of a particular entertainment trope on tvtropes.com doesn’t magically make anything that uses the trope irrelevant and all implementations of it boring, passé and pointless.

        In short, Tvtropes is fun and entertaining, but I wish people wouldn’t use it as some sort of critical resource. Critique the work not the whole history of human entertainment.

        • gwathdring says:

          That said, there are certainly some tropes more overused in certain media than others, and some that are just not very interesting to begin with. There’s nothing really wrong with “What have I become?” It’s a pretty potent theme/trope both in the lives of real people and of fictional characters.

          • bladedsmoke says:

            *applauds gwathdring*

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            I was gonna write something about ‘everything’s a trope’ but this is better. :)

        • puppybeard says:

          You make a good point and yes, if past outings are anything to go by, it shouldn’t be too boring.

          I don’t assume that something being a trope means it’s can’t be done well
          (The Hero with a Thousand Faces being a famous exploration). The reason I provide the link is to remind people of the hundreds of examples we’ve seen to date, as inertia was alluding to.
          It’s not typically compelling, because it’s so bloody over-used.

          Maybe it’s just the subjugated ghosts in Skyrim that have me wound up over it. They were utterly pointless.

  3. Metonymy says:

    And for each new enemy, 10 ammo types.

    Truly, there will be no end to the manners in which you can click on this enemy.

  4. Dana says:

    I don’t really “feel” this enemy. Seems too technologically advanced.

    • Nevard says:

      No more so than a fully automated chaingun wielding Abe Lincoln, surely? At least this one is moved around by a guy

  5. diebroken says:

    Think I’d rather see the rhinoceros…

  6. caddyB says:

    Well that’s some hands-on approach going on there.

  7. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    Handy men have always been a turn on for me.

  8. Trent Hawkins says:

    Porcelain… not the sort of material you want to use on giant heavy machinery used to smash things.

    • Tacroy says:

      Porcelain is a ceramic, and ceramic plates can stop bullets. It’s not unreasonable to imagine some technomagical process that creates super hard ceramics which look like porcelain.

      Though yeah you wouldn’t want to use it for smashing, ceramics aren’t that great at handling shocks.

      • YourMessageHere says:

        Ceramic plates stop bullets by being hard enough to redirect the kinetic force into smashing the ceramics. They are still brittle.

      • Brun says:

        Ceramics make good body armor and heat shields. They make excellent heat shields due to their thermodynamic and heat transfer properties. They make good armor because they absorb kinetic energy by shattering. The disadvantage of this is that they’re typically only useful for absorbing one shot, but that’s acceptable in something like personal body armor designed for protection against shrapnel and small arms.

        Ceramics are NOT good structural materials. They are, as others have said, brittle and prone to shattering. They also aren’t good under tension loads (but like concrete, will do well in compression). They would be less than ideal in an application that required sustained impact/shock absorption.

        EDIT: It seems that the robot is a mixture of brass and ceramic. In that case it’s likely that Brass was used in most of the load-bearing elements while Ceramic was used as paneling, probably for aesthetic purposes.

  9. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    Sorry but the more I see the less I am interested. Bioshock1 was ok mainly due to the DX10 gfx in 2007. This looks heavily scripted in places not sure Ken Levine is as good as he thinks he is. Bioshock1 was pretty boring gameplay wise!

    • Uglycat says:

      I came late to the B1 party, and while I don’t consider myself to be a noob gamer, it’s spanking me hard on the hard difficulty, to the point where it’s becoming tedious. Maybe I’m just getting too old.

    • f1x says:

      I dont think we’ve seen enough footage to know if its too scripted or not
      besides that, Bioshock1 had great gameplay, not boring at all, considering at that time it really introduced a lot of stuff to shooters that was not present,

    • gwathdring says:

      I thought Bioshock played really well. There were some bits where it was ridiculously difficult if you had a bad power load-out (or at the very least, one that didn’t quite fit the current challenge). But there were other bits that just didn’t quite satisfy even on hard. That happens in every game though–especially one with so many combat options as Bioshock. It’s hard to keep every player challenged, interested, and focused on the design center of every challenge. I thought it was a solid shooter with good gun-play, a gorgeous aesthetic, and some interesting characters up to a certain point where I just lost connection with the story. I don’t think it should have ended in Ryan’s office, and I loved most of the events after leaving Ryan’s office … but I found Fontaine both unconvincing as a villain and utterly awful as a final boss.

      • Phantoon says:

        Yes, he could’ve been handled any better way, like the idea that he gets control of the vita-chambers and locks you out.

  10. MistyMike says:

    Big Handy

  11. DaftPunk says:

    Design looks quite ridiculous.

  12. puppybeard says:

    They look great, and I look forward to killing them.

    Isn’t it funny though, how the artist refers (1:07) to the process of deciding what head they would have. With all the money spent on visuals, you’d think we’d be past “every enemy has the same face”, or even try not to draw attention to it.

    • Kyrius says:

      Ohhhh so much this! I was pretty disappointed by the fact that they designed more than one head and actually had to choose just one and say it out loud… Of course, there would be many sketches before the final “handyman” and it’s pretty normal big enemies to have the same face, but still no one goes bragging about all the different faces you came across and the one which is actually in the game… they could put some random face generator (like 3 samples at random) before the enemy shows up…
      Anyways, the game still looks awesome :)

    • gwathdring says:

      I thought there was only one of them, like Birdman. I skimmed the video, though, so I must have missed something.

    • Dreforian says:

      On the one hand I’m happy they went with the look that they chose; what Levine said about some of the options was totally true and if they’d gone with that mustachio head I think it would have helped push the aesthetic of the game in a more cartoonish direction. Leave Psychonauts to the professionals! On the other hand I totally agree that having several of these all looking the same is boring. When he said there was more than one it changed the impression I had of a formerly human monster (or villain) to a bucket of hitpoints recruited from the Union of Identical Citizenry.

      Also, that ending shot of the handyman charging was strongly reminiscent of tanks from L4D.

  13. boats says:

    The design that was “too on the nose videogame” was awesome! For me, each concurrent design after that one got more and more “on the nose videogame” with the final design being the most so.

    • gwathdring says:

      Huh. I don’t think it’s all that video-gamey. The head is, I’ll give you that. I felt it had the unique charm of Bioshock’s general art style and thus didn’t feel too classic-video game for me. The others seemed out of place in Biosock-land, more at home in the aesthetics of a lot of horror films and games. That’s my take, at least

  14. Secundus says:

    franchise prized for its innovation pretty much reskins the same game three times :x

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    Phasma Felis says:

    Well, you know what they say about guys with big hands, right?

    That’s right: they’re horrible brass-and-ceramic monstrosities. Awwww yeah.

  16. Apples says:

    “a heart in a glass case” What’s the point of building a giant robot and then putting the most vulnerable bit of it in a glowing fragile case at the front of it? I know it’s a video game tradition to put a huge shiny “shoot here” spot on enemies, but really…

    • Soon says:

      It’s actually quite a clever use of the cliché to demonstrate some callous, dehumanising design – as heavy machinery needs an emergency stop. I’m assuming he wasn’t originally designed for smashing people.

  17. Bobtree says:

    I’m becoming afraid Bioshock Infinite will be so overexposed and pre-spoiled by the time it comes out that I won’t want to play it.

    • sky_in_flames says:

      I’m becoming more and more annoyed… not only because they simply show too much and spoiler the experience for so many people, but because I can’t say I like what I’m seeing. A big MEH to the developers and publishers…

  18. YourMessageHere says:

    Interesting design, but awful concept. Basically, it’s a reskinned Big Daddy (minus the little sister, natch) with an enemy-throwing attack instead of a rivet gun, isn’t it? Stop making more bosses! Bosses are not fun to fight! Have we learned nothing from the last 20 years of games? Specifically, has Levine not worked out that the least good bits of System Shock 2 and Bioshock were the bosses?

    Of course, I’m assuming they really are as tough as they are made out to be. If they end up like Tanks in Quake 2, ostensibly a major problem at first but progressively less worrisome as you go on, they should be OK.

    Got to say, although Elizabeth looks decent and the tears thing is potentially interesting, what with the ‘US interest only’ setting and now this unreasonable smattering of bosses and minibosses throughout the game, I’m struggling to see a compelling reason to play it. Even if they’re not bosses, the boss mindset is clearly at work behind this, which really gives me pause for thought.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Why is it a ‘US interest only’ setting? Because it uses American imagery and ideas? I’m Dutch and I’m interested in what they’ll do here. Just as much as I’m interested in stories about, say, a french peasant girl on a mission from god or doomed young lovers from Verona.

      • Sassenach says:

        I think the meaning is that it’s a very nationalistic, isolationist atmosphere in the game world. i.e. One of the big themes in the game is American supremacy. Not that it will only appeal to an American audience.

    • Nevard says:

      But I loved the bouncers
      Please don’t conflate “I hated big daddies” to “everyone hated big daddies and everyone should stop putting them into games”

    • Phantoon says:

      I love bosses, and think not enough games have them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      “US interest only”? Was STALKER “Russian interest only”?

    • Mman says:

      “Specifically, has Levine not worked out that the least good bits of… Bioshock were the bosses?”

      Outside of one or two superior set-piece encounters the Big Daddies provided the best fights in the game, so no. Unless you’re specifically talking about the final boss (which you’re right about in that case).

  19. Jackablade says:

    “Little ones need lots of meat to grow big and strong.”

    • 13tales says:

      Yes. This.

      I get a serious System Shock vibe from this guy and it makes me very very happy.

      Also, just looking at this thread- I guess beating up on Bioshock is cool now? Man, I have to start reading the memos.

  20. Jason Moyer says:

    The more I read about this game, the more I have a hard time imagining it being anything but total cheese. And I mean cheese in the Mortyr sense, although this should have better game systems attached to it.

  21. Bhazor says:

    Oh, take a look at these hands, they’re passing in-between us
    Take a look at these hands
    Take a look at these hands, you don’t have to mention it
    No thanks, I’m a government man

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      Well I’m a tumbler! Born under punches.

      There’s a certain sadness to a guy in a metal suit. Sooooooo, like, Big Daddies?
      Also they can swing around and they’re agile for their size and they are strong and can jump and throw things… soooo like anytime they put a gorilla in a vijjeo game? (Far Cry, various Mario games, various Resident Evils, etc.)

      I look forward to the tissuepaper thin moral binary to click!

  22. Unholy Mushroom says:

    I would really like to see video of the gameplay, and interaction with Elizabeth.

    During the Washington presentation you hear in the background “Elizabeth, I need a turret.”
    And I cringed, because if that’s the extent of her presence in this game, it’s little-sisters hype all over again.

  23. Turkey says:

    Yup. Can’t wait for Dishonored.

  24. DoopDe says:

    He’s just a little brought down because,
    When you knocked,
    He thought you were the candy-man.

  25. noodlecake says:

    I can’t even try it out. I signed up ages ago and downloaded the client assuming that there was some kind of free trial but there wasn’t so I couldn’t actually play it. Now when i sign in to try this weekend thing it says I can’t do it because it’s for new members only. So I’ll never actually get to play this at all. Oh well… It’s their loss of a potential subscription.