The design evolution of BioShock Infinite's Handyman is detailed in the latest installment in Irrational Games' character reveal series. Unlike the previously revealed Motorized Patriot, which is a machine through and through, the story behind this hulking, yet spry, mechanical menace is much more disturbing.
“The Handymen are sort of a tragic figure," says BioShock Infinite creative director Ken Levine. "There’s a certain sadness to who they are and how they got there.”
Levine wouldn’t elaborate on the tragic events that led to these dudes being trapped in metal husks, as he’d prefer for the truth be revealed to players when they actually play the game. Fine by us. The more surprises the better.
Hit the jump for details on the Handyman's evolution and his unique abilty set.
Lead artist Shawn Robertson explains that the nickname “Handyman” is a reference to the massive porcelain hands attached to their robotic arms. The design was inspired by toys from the turn of the 19th century, similar to the Motorized Patriot.
“They [did] a lot of work on trying to make the porcelain dolls feel realistic with the way that they paint the hands and the faces," said Robertson, "but they’re not quite there. It’s almost like the original incarnation of uncanny valley.”
As you'd expect, art director Nate Wells says the team oscillated between various designs for the Handyman before settling on the final product. One of the proposed designs, pictured above, featured a midsection with exposed organs, but, it didn't make the cut because, as Wells admits, “It was too on-the-nose video game.”
But the Handymen don’t just look terrifying; they have a movement suite designed to make players break into a cold sweat at the sight of them.
“They can leap these great distances in the game. Sometimes you’ll see them coming in from the sky and landing from a great height, and then they’ll be bouncing in the space. They’re quite agile for their size and quite powerful.”
Levine goes on to say that there is one skill that makes the Handyman an especially frightening foe not just to Booker but to everyone unfortunate enough to cross paths with these formidable enemies as well.
“Their coolest ability is that they can pick up AIs like friends or foes, and toss them. So I think that everyone around them finds them quite terrifying, including, sometimes, your enemies, cause they just become tools of the Handyman to get at Booker.”
Just when you think Irrational couldn't dazzle you more in terms of displaying the game's vision and style, they do. Whether all of these stunning pieces can come together into one equally stunning package is something we'll have to wait until October 16 to find out.
The next exclusive BioShock Infinite Heavy Hitters reveal will come this Monday, March 19, at 6:30pm ET only on X-Play, so check back then. And stay tuned to X-Play over the coming weeks for even more reveals!