BioShock owes some of its fame to the iconic Big Daddies, who stomped around the Rapture seascape and attacked when provoked. For BioShock Infinite, series creator Ken Levine went back to the drawing board on creating a new monster, and came up with the Songbird.
"Basically he's a bit of a boogeyman in Columbia," Levine said. "It's what parents tell their kids to scare them and make sure they eat their vegetables at night."
Levine tells IGN that the Songbird is "sort of a presence in their world" but not seen around the city often. "They're aware of his presence and there's a sense that if you're not necessarily toeing the party line of the founders that he might be something that you might encounter him in a way you might not want to."
Despite the name, though, Songbird doesn't actually speak. "The nice thing about silence is it forces you to make very clear decisions about that character," Levine said. "It forces you to make that character have very clear motivations because you can't caught up in a ton of subtlety. Now hopefully when [people see] Songbird and Elizabeth they understand there is some subtlety in that relationship, there's some complexity to that relationship. It doesn't necessarily require words. The goal is to get across that relationship without them sitting down and having coffee and discussing it."
But Levine says that the Songbird isn't going to be a simple villain. "A friend once said to me that everybody is the hero of their own story. I think there's nobody if you ask them would say 'oh I'm the bad guy here'. I don't want to think that way because that inhibits you from writing characters with an internal monologue that makes them noble."
BioShock Infinite is due sometime in 2012 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360