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About 4 minutes into the game, you see a dead man in the lighthouse with a sign hanging around his neck saying "Don't disappoint us".

Who is he?

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1  
I think he's just the lighthouse supervisor. All the messages are meant for Booker. –  Gmoneyrocks Mar 30 '13 at 2:08
    
I assumed he was the last guy who they sent after Elizabeth and failed –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Mar 30 '13 at 5:33
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Honestly, any answer here is going to be speculation. –  Shaun Mar 30 '13 at 19:19

9 Answers 9

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I think I got the answer, and if you think about it, it's quite straightforward. It isn't Booker, or any metaphysical representation of his psyche.

The lighthouse serves as an entrance to Columbia, and as we see at the beginning of the game, used by pilgrims and newcomers that have been accepted into the city. Such a place would have a keeper, a guardian. There are religious motifs all over the place, because as any good Columbian, he'd be a believer. There are charts in the lighthouse that show where the city is going to be depending on the time of the year, and the pattern it follows.

And to activate the chair that ejects you into the city, you need a password, the bell combination, that only said lighthouse guardian would know. Now, in the Lutece labs, you find a picture of the lighthouse with a red circle marked around it and the words "ONLY ONE OBSTACLE" next to it. Their plan was to send Booker through the lighthouse, and the only obstacle was the man guarding it himself.

So that's it. The Lutece have shown to be quite cold in their behavior and not care much about other people's lives when they get between them and their experiments. Maybe they didn't do the deed themselves, they might've just hired another nameless thug to do the dirty job.

But basically: It's nobody but the Lighthouse keeper, who's been tortured and murdered in order to get the means for Booker to get into the city. They might've left the "Don't dissapoint us" message to add color or feed him the idea that he's working for some shady criminal organization.

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Could the obstacle simply be: persuading or achieving getting Booker to go along with the whole plan? Obviously they achieve this because his memories get all blurry and he persuades himself that he has to “get the girl” but maybe they didn't know it would be that easy. –  Max Howell Apr 16 '13 at 6:27
    

Ken Levine, the creative director of Bioshock Infinite, stated in an interview (5:47) that it's the lighthouse keeper.

(Asked while walking up to the dead man in the lighthouse)

Q. How much went into making sure that this wasn't just an empty lighthouse that you're walking up? How much attention went into the writing on the wall (which isn't necessarily legible, but is there as a nice detail)?

A. That was all actually added very very very late, because we didn't really realize how important it was to sell Booker's story in the lighthouse, rather than the story of just going to Columbia. And so this lighthouse keeper, the writing on the wall, the mess, all that got added in the last few weeks (before I came out to show it to you guys), because we realized that story wasn't resonating very well. And little details like, you know, he's got a pillowcase over his head; random killers don't put pillowcases over peoples' heads and shoot them, so this is clearly some kind of professional work.

And so all these details just kept getting added along the way, mostly from having people play it and seeing: were they getting our intent? Were they getting what we were trying to do?

So, apparently the dead body (which even the creative director considers to be just the lighthouse keeper) was just added at the last minute to emphasize the seriousness of Booker's situation, and wasn't meant as an important plot-point.

(Though, they could always figure out a way to work him into the plot in a future DLC :) )

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MASSIVE SPOILERS - DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T COMPLETED THE GAME YET

Well, it can't be the last guy sent after Elizabeth, cause that would be Booker himself (albeit a version of him from a different reality) - plus, that guy was obviously killed where he sat, so it's safe to say it was the lighthouse supervisor.

More interesting than that is the question who killed him and planted all the "motivationals" like "Don't disappoint us". Couldn't have been the Lutece's (at least not the killing) because they were afraid that interfering directly would mess up reality as a whole - otherwise, they would have freed Elizabeth and/or killed Comstock themselves.

So, maybe Booker halucinated all of that to support his new, fictional memories? After all:

"The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist."

- Rosalind Lutece

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I wrote that comment before beating the game, I now definitely don't think it's the last guy they sent for Elizabeth :P –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Apr 14 '13 at 9:29

SPOILERS AHEAD!

It can't be Booker, on the basis that I crouched down and looked at his right hand, there's no AD on it, if it was Booker intended by the developers, they would have put it there so that only people playing through the second time would understand the importance of hiding something subtle yet easily missed by a first time player, such as the AD mark.

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First off, Ken Levine has stated it was a last minute addition and that he was just a "lighthouse keeper".

Second, even though the game doesn't explicitly state it, it's not Booker.

Each Booker the Luteces took to Columbia died. The Columbia is a different world/timeline each time by the way, not a bunch of Bookers going to the SAME Columbia every time, that wouldn't make sense! This means that if Booker dies, his body wouldn't be in the next "Booker-takes-on-Columbia" timeline. The Luteces could move the body but you can tell by looking at the body and the tools around it, that person was killed/tortured on the spot for a reason.

Theories of anyone else besides the Luteces putting Booker's or anyone elses body there are impossible since no one would know enough to do it in that specific timeline, except for people who know what's happening already, which would be the Luteces. There is no way the Vox could know anything in that timeline to warrant putting a warning in the lighthouse.

Comstock of course knows Booker is coming because he knows he wants to try and get his daughter back (but he wouldn't put a dead body there, he would put a guard there, hence the keeper). So in every timeline, Comstock is ready for Booker and anticipates it. This is why he created the entire "false prophet" campaign and knows about the "AD" on Booker's hand (he uses tears to see other times and that's how he saw the "AD"). This is why he sends the note that's in the lighthouse that says to "stop him" because Booker is coming. This would mean that there is a guard/caretaker at the lighthouse for whom the note was intended, which is what the dead man is, a guard/keeper.

You would think Comstock would put more soldiers there to stop him, but the Luteces probably could have dealt with anything he put in their way eventually, just not personally.

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I believe it's jack ryan... or some kind of version of him, maybe a natural version of him, but its that sweater... that same material (wool or cotton or whatever). Its got to be him! i agree that hes a guard, but i also believe him to be Jack. Im unable to see the backs of his wrists when i play, they are conveniantly tied together in a way that covers the exact spots, which is more reason to believe it...

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its just some guy watching the entrance. some townies even say columbia isnt open to the public anymore. its a guard, who killed him, not sitting down i may add he looks placed there. and -C must be comstock. the place looked Comstocked out so it wasnt an illusion either, could be the vox for smuggling reasons but thats too coincidental too perfect timing and it wouldev been explained through some easter egg, recorder, something. so the fact that its not explained probably just means poor job on creation part just for story like you guys said before that kev guy said.

what about the message you get for that kid, he says dewitts name!, it cant be the luteces doing all this, they wouldev just gave him that note on the boat unless they need to see how things play out first i guess, i just feel that the luteces never know when they can help when they do they are there in person. slate acts normal like dewitt is his friend like he knows about tears etc. but fights him anyway. i feel that this is one of the best games ever, but a lot just doesnt make sense like if it was left for infinite speculation, a grand debate never to end. iev had enough!, i will just pretend whatever i want and that will be my truth... "i know my truth..." -AD

p.s. until the boys and girls of bioshock say something different...... this game's getting more confusing all time....

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It's comstock. When Booker is waiting to cross the bridge and that float goes past it shows Comstock with the very same outfit on.

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Booker, after being killed by the Vox.

My guess is that this lighthouse acts as foreshadowing of the larger game. Booker rejects the cleansing, sees the aspects of Columbia, but sees a fight destroy things, with a blood trail leading to the body. Bookers only choice is to ascend.

The reason I feel it's booker is because of the sign. It says "don't disappoint us". Now, this could be meant for anyone, but it is oddly specific to you. If meant for a common Columbian, this would have no meaning. But Booker helps the Vox in one world, allowing them to take over, while he fails them in another.

It also helps to watch Daisy's (the Vox leader) reaction to you being alive mod-game. In her world you died for the Vox. She saw it "with her own eyes" and she seems pretty angry you're there. Why?

She killed you. For power, or because she knew about the possibility of tears, but she doesn't want you to go messing up the big revolution. And you do completely help with her murder too, so maybe she is trying to prevent her own death.

So, the dead person is a threat. It represents booker's martyrdom in the larger story, but knowing multiple worlds, could be the real you after being tortured for failing the Vox.

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There are a lot of reasons I disagree with this answer, but the biggest is that the Vox rise to power is in a different reality than the one you start the game in. –  Sterno Mar 31 '13 at 1:10
    
I can't see it being Booker either, especially because of what Sterno said - The timeline you start in is not the one where Booker was with the Vox. –  Glowyrm Apr 22 '13 at 16:54

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