- “…he, a lumbering palooka in a foul-smelling diving suit…”
- ― Andrew Ryan[src]
Big Daddies (originally named Protectors, and occasionally referred to as Mister Bubbles or Mister B. by Little Sisters and Metal Daddies by Splicers) are genetically enhanced human beings who have had their skin and organs grafted into an armored diving suit, with Alpha Series being an apparent exception to the grafting process, though still heavily spliced. Their primary purpose is to protect Little Sisters while they escort them around Rapture.
If all of the Little Sisters have been either harvested or saved in a level, Big Daddies will wander to a vent like usual and bang on it. However, a Little Sister will not come out, causing the Big Daddy to groan in frustration and bang again before letting out a sad moan and walk away in an attempt to find another Little Sister.
Aside from the Alpha Series, Big Daddies communicate by uttering haunting sounds similar to that of whale calls. Alpha Series communicate with low, inhuman grunts and roars. For easier interpretation, production model Big Daddies have a bioluminescent chemical substance which filled the helmet, displaying its state of emotion or mind. The Big Daddy has three different colors he will display.
- Green indicates the Big Daddy is hypnotized and friendly.
- Yellow indicates awareness but indifference to his environment. However, he will react to people near him by shoving them. If the Big Daddy has a Little Sister with him and the player continuously stands in his way, the Big Daddy will become enraged in order to protect the threatened Little Sister.
- Red indicates rage towards assailants.
The surviving Alpha Series from BioShock 2 are in a permanent state of wrath due to prolonged separation from their Little Sisters. This excludes subjects Delta and Sigma owing to their unique circumstance.
Big Daddies were originally created by Dr. Yi Suchong to serve as Rapture's maintenance workers, to help in later construction projects, and to do the menial work of Rapture that was not profitable: Rosies riveted panels and windows while Bouncers drilled deep-sea rocks and minerals for further city expansion.
As the demand for ADAM skyrocketed, Suchong proposed the idea of recycling the raw genetic material directly from the corpses of dead Splicers, instead of exclusively producing it with Little Sisters in their laboratories. With the genetically-modified girls at great risk when out on the streets gathering ADAM on their own, the "Protector Program" was initiated to bond them to the hulking Big Daddies, turning the latter into Protectors who would respond aggressively to any threat encountered by the Gatherers.
Suchong suggested this idea to Andrew Ryan, knowing that becoming a Big Daddy was a "one-way street", but he fretted about being able to find suitable candidates. However, Ryan gave assurances that it would not be a problem. While the true identities of most of the candidates were unknown, many were exiled criminals, the criminally insane, and political dissidents imprisoned in Persephone, which was under the management of Augustus Sinclair, the owner of the plasmid research company, Sinclair Solutions. With the help of Sofia Lamb, who was herself imprisoned at Persephone at that time and acting as a psychiatrist for the other inmates, Sinclair would send chosen test subjects from Persephone to both Fontaine Futuristics and Ryan Industries.
Experiments were conducted by Dr. Gilbert Alexander in the research laboratories of Fountaine Futuristics. The first protector prototypes bonded to Little Sisters were called the Alpha Series, who were previously plasmid test subjects from Sinclair Solutions. Alexander took inspiration from a common nickname for the Protector Program candidates, "Big Daddies", and engineered a conditioned bond between the Protectors and their charges which would mimic, through mental and physical restraints, the emotional bond between a father and his daughter, the "Pair Bond." This bond ensured that the Protectors would guard their charges at all times, and not wander away from the girls, otherwise they would slip into a coma. After many unsuccessful attempts, the first candidate from the Protector Program to be successfully pair bonded was Subject Delta, a deep sea diver formerly known as Johnny Topside who had discovered and entered the city by accident. In a short time though, the Alpha Series failed to be practical as Protectors as they only protected a single specific Little Sister, and if they were lost to Splicers or rescued by Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum, that rendered the Protectors useless, sending them into a coma or making them suicidally aggressive. Even after being reprogrammed, they were only usable as combatants with no other thought than to kill their target. With these unsuccessful results, the Alpha Series was put to an end. The remaining Alpha models were deactivated and, in the following years, kept in holding at Fontaine Futuristics, Minerva's Den, and Persephone.
Columbia's Songbird Involvement
- “These holes have shown me yet another wonder, though I’ve yet to see the application for it. They illuminate a merger of machine and man that is somehow the lesser, yet the greater, of both parties.”
- ― Jeremiah Fink[src]
Regardless of his colleague's progress, Suchong was also working on a bond of his own creation, albeit without success. Meanwhile, over in Columbia's reality, Jeremiah Fink, an industrial tycoon who previously used trans-dimensional Tears to steal Rapture's technological advancements, was trying to work on his own kind of Protector based on Suchong's work, the Songbird. Like Suchong though, Fink had reached an impasse while trying to bond the creature to a single child, Elizabeth. In 1958, he contacted Suchong through a Tear that the Rapture scientist was actively studying at the former Silver Fin Restaurant in Fontaine's Department Store, and they both came to an agreement to share their research in order to reach their mutual objective. However, Songbird accidentally bonded itself to its test subject, and Fink chose to put an end to his partnership, eventually closing his Imprinting Studies labs at Fink Manufacturing.
Suchong, who got the short end of the bargain, was still looking for the solution in genetic compatibility. Using the Lutece Device still left in his possession, he intended to steal a DNA sample of Fink's bonded test subject but his research was put on hold when the City Council closed the department store to turn it into a prison for Fontaine's criminal gang. His Tear device was eventually damaged by vandals, but could still be remotely controlled from his clinic and secret laboratory at Artemis Suites, Apollo Square. On December 31, Suchong finally acquired the DNA sample from Elizabeth herself (ironically unknown to him that she was the same test subject who once bonded to Songbird) as she'd gone to the restaurant to repair the Lutece Device to return to Columbia.
Two weeks later, the Civil War initiated by the bombing of the Kashmir Restaurant's New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball led to a panic, bank crash and an ADAM shortage as citizens spliced heavily in order to protect themselves. This brought the need for functioning Protectors, more important now than ever.
Protector Bond Breakthrough
Suchong's genetic Protection Bond attempt proved a failure as the Big Daddies still ignored the girls. While he fussed over this, unknown to him, Elizabeth provided the solution to two Little Sisters in his own laboratory: inject a dying Big Daddy with ADAM to save him. This caused the Bouncer to bond to both Little Sisters, Leta and Masha Lutz, and the girls went to tell Suchong about what happened. However Suchong, deep in his work and growing frustrated, failed to notice the Big Daddy's change in behavior and smacked Leta away during a recording of his failed Lot 255 results. This triggered the aggressive response of the Bouncer, who then impaled Suchong with his drill to the scientist's own desk, proving the bond had worked but at the cost of Suchong's life.
With this breakthrough, it led to the further bonding of Big Daddies to Little Sisters, where Pheromones were used to make the girls attracted to the Big Daddies and not be afraid of them as they had been previously. With the bonding system now working, the Memorial Museum at Point Prometheus was changed to the Proving Grounds to be used for Big Daddy training.
As the Big Daddies and Little Sisters were sent out onto the streets of Rapture, citizens responded to them in different ways, though many were disgusted as the Big Daddy's intimidating appearance and aggressive conditioning caused fear among the populace and resulted in several unfortunate accidents. Confrontations with Splicers and well-meaning citizens prompted Andrew Ryan to broadcast public address announcements to warn against approaching the Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Ryan tried to combat public dislike of the Protector Program by having the Big Daddies described as "Knights In Shining Armor", created to protect Rapture against the "Parasites". As the violence on the streets became more extreme, elite versions of the Bouncer and Rosie were created to help defend Little Sisters in the more dangerous areas of the city. Ryan even commissioned a third model of Protector to be created by Rapture Central Computing using the help of The Thinker, and so the Lancer, considered to be the most advanced Big Daddy so far, was created along with the new Ion Laser weapon. Despite the new Protector being finished, it never left Minerva's Den, as Reed Wahl sealed off the entire facility from the rest of Rapture.
By the end of the civil war in 1960, many Big Daddies had fallen to the attacks of Splicers and Atlas' rebels and littered the corridors of Rapture. However more remained active, roaming from one vent to another to call on Little Sisters to start another cycle of gathering. Years after the death of Andrew Ryan and after Sofia Lamb took control, ADAM gathering continued until the remaining Little Sisters in Rapture were too old to be able to process the raw genetic material. The remaining Big Daddies continued to maintain the city in a viable state, as per their original design. The older Sisters were then turned into Big Sisters by Dr. Alexander, one of the few remaining scientists at Fontaine Futuristics. He conditioned them as enforcers and provided them with diving suit gear similar to those of Big Daddies, producing a new fear for the Splicers. In 1967, Lamb, requiring new Little Sisters and the ADAM they produced, sent Big Sisters out to kidnap little girls from the surface.
However, Splicers continued to evolve over the years, making them more effective in ambushing Big Daddies. This forced Alexander to create a new model of Protector, the Rumbler, which was designed to effectively dispatch larger groups of enemies.
Stopping the Program
In 1968, Brigid Tenenbaum returned to Rapture to free the new Little Sisters, foiling Lamb's plan of perfecting her Utopia, and to find a cure for ADAM. With the help of Lamb's daughter and former Little Sister, Eleanor Lamb, and the artificial intelligence still monitoring the city's automation, The Thinker, she reactivated two Alpha Series: Subject Delta, Eleanor's former pair-bonded Protector, and Subject Sigma, previously Charles Milton Porter, the initial creator of The Thinker. Both Alpha Series regained part of their humanity and free will, which helped them complete their own objectives: Delta guided by Sinclair, and Sigma by The Thinker, who was impersonating Porter. Their opponents, a genetically mutated and insane Alexander, Sofia Lamb, and Reed Wahl, reactivated other, broken Alpha Series and used them as soldiers to try and stop the rogue Protectors. The last known Alpha Series created was Sinclair (Subject Omega, Ω), done by Sofia Lamb to fight Delta as part of her escape plan, which ultimately failed.
Induction and Conditioning Process
- “…you become Big Daddy, it's a one-way street.”
- ― Yi Suchong[src]
From the time of its founding, maintenance of Rapture required trained divers in reinforced suits to walk outside along the seafloor to repair leaks and reinforce the city's structure. By the time of the Protector Program's tests, certain former citizens of Rapture had been genetically altered with ADAM and permanently sealed inside the special diving suits to become what were eventually called Big Daddies. They were genetically modified and conditioned in the research labs and facilities of Point Prometheus. Protector training was eventually done in the Proving Grounds.
The candidates for induction into the Protector Program went through voice box modification and pheromone application, which attracted the Little Sisters to the Big Daddies. After those, the candidates' skin and organs were grafted and integrated into their suit, to become one functional unit. The subjects were then placed in large vats of an unknown yellow substance, and eventually reduced to mindless servitors.
Through genetic splicing, the humans inside the heavy suits were given enhanced strength and durability. Their suit exoskeletons contained the life support machinery needed to keep them alive during their duties, allowing a Big Daddy to lift heavy loads and do other strenuous tasks, as well as resist the cold and pressure of the deep ocean. In BioShock, BioShock 2, and Burial at Sea, Big Daddies can be seen performing both internal and external maintenance repairs. Big Daddies were also ordered to periodically return to facilities like Hephaestus for routine maintenance check-ups.
Big Daddy Types
So far, there are five main types of Big Daddy protectors, including two elite versions for only the Bouncer and Rosie. Of the five protectors, the latest four are functional and protect the Little Sisters, as the original Alpha Series (with the exception of Subject Delta) were marked as a failure.
Introduced in BioShock
Bouncers are clad in a very distinct heavy diving suit, the entire torso of which is covered by a thick metal carapace. The head protrudes directly forward from the upper chest area and is encased in a hemispherical helmet studded with eight lit portholes. A large, fully-functional conical drill is attached to the right arm just forward of the elbow and is used for powerful melee attacks. The Bouncers get their name from their will to protect their bonded Little Sisters.
Both a regular and a red-striped Elite version with a harpoon-like drill appear in BioShock and BioShock 2.
In the BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea DLC, the Bouncer can use the drill as a grappling hook to get around Rapture's infrastructure quicker and also to get closer to those that threaten a Little Sister. It is a new feature for that tool/weapon not seen in previous games. A note found in Suchong's clinic states that the gas that launches the drill bit makes the subject somehow unstable, suggesting that the feature was discontinued in subsequent Bouncers and explaining its absence in chronologically later games.
In concept art of the game, a Bouncer model with two flat head drills is seen. However, this version was removed when the developers decided they wanted the Big Daddies to interact with the Little Sisters. The model can be found in the Museum of Orphaned Concepts.
Rosies are clad in a basic heavy flexible fabric diving suit, the upper torso of which is covered by a high-gauge metal carapace. The head is guarded by a thick metal diving helmet welded to the torso carapace and has three large lit portholes. They wield large Rivet Guns and Proximity Mines at long range, and use the Rivet Gun for powerful melee attacks as well.
A red-striped Elite version is present in the original BioShock.
Introduced in BioShock 2
- “Big Daddies represent BioShock: They are iconic fixtures in Rapture. In BioShock 2, you step into the shoes of the first Big Daddy and assume the role of one of the most feared beings within the city walls. Designing new Big Daddies posed a significant challenge: Not only did the team have to design a playable Big Daddy, but they also had to create other Big Daddies that would still present a significant threat to you, despite the fact that you now also wield a drill.”
- ― Deco Devolution: The Art of BioShock 2 - Introduction to Big Daddy chapter[src]
Eight years after the events of BioShock, Sofia Lamb is in control of Rapture and she and her followers have produced new Big Daddies to help protect the Little Sisters. Bouncers and Rosies return to the sequel, along with three new types.
The Rumbler is the newest type of Big Daddy, and debuts in BioShock 2. Designed by Gilbert Alexander, his arsenal includes deployable Mini-Turrets and a shoulder mounted RPG that shoots non-guided rockets. This Big Daddy type seems to be more mobile than the other two types, although less armored. Its combat style gives it an advantage in open spaces, unlike its two counterparts, and it seems to fare well in long to mid-range combat. Its attacks are designed to keep the player on the move, and it can quickly turn the environment to its advantage and give the player as little cover as possible. A very formidable foe to say the least.
Like Subject Delta, other failed prototypes of the Alpha Series of Big Daddies survived. They have long since lost their Sisters, and have devolved into something vaguely like a Splicer. These are barely sentient monsters that attack anything near them. Like Delta, they can use Plasmids and regularly emit bursts of Electro Bolt, Incinerate!, and Winter Blast from their malfunctioning suits. They tend to use Launchers, Machine Guns, and Shotguns in addition to their Plasmids. Their armor is similar to Delta's, but more decayed, with parts of their arms exposed.
Their bonds were to be to a single Little Sister, with Delta being the first success. Because of this, they are believed to not have undergone some of the modifications later Big Daddies have, such as the application of pheromones. There was no need due to their physiologically enforced bond to a single Little Sister. They were not fused into their suits (as Subject Delta could remove his helmet when he was ordered to by Sofia Lamb). Many of the Alpha Series subjects appear to have had incomplete or otherwise faulty bonds so that instead of slipping into a coma after losing their Little Sisters, they simply went mad.
Minerva's Den, BioShock 2's final DLC, features a new type of Big Daddy. The Lancer is much slimmer, slightly taller, and more decorated than their counterparts. They also hold an Ion Laser, and appears to be a finished version of the Deco-Rosie, as seen in concept art and as a statue in the main campaign. This is the only type of Big Daddy the player encounters in the Minerva's Den DLC aside from the Alpha Series.
In the multiplayer segment of BioShock 2, the player is able to become a Rosie by picking up a Big Daddy Suit. As a Big Daddy, the player has access to the Rosie's Rivet Gun and Proximity Mines, as well as the ability to perform a stomp which stuns nearby enemies. In the multiplayer, Rosies have three different "moods," indicated by the light emanating from their portholes:
- Blue Light: Indicates that the Rosie is on the player's team, and as such is friendly to them.
- Yellow Light: Indicates the Rosie is unallied yet hostile. Yellow Lights only appear in free for all games.
- Red Light: Indicates that the Rosie is a member of the opposite team, and thus hostile to the player.
Significant Big Daddies
There are six "named" Big Daddies so far in the BioShock series:
- Jack, the protagonist of BioShock, briefly disguised himself as a Rosie Big Daddy in order to follow Frank Fontaine's trail.
- Knuckles, a friend of Louie McGraff and inmate of Persephone, who was turned into a Big Daddy.
- Mark Meltzer, who was turned into a Rumbler Big Daddy after being captured by Sofia Lamb in BioShock 2.
- Subject Delta, the Alpha Series protagonist of BioShock 2.
- Augustus Sinclair, who was turned into the last Alpha Series, Subject Omega, after being captured by Sofia Lamb in BioShock 2.
- Subject Sigma, the Alpha Series protagonist of the Minerva's Den DLC story.
- For appearances of the Big Daddy outside the BioShock series, see BioShock in Other Media.
Burial at Sea
Behind the Scenes
- Even though Big Daddies can only be male (with the exception of the three female Multiplayer characters, which is not accounted for due to the inconsistency), there were at least two concepts for Big Daddy females: One of Robb Waters' Slug Bug concepts has the Big Daddy with a slug attached to the helmet and one version without a helmet, showing a violet-haired woman inside (the woman is actually a reused unrelated illustration by Robb Water, of a "60's Mama Bear" character). Opus Artz did a re-imagining pitch of the Vita-Chamber for BioShock 2, with an alternate generation of Big Daddies and Big Mommas.
- BioShock 2 created an issue in continuity between the original game and the later installment in the series as that it depicted Dr. Suchong as having been killed by a Big Daddy before the 1958 New Year's Eve Riots, and his colleague Gil Alexander taking over the Protector program after his death and successfully bonding Subject Delta to Eleanor Lamb before the same event. In order to keep BioShock 2 in the continuity of the series, both Alexander's work as told in the second game and Suchong's as seen in Burial at Sea - Episode 2 are considered here as happening in parallel, since Suchong's death is the only discrepancy between the background of those two stories.
- One of the early versions for the plot of BioShock 2 had Subject Delta responsible for Suchong's death, under the command of Sofia Lamb. She acted in order to give control of the Protector Program to Alexander, who was already faithful to her. Moreover, in this plot, the reason for Delta to travel to Persephone was not because of his mental restraining constraining him to remain close to his Little Sister, but to locate Sofia Lamb's ADAM supply she made from the new gatherings and without which he could not survive.
- According to BioShock 2 director Jordan Thomas: the series’ Big Daddies move slower when you aren’t facing them to prevent players from dying in utter confusion as to where that giant drill arm came from.
- Deco Devolution: The Art of BioShock 2
- Rapture Daily Post Article about Suchong: "Move over Brigid Tenenbaum! With his ever-growing reputation for sci-entific breakthrough, Dr. Yi Suchong may have stolen your title! From the innovative new, drinkable Plasmids, to the creation of the big daddies who built our city, Rapture’s leading medical researcher has been the mind behind it all."
- Need to Know Theater: The Big Daddy
- Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Protecting Little Ones
- Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Protector Smell
- Augustus Sinclair's Audio Diary: Sacrifices
- Gilbert Alexander's Audio Diary: A Father's Love
- Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Observation #33
- Jeremiah Fink's Voxophone: Table Scraps
- Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Imprinting Roadblocks
- BioShock 2 Multiplayer Loading Screen Quotes, rank 9 Rapture Standard quote
- Gilbert Alexander's Audio Diary: Big Sister
- There's Something in the Sea
- Gilbert Alexander's Audio Diary: The Rumbler
- Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Return
- Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Reversing ADAM Sickness
- Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Cheap Son of a Bitch
- Pablo Navarro's Audio Diary: Running Short on R-34s
- Louie McGraff's Audio Diary: Knuckles
- BioShock: Breaking the Mold in the BioShock iOS App
- BioShock 2 – Escaped Test Subject on Opus Artz Portfolio (Archived & Image)
- Game Developers Explain Some Of Their Favorite Ways To Trick The Player on Kotaku
|Enemies in BioShock||Thuggish Splicer · Leadhead Splicer · Nitro Splicer · Houdini Splicer · Spider Splicer||Bouncer · Rosie||Security Bot · Security Camera · Turret|
|Enemies in BioShock 2||Thuggish Splicer · Leadhead Splicer · Brute Splicer · Houdini Splicer · Spider Splicer||Big Sister · Bouncer · Rosie · Rumbler · Alpha Series · Lancer (Minerva's Den)||Security Bot · Security Camera · Turret · Mini-Turret|