- “This Fontaine fellow is somebody to watch. Once, he was just a menace, to be convicted and hung. But he always manages to be where the evidence isn't. He's the most dangerous type of hoodlum… the kind with vision.”
- ― Andrew Ryan[src]
Frank Fontaine is one of the primary antagonists in BioShock. He is a conman, criminal mastermind, the archenemy of Andrew Ryan, and the leader of the opposition in the power struggle which led to Rapture's collapse. He speaks with a coarse, thick Bronx accent.
Life on the SurfaceEdit
Frank lived in an orphanage at an early age, but he eventually ran away and found a job as a stage boy in a vaudeville theater. His three years of work in the theater gave him a lasting impression of how to influence an audience through acting and costumes. Frank was his real first name, but he used many different last names throughout his life, including Gorland, Barris, Wiston, Moskowitz and Wang. Only a few people knew Frank's real last name, one of them being a bruiser from the Bronx named Reggie who knew Frank from the old days.
At one point, Frank was investigated by the FBI in an effort to connect him with an interstate bookmaking operation. Frank switched to the last name "Gorland" soon after, even going so far as to get a forged birth certificate to support his new identity. Frank Gorland settled in New York, and set up a bookmaking business which operated out of the basement of a drug store he owned.
In 1946, Gorland conned a bar owner named Harv Merton into signing a contract with "Hudson Loans" to pay off gambling debts. When Merton failed to pay the interest on the loan, Gorland gained ownership of Merton's collateral, a bar in the dock district named "The Clanger." Gorland wanted the bar because it was a lucrative business, and it was the perfect place to overhear rumors about boxing bets in the city. The information he overheard while bartending gave Frank an added edge in his grifts.
Soon after he started bartending at the Clanger, he overheard two gangsters talking about a plan for an up-and-coming boxer, Steele, to lose a fixed fight for a betting payoff. Using the fake name "Lucio Fabrici", Gorland snuck in to talk to Steele before the fight and tricked the boxer into thinking that the mobsters' plans had changed. Steele then surprised the mobsters by winning instead of losing, and with all the bets against Steele, Gorland got a large payoff by betting on Steele's win.
While working in the bar, Gorland met a federal agent named Voss who had been involved in the interstate bookmaking investigation. Voss threatened to do a deep investigation of Frank's background if the grifter didn't help him by obtaining information. Voss was trying to find details about Andrew Ryan's "North Atlantic Project," and wanted Gorland to tip him off with anything that he might overhear in his bar. The mention of Ryan pouring his wealth into the project gained Gorland's interest. He saw it as an opportunity for a potentially lucrative grift.
Several days later, Gorland spoke to a drunken woman in his bar who claimed that her man Irving had died under mysterious circumstances while doing deep sea construction work for Ryan. Her indignant ramblings tipped him off about the involvement of Ryan's business, Seaworthy Construction. Days later, Gorland followed a pair of sailors down to Ryan's ship, the Olympian, in the dock district. Gorland tailed a deckhand as he was leaving and accosted him, pretending to be a federal agent. The frightened man revealed that Ryan's workers were laying the foundations for a city under the ocean in the North Atlantic. Investigating further, Gorland pretended to be a delivery man named "Bill Foster" bringing a shipment of canned goods to the Seaworthy Construction warehouse. An irate warehouse manager there gave him more details about Ryan's building project.
Hoping to gain more information, Gorland hired Reggie as "extra muscle" to help him interrogate Harv Merton. Under pressure, Merton tipped Gorland off about a smuggler named Frank Fontaine who was supplying Ryan's workers with fish. This Fontaine was the owner of "Fontaine Fisheries", a fishing fleet known for smuggling goods from Cuba to the United States. Gorland arranged a meeting with Fontaine at a bar on Staten Island. At the meeting, Gorland convinced the smuggler that Agent Voss was planning to frame him for smuggling drugs, and had already drawn up a warrant for his arrest. This frightened Fontaine enough that he was willing to sell Gorland his fleet in exchange for enough money to retire safely in Cuba. Two nights later, Gorland met Fontaine on one of his former boats for the final payment. Gorland had no intention of paying. Having already fired all of Fontaine's old crew, and with no one present as witness, except for his new loyal helmsman, Gorland subdued Fontaine and dumped him over the side, drowning him. From then on, Frank Gorland assumed the smuggler's identity as his own, becoming Frank Fontaine.
The new Frank Fontaine began sending flattering letters to Ryan with each shipment of fish his men delivered to Rapture. In these letters he claimed to admire Ryan's ideals, and asked to be allowed down into the city so that he could set up a fishing business with a fleet of modified submarines. In truth, Fontaine saw Ryan's utopian society as the perfect opportunity for a long con with a big payoff. In 1948, Ryan accepted Fontaine's request, and had Chief of Security Sullivan meet Fontaine in a boat to invite him down to the city. Fontaine brought some loyal men down with him, including Reggie and his first mate Peach Wilkins.
Life in RaptureEdit
Fontaine arrived in Rapture sometime in 1948. He soon expanded his income by creating a smuggling ring to bring high demand, contraband items into Rapture. Fontaine loved nothing more than the power of a good grift. He regularly disguised himself with various false identities to carry out crimes which would otherwise fail. One disguise he mentions to Jack after Ryan is killed: "Hell, once I was even a Chinaman for six months." Although he never spliced before the events of BioShock, he admits at one point that he had used cocaine and heroin.
In a chance encounter on Fontaine's fishing dock in Port Neptune, Brigid Tenenbaum observed the result of a sea slug's venom upon an injured hand of a worker. That sea slug produced raw ADAM, a substance with near miraculous medicinal properties. Tenenbaum went to Fontaine with a proposal that he fund research on the slugs, and he quickly saw the business possibilities of the endeavor. Fontaine set up an ADAM business, Fontaine Futuristics, employing Tenenbaum and Yi Suchong to research and develop Plasmids and Gene Tonics. Tenenbaum informed Fontaine that they required little girls to mass-produce ADAM. Fontaine created the Little Sister's Orphanage, a charity which was a front to get parents to willingly give up their children, who would then be turned into Little Sisters to generate ADAM. Taking inspiration from Sofia Lamb's appeal to the lower class, Fontaine created Fontaine's Home for the Poor, which provided for the destitute in Rapture's free market society. Fontaine used these charity angles to boost his public image in opposition to Ryan's, while at the same time using the unfortunates for medical research.
Andrew Ryan at first observed Fontaine's rise to power as proof of the opportunity for determined men to better themselves, exactly the purpose for which Rapture was built. Even when Fontaine's empire began to compete with his own, he merely admonished Fontaine's detractors, who complained of ADAM's side-effects, to "Offer a Better Product". When Ryan discovered the criminal arm of Fontaine's enterprises, he saw Fontaine's smuggling operations as a serious threat to Rapture, as such activity might reveal the city's location to surface-dwellers. Ryan instructed Security Chief Sullivan to put an end to the smuggling ring, employing increasingly severe measures to prove the connection to Frank Fontaine.
Facing growing pressure from Ryan, Fontaine engineered, as his back-up plan, an elaborate scheme to take control of Rapture. Secretly acquiring the unborn son of Ryan, he instructed Suchong to artificially age, brainwash, and train the child, Jack, creating an obedient assassin whom he sent to the surface as a sleeper agent.
On September 12, 1958, Fontaine was apparently killed in a shootout with Ryan's men. His death was faked, allowing Fontaine to escape punishment for his crimes, and giving Ryan and Rapture false hope that their nemesis was dead. Fontaine reemerged as "Atlas," a fisherman, proletariat hero, and family man. His original voice was now covered by a heavy Irish accent. Atlas characteristically charmed the masses pretending to be a humble freedom fighter, and by handing out supplies to the poor, telling the disillusioned what they wanted to hear. He channeled the growing discontent and disenfranchisement of the poorer citizens, setting the stage for the Civil War, which would soon tear Rapture apart. Atlas rebuilt his army of Splicers and released mayhem and destruction upon Rapture, terrorizing the populace, disrupting Raptures economy, and forcing Ryan into drastic war measures. Even without Fontaine Futuristics, Fontaine still managed to produce much sought after Plasmids, some in his illegal production lab hidden behind Joe's Green Groceries in Siren Alley.
Hoping for victory in seizing control of Rapture, Atlas eventually found himself trapped, with Ryan controlling the bathyspheres, and all the Splicers through a "Pheromone Control" system. With no other way out, Atlas activated his sleeper agent, Jack.
- Main article: BioShock
- “It's time to end this little masquerade. There ain't no Atlas, kid. Never was. Fella in my line a work takes on a variety of aliases. Hell, once I was even a Chinaman for six months. But, you've been a sport, so I guess I owe you a little honesty. The name's Frank Fontaine.”
- ― Atlas revealing his true identity[src]
For Jack, Atlas was a guide in a strange and dangerous environment. He was only a voice on the other end of a radio, except for the brief moment during Atlas' "family's" death. After Andrew Ryan's demise, Atlas reveals his true persona, the criminal Fontaine, and that his goal was not simply to control Rapture, but to use it and ADAM technology to extend his power to the Surface and become an industrial tycoon.
After Jack is freed from the effects of the WYK mind control and other conditioning, he finally comes face-to-face with Fontaine in Point Prometheus. Fontaine/Atlas now is spliced up, displaying inhuman strength by hurling a massive iron sculpture at Jack. He says that he had never tasted ADAM before then, but now cannot get enough. Fontaine avoids fighting Jack, barricading himself in the tower at Point Prometheus. He threatens to flood the entire city and with finding Tenenbaum's Sanctuary and tearing it apart, if Jack continues to pursue him. While hiding in Special Exhibits wing of the old Memorial Museum, Fontaine splices himself further, strapping himself into a machine that injects a massive amount of ADAM. Taunting Jack, he proclaims that no one can stop him, as he is too powerful.
Jack reaches Fontaine in his lair atop Rapture's highest building. The mob boss has spliced himself into a hulking, statuesque monster with three major Plasmid powers. Every time Fontaine returns to his machine after fighting and being damaged, Jack can extract the ADAM out of him with a Little Sister's needle, weakening him. Before Fontaine is fully drained, he disables Jack, but is ambushed and killed by a swarm of Little Sisters. They stab Fontaine repeatedly with their needles, taking the remaining ADAM from his body. Brigid Tenenbaum had previously explained that ADAM forces the body into dependency, with progressive mental and physical degeneration, and an accelerating need for more ADAM. In the end, deprived of his ADAM, Fontaine's body simply could not survive.
During the final battle, Fontaine will take one of three forms, and switches to the next once Jack stabs him with the ADAM needle the Little Sister gave him:
Form One: FireEdit
The first form Fontaine takes during the fight. While in Fire form, he will be immune to the effects of heat-based attacks and will throw giant fireballs. Like the ones cast by Houdini Splicers, these can be caught with Telekinesis and thrown back, but only do minimal damage. Occasionally, Fontaine will pause to slam the ground with his fists, sending a flaming shockwave in the player's direction.
Chemical thrower equipped with electric gel is one of the best options for fighting Fontaine in fire form, as it will deal serious damage while stunning Fontaine in the process.
Form Two: IceEdit
After Frank Fontaine's Fire form is defeated, he will then switch to ice-based attacks. His Ice form renders him immune to ice-based attacks, and he also throws orbs of ice at the player. These also can be caught and thrown, which have a small chance of freezing him for a second. Fontaine will also call Security Bots down on the player in this form. He is also capable of sending ice shockwaves at the player in this form.
Incinerate plasmid as well as the chemical thrower equipped with napalm would be the perfect choice for fighting Fontaine in ice form.
Form Three: LightningEdit
This is Fontaine's final and most powerful form. In Lightning form, he is immune to all electrical attacks, and fires electrical orbs and lightning shockwaves at the player at a much faster rate than before. He will also send a wave of assorted Splicers after the player. The orbs can be caught and thrown back with Telekinesis.
Preparing for the FightEdit
- While still in the Proving Grounds, grab the needle from the Little Sister to the right of the elevator. Do so before attempting anything else, as exiting the level may cause a glitch, in which the Little Sister won't be holding the needle anymore.
- Before saving, make sure all weapons are fully stocked up on ammunition. If low on ammo and cash, kill and search Splicers and Big Daddies in the previous levels as needed.
- Select the following Plasmids: Security Bullseye, Target Dummy, Incinerate!, Winter Blast (if purchased) and Telekinesis.
- Select anti-personnel ammunition for the Pistol and the Machine Gun, Electric Buck for the Shotgun, Proximity Mines for the Grenade Launcher, Electric Gel for the Chemical Thrower and Trap Bolts for the Crossbow.
- Select Human Inferno 1&2, Electric Flesh, Electric Flesh 2 and both Frozen Field tonics. Replace everything else with combat-oriented Gene Tonics (Scrounger and Natural Camouflage, for example, won't be of any use whereas the Armored Shell Tonics will help much more).
- Save before entering the elevator and go inside.
- While Fontaine's in the ADAM Inducer Device, set traps and hack the Health Station. He'll only get out of it once the player sticks him with the needle, which gives one ample time to prepare the arena. After initiating the battle, Fontaine will leave the Inducer once enough time has passed while retaining the form he was currently in.
- Bloodlust is a good tonic to use while he's in the harness, so swing your Wrench at him a few times for a boost.
- Pressure gas tanks.
- Steel drums.
- Gasoline on the floor in random places.
- Proximity Mines.
- Trap Bolts.
- Water pool at the back wall (with Electric Buck)
- When Fontaine knocks Jack down and jumps to the floor, place Proximity Mines and pressure tanks right at the bottom of the stairs in front of Fontaine.
- Set Proximity Mines and gas cans near any gasoline, and be certain to avoid those areas when fighting Fontaine afterwards.
- Set Trap Bolts at the sides of the arena to stop any incoming Splicers.
- After setting the traps, switch from Proximity Mines to Heat-Seeking RPGs and use Incendiary Bolts for the Crossbow.
- Go and stick Fontaine with the needle. He'll get out and knock Jack back to the elevator. If the player has set their traps correctly, he'll lose all of his health after jumping down the stairs.
- If he's still alive, hit him with Electric Buck from the Shotgun and RPG's from the Grenade Launcher. Dodge his charges but don't mind his elemental attacks (unless one hasn't equipped Walking Inferno).
- Once he's down, heal if necessary and stick him again. The moment one hears incoming Security Bots, cast Security Bullseye on Fontaine. Afterwards, switch to Incinerate! and set him on fire.
- Use all of the Chemical Thrower's Electric Gel on him if necessary. If out of ammo, finish him off with Incendiary Bolts from the Crossbow, or use Telekinesis to throw his elemental attacks back at him. Little Sisters will drop ammo next to their Little Sister Vents, which can be picked up safely.
- Heal again and stick him one last time with the ADAM needle. Once more Bots start coming in, cast Security Bullseye on him again.
- Use the Grenade Launcher and the Crossbow against him. Freeze him with Winter Blast if one finds him hard to hit. If one has Electric Flesh 2, his electrical attacks won't deal any damage but his charges will. Use Target Dummy if attacked.
- Stick Fontaine with the needle for one last time, and enjoy the final cutscene.
- Main article: BioShock 2
Even though Frank Fontaine is dead, his presence is still felt throughout Rapture. His business headquarters Fontaine Futuristics is present as a level in BioShock 2, and he features in several audio diaries that Subject Delta finds in his journey. The player is able to explore Fontaine's office, where there is an audio diary named Goodbye to Fontaine which reveals his plans to adopt his Atlas persona.
In his office at the Fontaine Futuristics building, there is a large portrait on the wall of either Fontaine standing next to a woman and a small boy or Fontaine's parents with a young Frank Fontaine. The picture is entitled "The Fontaine Family," but the portrait was a fabrication (the people depicted in the painting, besides Fontaine, do not exist), to make Frank Fontaine more believable, due to him being a sham in reality.
BioShock 2 MultiplayerEdit
- Main article: BioShock 2 Multiplayer
Fontaine's penthouse suite can be found in the Multiplayer version of Mercury Suites. He is also mentioned several times in the loading screens by the Editor of the Rapture Standard and other characters, including Sullivan and Bill McDonagh.
- Main article: Minerva's Den
Fontaine is mentioned in various audio diaries in this story-driven DLC. It is revealed through these recordings that Reed Wahl of Rapture Central Computing, seeking to make his partner Charles Milton Porter disappear and take sole control of The Thinker, took advantage of the brewing conflict between Ryan and Fontaine and manufactured a tape implicating Porter to be working for the mobster, which he handed over to Ryan's police force. This resulted in Porter's arrest and imprisonment in Persephone, where he was subsequently transformed into an Alpha Series Big Daddy.
Burial at Sea - Episode 1Edit
In the BioShock Infinite downloadable content, Burial at Sea - Episode 1, Fontaine is the subject of heated discussion among the citizens of Rapture even as they ring in the New Year. He is the focus of the Need to Know Theater film "Taking the Taint Out of Fontaine", which condemns his criminal business practices, explains his recent death, and the reason Ryan is now running his company, Fontaine Futuristics. The short features a view of Fontaine's apparent corpse after the gunfight with Rapture Security.
The majority of the game takes place in Frank Fontaine's department store. It is disclosed that Fontaine has written at least one book: Don't Let the Bastards See You Sweat, which is a best-selling novel at the Bookstore in the store's Housewares Department.
Burial at Sea - Episode 2Edit
Not until Burial at Sea - Episode 2 is it learned that Fontaine, disguised as Atlas, was incarcerated in his Department Store with many of his former employees captured after the Neptune's Bounty Shootout. The inmates there found Elizabeth unconscious and captured Sally. Atlas ordered his men to kill Elizabeth, but she convinced him she could get them all back to Rapture, and struck a bargain for her life and for Sally. Atlas was skeptical, but agreed when she claimed to be Suchong's lab assistant. He gave her a radio so he could keep in contact.
While exploring the Manta Ray Lounge, Elizabeth can uncover Fontaine's secret panic room, which contained many of his disguises, including a Chinese male's disguise (a point to his claim of being "a Chinaman for six months").
In the audio logs, Fontaine is revealed to be an intelligent and resourceful criminal, operating a band of smugglers within Rapture, and repeatedly managing to be "where the evidence isn't". He takes advantage of Rapture's virtually non-existant police force and Laissez-faire environment. Fontaine is shown to be a ruthless, exploitative and manipulative sociopath, who much of Rapture's criminal underworld was terrified of. He controlled his smugglers and gang members through fear and coercion.
Fontaine's outstanding trait within the games is being an accomplished actor, capable of adopting personalities and accents almost flawlessly. When Fontaine is disguised as Atlas, Jack doesn't pick up on the deception, even after hearing Fontaine's voice on audio logs. Fontaine convincingly improvised in situations around him without giving himself away. In Burial at Sea - Episode 2, except for when he is really pushed over the edge, he maintains his "Atlas" character throughout the storyline.
Burial at Sea - Episode 2Edit
The following are phrases that Frank Fontaine says in BioShock. The name of the source audio file is listed when known.
- "All right, all right. You lookin' to slug it out? I'm game. But I got all 'the ADAM in the city, pal, and I ain't shy about usin' it. And now, I'm 'jake to take her out for a spin."
- "The mug's right behind me! I don't even want to see him walkin'!"
- "Last chance, kid. You pack it in now, and I'll leave this dump to you and Frau Kraut. You keep on comin', and Rapture's a fish tank."
- "Come on now, kid. You wanna get serious?"
- "You got nothin' but deuces and threes, kid!"
- "You're busto, you hear me? I'm just gettin' jinx, and you're spittin' nickles."
- "Come on! Make a move if you're gonna make it."
- "I got ADAM flowin' into me, kid. You think you got power? You're 20 watts and I'm the lights of Broadway!"
- "You think you can take me down? Who do you think it was who built you in the first place?"
- "When I'm done with you, I'm comin' for Mother Goose and all the little eggs."
Attacking in GeneralEdit
- "You little nothing!"
- "Here it is!"
- "You're busto!"
- "Come and get it, mook!"
- "I'll put you down!"
- "I'll get ya!"
- "it's the double-cross, ha?"
- "That cuts it scrub!"
- "You double-cross me?!"
Sees the Player FleeingEdit
- "Get back here!"
- "I'm not finished!"
- "You think it will be that easy?"
Lost Sight of the PlayerEdit
- "Come on!"
- "Is that all you got?"
- "I'm ready for you!"
- "Wait a minute… then, I'm gonna cut you into bits."
- "I paid good money for you… and this is what I get?"
- "You think you gotta shot of this? I'm barely gettin' started!"
- "Catch my breath… and, I'm gonna bury you. Oh, then, little eggs."
- "You think I'm alone in this world? I got more than enough mugs ta watch my back while I recharge."
- "I had you built! I sent you topside! I called you back, showed you what you was, what you was capable of! Even that life you thought you had, that was something I dreamed up and had tattooed inside your head. Now, if you don't call that family, I don't know what is. And now…"
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Fontaine, like several of the main characters, exhibits influences from Ayn Rand. The alias Atlas is clearly a reference to Rand's magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. Similarly, the name "Fontaine" is most likely derived from the title of Ayn Rand's second most popular novel The Fountainhead. According to Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, the goal of a human being is rational self-interest: living for one's own happiness, success, and creativity, with as little interference as possible. However, Fontaine is manipulative, duping the public for his own gain and ultimately dooming them to mutation, insanity and death. These traits are contrary to Rand's ethos, and he casts doubt even upon Objectivism itself in his correct observation that not everyone in Rapture can become wealthy and famous (in one Audio Diary, where he pointed out the flaw of filling Rapture with what Andrew Ryan considered to be the best examples of humanity - even in such a society "someone had to scrub the toilets").
- The name also resembles one of the characters' from System Shock 2, Prefontaine, whose post-mortem audio logs made while he was being digested by The Many (the game's main antagonist faction) were useful to the player.
- Frank Fontaine's role in BioShock mirrors that of SHODAN's in System Shock 2. Just like Fontaine used an alias, Atlas, to guide the player for his personal gains until no longer needed, SHODAN used the alias of the deceased Dr. Janice Polito for a similar cause.
- In his final form, Fontaine bears resemblance to Atlas, whose namesake is also used in Rand's novel as well as Fontaine's alias.
- Ken Levine has stated that the character of Frank Fontaine was partly inspired by Keyser Söze from the film "The Usual Suspects". In the film, Keyser Söze is a crime lord whom every criminal is afraid of and is described as a "boogeyman" like Fontaine is in Rapture. The scene where the police officer looks at the bulletin board and figures out who Keyser Söze actually is, also inspired the "Would You Kindly" board in Ryan's office.
- Greg Baldwin, the voice actor of Frank Fontaine, stated in an interview that he was originally asked to speak the part of Atlas as well, and would have done it in an American southern accent. However, the developers chose to switch to an Irish voice for Atlas, and they hired a separate voice actor (Karl Hanover) to record the lines for Atlas.
- Fontaine uses a recycled Splicer model in BioShock before his change in the final level, so he shows ADAM-induced deformities even though he tells Jack that he has never spliced before. The player never sees Atlas/Fontaine up close, so this distortion is meant to go unnoticed.
- In BioShock: The Collection Fontaine/Atlas uses an unmodified Waders model and skin.
- Fontaine, in his spliced form, is one of the only three characters to have a model of his own in the first game, the other two being Sander Cohen and Andrew Ryan.
- ↑ New York dialect, Bronx accent, on Wikipedia
- ↑ BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 2
- ↑ BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 3
- ↑ BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 4
- ↑ BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 6
- ↑ Radio message: "A big investment"
- ↑ Radio Message in Rapture Central Control
- ↑ Fontaine's secret office in the Manta Ray Lounge
- ↑ Radio Messages: Proving Grounds#8. Fontaine - Mother's Milk: "nose candy and floor polish" (slang for cocaine and heroin)
- ↑ Frank Fontaine's Audio Diary: An Empty Niche
- ↑ Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Baby Status
- ↑ Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Mind Control Test
- ↑ Andrew Ryan's Audio Diary: Desperate Times
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Dean Tate's Portfolio
- ↑ Frank Fontaine's Audio Diary: Product Recall
- ↑ Ayn Rand on Wikipedia
- ↑ Atlas Shrugged on Wikipedia
- ↑ The Usual Suspects on Wikipedia
- ↑ Ken Levine on BioShock: The Spoiler Interview at shacknews.com
- ↑ The Fukerton’s Exclusive interview with the voice of Frank Fontaine: Greg Baldwin on YouTube
- ↑ "BioShock’s Atlas Speaks. An Interview With Karl Hanover" article at TheGamingLiberty.com