- “Why do they wear those masks? Maybe there's a part of them that remembers how they used to be, how they used to look. And they're ashamed.”
- ― Atlas[src]
Masks are important items in the narrative of the BioShock series. Most Splicers encountered wear masks to cover the severe facial deformities they've experienced from Splicing.
As Plasmids became more prevalent in Rapture, so too did ADAM abuse. More and more people began to experience the harsh side effects of Splicing, the most visible of which are lesions, tumors and facial deformations. In an attempt to save face, affected citizens sought to cover their disfigurement via surgery or other means. The theme chosen for the 1958 New Year celebration was a masquerade ball, and thousands of ornate animal-themed masks were created in the Venetian style for the event and distributed throughout the city to the revelers.
During and after the Rapture Civil War, when Splicing intensified in magnitude, masks continued to be worn by an increasingly desperate populace, looking to hide their worsening deformations and war scars. The most prevalent mask seen is the Rabbit Mask.
- Main article: BioShock
Various masks are worn by the Splicers to hide their facial deformities. Atlas even mentions this as Jack enters Worley Winery. Despite the year-long fighting, the masks continue to be in very good shape. The player can remove Splicer's masks using Telekinesis and hurl them at enemies for damage.
- Bird Mask
- Butterfly Mask
- Cat Mask
- Owl Mask
- Rabbit Mask
- Spider Mask
All Dr. Grossman model Splicers wear a surgical mask, but it's a part of the model's texture and thus cannot be removed or interacted with like the other masks.
Some of the hats worn by Lady Smith model Splicers have a dark veil attached which covers her face.
In Fort Frolic, Sander Cohen wears a special black Rabbit mask with gold filigree. His disciples (Kyle Fitzpatrick, Hector Rodriguez, Martin Finnegan, and Silas Cobb) wear distinct Bird masks with yellow beaks, cyan facial feathers, and magenta crown feathers.
There's Something in the SeaEdit
- Main article: There's Something in the Sea
Mark Meltzer found a crate of masks while searching through Orrin Oscar Lutwidge's basement and needed help to analyse them. With the help of Speedy Brothers Telegrams, he sent masks to people who had contacted him about his studies. The people that received the masks were fans that sent mail to Meltzer's P.O. Box during the viral advertising of There's Something in the Sea.
- Main article: BioShock 2
Eight years after the events of BioShock, masks are still worn by Splicers to hide their even more deformed faces. The masks have taken severe damage with time, so cheaper ones have been used to replace them. Unlike in the first game, these masks cannot be removed using Telekinesis, but they will fall off when the Splicer dies.
Some of masks are seen in pristine condition in the opening cinematic and through the eyes of a Little Sister.
- Butterfly Mask. Similar to the one from BioShock only green, damaged, and slightly smaller.
- Cat Mask. Similar to the one from BioShock only black, damaged, and slightly smaller.
- Grinning Devil Mask. A black and white mask with 1/3 of the face broken off.
- Plague Doctor Mask.
- The Rapture Family Mask. These "moretta" / "servetta muta" style masks are plain white with a blue butterfly painted on them.
- Rabbit Mask. Identical to the one from BioShock except large pieces have broken off from the face and left ear. The filigree is now gold instead of grey.
- Red Feathered Mask. Seen on many upper class citizens during the game's opening cinematic.
- Welding Mask.
BioShock 2 MultiplayerEdit
- Main article: BioShock 2 Multiplayer
Masks are used in BioShock 2 Multiplayer by the playable Splicers engaging in the Sinclair Solutions Home Consumer Rewards Program. The player's Character starts off able to select from just a few masks, but earn access to more by ranking up. There are 18 different masks:
- Rabbit: Avalible from the start.
- Goat: Avalible from the start.
- Pink Feather: Avalible from the start.
- Eagle: Unlocked at Rank 10.
- Tragic Comedy: Unlocked at Rank 10.
- Moon: Unlocked at Rank 20.
- Indigo Feather: Unlocked at Rank 20.
- Peacock Feather: Unlocked at Rank 30.
- Sun God: Unlocked at Rank 30.
- Octopus: Unlocked at Rank 40.
- Demon: Unlocked at Rank 40.
- Fish: DLC.
- Crab: DLC.
- Starfish: Unlocked at Rank 41.
- Seahorse: Unlocked at Rank 45.
- Bucket: Unlocked at Rank 50.
- Fancy Rabbit: Unlocked once Rebirth is used.
- Fancy Bucket: Unlocked at Rank 50.
Unique Cosmetic OptionsEdit
Four of the multiplayer characters have unique cosmetic options that are not masks but are labeled as them. Concept art reveals that Danny Wilkins would have had a traditional Football helmet but it was cut.
- Jacob Norris - Goggles
- Naledi Atkins - Pilot Helmet
- Suresh Sheti - Turban
- Zigo d’Acosta - Fisherman's Hat
BioShock & BioShock 2 Downloadable ContentEdit
Downloadable content for BioShock and BioShock 2 includes the Challenge Rooms, The Protector Trials, and Minerva's Den. Most of the masks seen in the original games also appear in these downloadable content games as well.
In the Challenge Rooms mission A Shocking Turn of Events, the "Fish Mask" originally designed but not present in BioShock can be found. It is seen sitting on a counter on the second floor of Rapture's Grand Carnival. The Rapture Metro Pack for Bioshock 2 Multiplayer includes seven new masks: the Fancy Rabbit, the Crab, the Fish, the Starfish, the Seahorse, the Bucket, and the Golden Bucket.
- Main article: BioShock Infinite
Some of the soldiers in Columbia wear face guards to cover their faces. The male ones have goggles with eyes that glow, while the females wear porcelain masks with glowing eyes and metallic masks in the likeness of the Statue of Liberty. Unlike all other games in the BioShock series, the masks in Infinite are purely for protection or to intimidate opponents, rather than hiding unsightly deformities.
Burial at Sea - Episode 1Edit
- Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1
For Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth to gain entrance to Cohen's, they must first retrieve a special Invitation Mask given out to the club's sponsors Rapture Records, The Golden Rule, and The Artist's Struggle to get in to meet with Sander Cohen.
- Advertisements. These masks are simply the torn faces from various advertisements around Fontaine's, with eye holes cut out.
- Crates. These masks work as both a means to hide the Splicers deformity and as an impromptu helmet. The two crates used are for Hop-Up Soda and Circus of Values.
- Paper Mâché. The female Splicers have made these masks using newspapers and make up, which can cover just the left, or both of their eyes.
Burial at Sea - Episode 2 Edit
- Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 2
The masks make a return in this episode as well, worn by the Splicers trapped in Fontaine's and later back in the city during the start of the war, on followers of Atlas who are starting to suffer deformities. A single black Bunny Mask is worn by one of Atlas' followers and a white one on a statue in one of Sander Cohen's artworks, Regardèrent et Furent Observés.
- Crates for the Child Pacification Bolts are worn as masks by some male prisoners during Elizabeth's journey.
- Porcelain face. Likely taken from a mannequin and painted with makeup, this mask is heavily cracked. One version appears to resemble a woman, with two eye holes broken out, while the second resembles a man with a moustache, its right eye still present.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Before the idea of the New Years masquerade party was thought up, the splicers would have worn simple, crude masks, made from pieces of metal and fabric with holes punched through them.
- Concept art from BioShock: Breaking the Mold reveals that Pigskin model Splicers were originally planned to wear face guard.
- Early promotional images reveal that masks in BioShock were originally going to be colorful. In the end, only the ones worn by Sander Cohen and his confidants are colored.
- A fish mask, seen in concept art, hangs as a piece of decoration at the Kashmir Restaurant in BioShock and appears as a normal mask in the Challenge Rooms location Rapture's Grand Carnival in A Shocking Turn of Events. None of the Splicers ever wear this model. A bat mask is also seen in concept art (Seen in the gallery above), but never in-game.
- In BioShock: The Collection, the two fish masks featured in the game has been given a red/yellow color scheme.
- The bird mask from BioShock, with its long, exaggerated beak, is based off the Venetian "medico della peste" or "plague doctor" mask. The black mask from BioShock 2 is a more classical version of this mask.
- The dancers outside of Cohen's club all wear the same black rabbit mask with gold filigree worn by Cohen himself in BioShock. Some of the guests inside the club also wear this mask.
- Concept art for the female prisoners at Fontaine's show two more designs for the Paper Mâché masks. One that covered the right eye, and one that was worn like a dust mask. Since none of the models have serious deformities on those parts of their faces, the designs were never used.