- “The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…”
- ― R. Lutece, Barriers to Trans-Dimensional Travel, 1889[src]
Robert Lutece is a quantum physicist in BioShock Infinite. Throughout the game, Robert and his female counterpart Rosalind escort Booker DeWitt to and across the city of Columbia, offering him aid. Though the Luteces' actions mainly help Booker, they once aided Zachary Hale Comstock, supplying him with the technology necessary for the creation of Columbia.
Robert Lutece is a pioneer in the field of quantum physics, belonging to the same reality as a Booker DeWitt. He was contacted by Rosalind Lutece, his female counterpart from an alternate reality and "sister," after she discovered a way to mechanically engineer "Tears" in her world and across multiple universes. The two then correspondingly opened a Tear between their realities so they could meet face to face. They eventually became agents for Zachary Hale Comstock, developing technology to aid in Comstock's development of Columbia.
However, the use of their technology caused Comstock's body to deteriorate, leading to his sterility. Because of this, Lady Comstock was unable to bear a child. Comstock was certain that Columbia would only prosper if he had an appropriate heir. Therefore, he tasked the Lutece twins to use their Tear machine to find him a child, which they did, bringing him Elizabeth.
As the Lutece twins continued to experiment with Tears, they foresaw Comstock's future with his efforts to guide Elizabeth into leading Columbia and the resulting destruction of New York City several decades later. Realizing their mistakes in orchestrating Elizabeth's fate, Robert gives Rosalind an ultimatum: he would part company with her if she was not willing to help him undo what they had done, and return Elizabeth to her original universe.
Uncovering the twins' plot, Comstock assigned Jeremiah Fink to sabotage their Tear-manipulation machine with the two inside. This was accomplished on October 31st, 1909, and the twins were believed to be dead. The real result was that they now existed across all of space and time, which allowed them to appear wherever and whenever they wanted. Rosalind was content with this state, as she could stay together with her "brother" free of restraint from life, death and all divided barriers of possibility. However, Robert was still not satisfied with the unresolved matter of Elizabeth's fate. Their circumstances made the task much more difficult, as they risked disrupting realities even further if they directly interfered, now that they were thought to be deceased. Robert then proposed that for their unfinished business to be resolved, they must bring Booker DeWitt to Comstock's universe to retrieve his daughter. Rosalind was opposed to the idea, but gave in once Robert gave her an ultimatum: help him reunite Elizabeth and Booker, or he would leave her.
- Main article: BioShock Infinite
The twins take Booker DeWitt to a Lighthouse, and provide him with a box holding information and supplies related to his "job" to clear his "debts."
Their actions do not go unnoticed. Comstock becomes aware of Booker's arrival and attempts to fend him off with every resource available to him. The Luteces continue to assist and guide Booker, using their ability to appear to every Booker that attempts to free Elizabeth in every reality.
After Booker and Elizabeth destroy the Siphon, they realize the Luteces' role in Elizabeth's history. Comstock tasked Robert with obtaining Booker DeWitt's infant daughter, Anna, in return for absolving Booker of his significant debts. Booker initially agreed, but changed his mind and tried to get her back. Robert withdrew through the portal, but Elizabeth's pinky finger was caught, severing it.
Clash in the Clouds
- Main article: Clash in the Clouds
Robert's character model can be unlocked in The Columbian Archeological Society's museum. When both Robert's and Rosalind's models are unlocked, a Tear will appear, giving the player access to the Lutece Labs, where five new Voxophones can be obtained, recorded by Rosalind Lutece.
Burial at Sea - Episode 1
- Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1
After the fight with the Big Daddy, Comstock remembers everything from his past life: In one universe, when Comstock tries to kidnap Anna DeWitt through a Tear with the help of the Luteces, Anna loses her head instead of her little finger. This event caused Comstock to fall into a deep depression, to the point where he asked the Luteces to open a Tear to a place where Anna DeWitt never existed. That place was Rapture. As Elizabeth confronts him, the Luteces reappear again, taunting him about his choices, just before Comstock gets impaled by a drill.
Burial at Sea - Episode 2
- Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 2
Directly after Comstock is killed, the raging Big Daddy turns its attention to Elizabeth. With no time to react, Elizabeth is killed by the Bouncer. Due to her unique abilities, Elizabeth is given a choice to return to Rapture, to save the little girl Sally. She is transported to the Lighthouse, where she will continue her journey, in a row boat by the Lutece "twins." They warn her about what's going to happen. As they drop her off, they drift away into the darkness, singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
Later on, Elizabeth is forced to travel back to Columbia via a Tear from Rapture. While climbing through an Air Vent, she passes next to the room where Jeremiah Fink and his son were held hostage by Daisy Fitzroy, during the Vox Populi's assault on the Factory. She overhears Daisy in counsel with the Luteces. Daisy offers her gratitude for what the Luteces have done to get the revolution against Comstock and the Founders in motion, but flat out refuses to take the life of Fink's son along with his father's. The Luteces correct Daisy, meaning that she misunderstood their agreement; they never said that she must hurt the child or that she will be the one that takes down Comstock, meaning that she has to die for her revolution. Daisy is unsure but the Luteces tell her that the future she envisions is possible if she makes the right choice. The Luteces then explain that a girl is coming and that in order to change the world, she must leave a woman, and then asks: "What makes the difference between a girl and a woman?" Daisy answers with "blood," Daisy then asks them how, and they tell her to give the girl no choice. After the conversation, the light flickers and the Luteces disappear.
The episode reveals that the Luteces had the choice to go back to their past lives, just like Elizabeth did, but the risk of losing their powers to explore the universe was too great, so they decided to stay as they are. If Elizabeth is killed during the episode, the Luteces will occasionally narrate under the loading screen, commenting on Elizabeth, Atlas, and Suchong. It is unknown what happened to the Luteces after this and the end of Burial at Sea; it is possible that they either stopped existing or they are still somewhere out there, exploring the multiverse.
Unlike the gameplay of its predecessors (and indeed the main game itself), if the player dies as Elizabeth, she will not respawn or get revived. Instead, the player resumes from the last saved point in their game. The loading screen consists of various locations within Columbia and Rapture, with either ambiance and music playing in the background, various audio diaries/voxophones, or several quotes and banter between the Lutece Twins regarding the various characters of Rapture including Elizabeth and her choices.
- Robert: "I imagine you view this as vindication of your theory."
- Rosalind: "I take no joy in her failure."
- Robert: "One must give her an "A" for effort…"
- Rosalind: "But an "F" on results."
- Robert: "You give her no credit for good intention?"
- Rosalind: "The Universe does not grade on a curve. It's strictly pass/fail."
- Robert: "Surely it's better to have died trying."
- Rosalind: "Better trying not to die."
- Robert: "And what now becomes of the girl?"
- Rosalind: "A burial at sea I suppose."
- Robert: "I was referring to the child."
- Rosalind: "Why ask questions you don't wish to hear the answer to?"
- Robert: "You mean…"
- Rosalind: "Enslavement, exploitation, extermination."
- Robert: "There must be some hope for her."
- Rosalind: "If it helps you to believe so brother, then I shall not be the one to disillusion you."
- Rosalind: "Though there's little to like in this Atlas fellow, one must admire the lilt in his brogue."
- Robert: "I do commend this recent effort of yours to find the good in people."
- Rosalind: "Sadly, it's all a lie."
- Robert: "The effort?"
- Rosalind: "The accent."
- Robert: "I don't suppose there's much about the man that's authentic."
- Rosalind: "He's authentically homicidal."
- Robert: "And you view this as a positive?"
- Rosalind: "Well, one has to start somewhere."
- Yi Suchong
- Rosalind: "A disagreeable fellow, this Suchong."
- Robert: "That's surprising, I'd imagine he'd be right up your street."
- Rosalind: "Hmph. I feel dirty sharing a universe with the man."
- Robert: "How poorly we see our own traits in others."
- Rosalind: "What do you mean?"
- Robert: "You both see the world through a lens of science."
- Rosalind: "And what's wrong with that?"
- Robert: "Ask young Ms. Comstock."
- Rosalind: "I would, but I don't suppose she's in any position to answer."
- End of the Line
- Robert: "She's gone for good now."
- Rosalind: "She knew her ticket to Rapture was a one-way proposition."
- Robert: "You can warn people not to collapse a quantum superposition but do they ever really listen?"
- Rosalind: "So ends the DeWitt- Comstock line."
- Robert: "Don't let your grief overwhelm you, sister."
- Rosalind: "One could believe a mission is doomed to failure… and wish sincerely that it wasn't. Hopes, like quantum superpositions, have a tendency to collapse."
Much like his "sister", Robert behaves and talks in a very monotone, sardonic, and eloquent way. He and Rosalind like to perform several experiments, presenting Booker with choices which they attempt to predict the outcomes of. Robert frequently bets against Rosalind, and wins most of the time. Unlike his counterpart, however, Robert is not a fatalist, often attempting to apply a humane angle to Rosalind's purely scientific perspective. Rosalind describes this by saying that where she sees King Lear, Robert sees only a blank page.
Concept Art and Models
Behind the Scenes
- The Lutece siblings share similarities with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, in their play with logic, probability, and language. The coin-tossing and the improbable outcome of numerous "heads" in a row is a central theme to the play, used to indicate a constant in different universes (the count of heads "122" also appears in the combination of bells at the lighthouse). This may also indicate the number of Booker's attempts to save Elizabeth.
- "Lutèce" is the French word for Lutetia, the name of an ancient Roman city that stood where modern-day Paris stands now. Paris is mentioned several times in BioShock Infinite, as the city that Elizabeth desperately wishes to go to after escaping Columbia.
- After receiving the telegram from Rosalind Lutece, walk towards the telescope to the left. After viewing it, look down towards the end of the street near the trash can and Robert Lutece can be seen juggling. After exiting the telescope, the Lutece twins disappear.
- At one point in the game, Robert can be seen "painting" Rosalind, however, when the player looks upon the canvas, it turns out to be a portrait of himself.
- This is a subtle reference to the fact that Rosalind and Robert are indeed the same person, with the only difference being of one chromosome.
- The Luteces' role is very similar to that of Brigid Tenenbaum from BioShock. Both were scientists like the latter; both also go through great lengths to assist Booker in the hopes of undoing their mistakes (similar to Tenenbaum's assistance of Jack in the hopes of saving the Little Sisters). Lutece and Tenenbaum made their scientific breakthroughs (Tears, ADAM) for good purpose, but in the end, brought both cities' downfall.
- Both Robert & Rosalind Lutece won the title as "Best Character of the Year" at the VGX 2013 Awards. Irrational Games made two videos with the characters' reaction, first to their nomination and then after winning.
- The motion capturing for Robert Lutece was done by Ray Carbonel.
- Robert Lutece's appearance is largely based on "The Arrow Collar Man" style icon.
- Rosalind Lutece's Voxophone: On the Entropy of Genes
- Zachary Hale Comstock Voxophone: A Broken Circle
- Rosalind Lutece's Voxophone: A Theory on Our "Death"
- Rosalind Lutece's Voxophone: An Ultimatum
- "The Lutece Twins are the winners of 2013's Character of the Year"
- The Nomination Video
- The Acceptance Video
- BioShock Infinite Credits
- INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Claire Hummel (Concept Artist, BioShock Infinite) on Alternative Magazine Online