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The health meter after obtaining the shield.

The Shield is a gameplay mechanic that was first seen in the game BioShock Infinite. The shield is composed of a magnetic-repulsive field, that increases the amount of damage that Booker DeWitt can take before succumbing to an injury.

The shield allows Booker to take damage without affecting his actual health. The effect lasts until the shield is depleted, after which, any damage is subtracted directly from Booker's health bar. 


During gameplay, the shield is shown as a yellow bar that is located directly above the health bar. With the exception of color and the respective icons (the shield bar is symbolized by a shield, the health bar by a heart) the shield bar is identical to the health bar.

When the shield is active, all damage taken is absorbed directly by the shield. Any damage the shield takes manifests in the form of yellow cracks all over the player's screen. The closer the shield is to breaking, the more defined the cracks become. Once the shield has taken enough damage, it will "break," indicated by the sound of a pane of "glass" shattering (the sound and visual effects mimic glass, though the sound and shattering effective are a result of the shield itself).

Note that the shield does not negate damage from a single attack beyond its threshold. In other words, a massive attack can deplete the shield AS WELL as subtracting damage from Booker's health. For example, if Booker's shield is low and a Handyman or explosive hits him, the shield will break AND Booker will take health damage as well.

If the player remains in cover or manages to avoid damage for 5 seconds, the shield begins to recharge, taking an additional 1-2 seconds to reach its maximum charge. The visual effect of the shield recharging is the opposite of the shield breaking: bright yellow cracks form over the screen and gradually get dimmer until they fade away, as the shield recharges. 

BioShock Infinite[]

BI Rosalind FirstShield

Rosalind offers a shield Infusion.

Main article: BioShock Infinite

Booker receives the shield after arriving at The Blue Ribbon restaurant. Upon entering, he finds the only occupants to be none other than Rosalind and Robert Lutece. Rosalind offers Booker a yellow phial on the tray she is holding as an "aperitif." Upon consuming it, the shield harmlessly makes an initial charge to full capacity.

After imbibing the contents of the phial, Booker inquires as to what just happened, which prompts two responses. The first of which is a comically serious statement from Rosalind voicing her incredulity that it "didn't kill [Booker]." The second response is a more serious one from Robert, who states that "… A magnetic-repulsive shield around one's body can come in handy."

Clash in the Clouds[]

CIC First Shield

The Shield Infusion in Clash in the Clouds.

Main article: Clash in the Clouds

In the downloadable content Clash in the Clouds, a Shield Infusion can be found on the counter in the Columbian Archeological Society. Once it's picked up, the player gains the protective shield.

Burial at Sea - Episode 1[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1

In the downloadable content Burial at Sea - Episode 1, Booker's shield does not appear until after his meeting with Sander Cohen at the artist's nightclub. Like his pistol, it's possible he had it all along and it simply didn't appear while he was on Market Street and High Street. It wasn't until Booker had a reason to use it in Fontaine's Department Store that it manifested.


Behind The Scenes[]

  • In an interview Ken Levine stated that because Columbia had many large open spaces, the player would take damage from an enemy they had not seen yet. The shield would limit the amount of permanent damage taken from attacks by unseen enemies and give the player time to find them.[1]