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Jack Ryan
Jack security

Jack's security image
Game series BioShock
First game BioShock (2008)
Voiced by Nate Wells

Jack Ryan [1] is the protagonist of BioShock, whom the player controls throughout the game. He is a young Caucasian male and prior to his unwilling arrival in Rapture, he was a passenger on an airplane that crashed near the lighthouse that provided entry to the underwater city. During his journey through Rapture, he comes across a number of various gene altering substances, known as plasmids, that he uses to empower and protect himself. His face can be seen on two security photos which lie on the desk in the child acceleration project status room in Rapture Central Control desk.

Shortly after the middle of the game, it is revealed that Jack is the illegitimate son of Andrew Ryan and Jasmine Jolene. This fact and other Audio Diaries explains how the Vita-Chambers work on Jack and not Splicers and also how he can use the Bathyspheres despite them being genetically locked to allow only the Rapture council to use them.

An Audio Diary by Jasmine Jolene (Pregnancy), Ryan's mistress, and photos found on Ryan's desk indicate that Jack was purchased by Bridgette Tenenbaum on behalf of Frank Fontaine as an embryo. When Andrew Ryan discovers this arrangement, he kills Jasmine. Ryan's shoes, pipe, and fedora are found at the scene, and Jack can smoke his father's pipe with the same effects as cigarettes.

On Jack's wrists are tattoos of some chain links. This could be a reference to Andrew Ryan's "Great Chain" or more likely that it is symbolic of Jack's enslavement. The tattoos could also be explained as a reference to Dagny Taggart's chain link bracelet in Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged. (Note: the chain links on the right wrist are visible during the cutscene where the first plasmid is acquired, when the player is wielding the wrench, and in the good ending.)


Background

Jack was raised by the scientists in Rapture, who were responsible for his mental conditioning at the order of Frank Fontaine, for the purpose of assassinating Andrew Ryan. According to audio diaries by Yi Suchong, who was responsible for Jack's development, Jack weighed fifty-six pounds and had the "gross musculature of a fit nineteen-year-old by the age of one", thanks to Lot 111. Dr. Suchong also reveals in another audio diary that he is responsible for raising Jack and the mind control imprinting that Frank Fontaine requested. Jack is sent to the surface as a sleeper agent, living in his pre-programmed life until Frank Fontaine "activates" him. Upon Fontaine's command, Jack boards a plane that passes over Rapture's entrance, then hijacks it, forcing its crash landing, using the trigger phrase "Would you kindly".

Jack eventually finds a cure for the conditioning with the help of Bridgette Tenenbaum, a chemical produced by Dr. Suchong called Lot 192. Jack completely frees himself from Fontaine's mind control. Once free, Fontaine challenges Jack to a showdown. In order to pursue Fontaine, Jack is forced to become a Big Daddy; however, this transformation is not complete, as he does not have the suit grafted onto him (he never wears the gloves, either), nor is his mind altered in the process. The only physical change he undertakes is the automated vocal chord surgery, which Frank Fontaine (truthfully or not) warns over the radio beforehand is irreversible in an attempt to stop him. Afterward, Jack confronts Fontaine but is knocked to the ground by him. When Fontaine is about to kill Jack, five Little Sisters pounce on him with the hypodermic devices they use to suck ADAM out of corpses, killing Fontaine. Depending on the player's actions throughout the game, Jack will either become the new ruler of Rapture and leader of the Splicers, or he escapes to the surface with the five Little Sisters, raising them as his own daughters until dying of old age.

While Jack's face is never directly seen in the game or in cinematic cutscenes (both of which take place largely in the first person perspective), a few pictures of him can be found throughout Rapture. His voice is heard a few times throughout the game; in the beginning cinematic Jack is heard talking, and in the Mind Control Test audio diary, as well as whenever he is injured (he screams and grunts).

Taking his biological father into account names the character Jack Ryan, a character created by Tom Clancy with whom he shares several thematic aspects: both have an "everyman" quality about them, that of a tough but relatively normal person thrown into circumstances for which they are psychologically unprepared. Andrew Ryan initially suspects that Jack is a CIA spook, then comes to the conclusion that he is not based on his behavior. In contrast, Clancy's Jack Ryan actually is a CIA employee whose mission requires him to impersonate a naval officer. Both are forced to engage in gun-play underwater to survive.

Theory of Jack's Aging

It can be heard in an audio diary from Dr. Suchong that Jack grew to the size and physical condition of a 19-year-old when he was just two years old. Doing the math, and considering the average human life span, Jack could quite possibly have died when he was only 8 "real" years old (when speaking of the good ending, of course). On the other hand, the evidence against this theory consists of scenes of the Little Sisters he took to the surface growing up, receiving their college diplomas and marrying, which assumes that Jack lived for at least two decades (the absolutely minimal time it would take those Little Sisters to attend school and then college, and then marry and have children) after the Bioshock events.

BioShock 2

Jack is confirmed to not make a return in BioShock 2. However, in an interview with Jordan Thomas, the creative director of BioShock 2, it is revealed that apparently Jack has become a man of legend among the Splicers left in Rapture.

Its actually more than likely the good ending is canon, seeing as if Jack had ruled Rapture, the splicers would remember him as the ruler. Also, interesting note, if the bad ending is canon, this leaves the question to what has happened to Jack, seeing as the Big sister has taken over Rapture. Another interesting fact is in the Sofia Lamb cult pictures of people injecting themselves with ADAM the person in the picture has Jack's tattoo on their wrist.

References

  1. Game Pro magazine June Edition Page 57 "In BioShock 2 you'll overhear conflicting accounts tales about the fate of the original protagonist Jack Ryan.

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