The concept of the Merged deals with Infinite's themes of alternate universes and quantum physics, similar to the way BioShock's Splicers are used to examine the dark side of advanced genetics and drug abuse.
According to The Art of BioShock Infinite, Citizens would have crossed open Tears, either to see an alternate world or their alternate selves. The long term effects of these Tears caused Citizens to mutate, either having Art Nouveau styled scars from merging realities, or being merged with their alternate selves. Examples of the latter category include an older man's face merged with his infant self or another citizen having a horizontally extended body. Although this never appeared in the finished game, the artwork reveals that most of their clothing appeared on the finished game's Citizen models. There were also early sketches that revealed the Handyman would be included in this concept, from the early "Claw Daddy" exoskeleton concept sketch to a sketch of a unique designed Handyman featured in Pax East 2012, though only the head appears along with these Merged Citizen sketches in the artbook.
- Main article: BioShock Infinite
- “I hate ONE of ME... WHO-DO-I-HATE?! Can't tell WHICH ONE... Two-in-here... WHO-is-the-I?! Which ONE hates WHICH?!”
- ― Fink Guard, phasing in and out[src]
Since the Merged are a cut concept, none of the physical mutations represented in the concept are seen in the final game. The closest thing to the original idea is the caustic effects some individuals experience after Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth cross different Tears. In one reality, some citizens were killed and they now remember their death. The trauma of these events leaves their minds in a shattered state. Subsequently, they cannot behave normally and suffer hemorrhages. Booker, Elizabeth (Burial at Sea - Episode 2), Chen Lin, Scofield Sansmark, a woman in Parker & Co. Excelsior Brand Canned Meats, various Soldiers, the Lunatics in Comstock House, and even furniture in the Lutece Labs exhibit these symptoms, but again, should not be counted as the Merged.