Rapturous: BioShock Not Dead, Will Continue At 2K Marin

With Irrational 20,000 leagues under and Ken Levine off doing his own, significantly smaller thing at 2K, you might think BioShock dead in the water. You would, however, be wrong. Following on from Levine’s original comment that he was leaving the series in 2K’s hands, Take-Two Big Daddy Strauss Zelnick has confirmed at a recent analyst conference that the oft-divisive series will carry on and once-thought-dead BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin will do the honors.

As reported by GameSpot, Zelnick said this to a roving herd of information-hungry analysts. They slavered for knowledge, and he vomited the following into their mouths like a loving mother bird:

“We haven’t given any color on how you should think about it yet except we do believe it’s beloved. We think it’s important [and] certainly something that we’re focused on, something 2K Marin will be responsible for shepherding going forward. I don’t want to say much else except to agree with you. I think there’s a lot of upside in that franchise.”

“It hasn’t necessarily been realized yet. And the question for the future, assuming we decide to answer the question, would be ‘How do you stay true to that creatively?’ ‘How do you do something exciting?’ and ‘How do you do expand the market?’ That would be the natural drill. We’re starting from a good point on it. And certainly it’s been a great piece of business for us. It’s been a profitable piece of business.”

Mmmmm, that is one fiiiiiiiine piece of business. But I digress.

So BioShock is sticking around, and to be quite frank BioShock 2 was my favorite entry in the series anyway, so having Marin at the helm isn’t the worst thing. That said, even though 2K Marin is (surprisingly) still around, it’s not the 2K Marin of yesteryear, or even yesteryearbeforethat. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified’s development cycle was marked by many high-profile departures, culminating in huge layoffs after it came out. Those who weren’t laid off were allegedly offered positions at 2K’s new Bay Area studio, headed up by former Gears of War/BioShock Infinite producer Rod Fergusson.

It’s tough to say, then, what sort of state 2K Marin is even in. Maybe Zelnick was actually referring to the Bay Area studio, and he just had a slip of tongue? This is all rather confusing. I will poke at 2K and also Some Other People to see if I can find out what’s up.


  1. Ansob says:

    Yeah, this is mildly encouraging. Bioshock 2 was by far the best one of the lot, so hopefully the next one is as good as BS2 was.

    • ncnavguy says:

      Bioshock:Hidden City
      A once shining beacon of mans promise lays forgotten but not abaonded is a series of caves and caverns beneath Salt Lake in Utah. Cave horrors and the possibility of the lake above flooding the dystopia below will make some of the games key themes. The introduction of new powers called “Stems” will give a focus on the transmutation of matter and space. Expect enviromental reshaping powers and quantum displacement to play a big role.
      What lies at the dark heart of a failed Mormon dream?
      Find out next fall kiddies!

  2. Gilead says:

    To be honest, when I saw Ken Levine’s comment that he was handing the reins of the Bioshock series to 2K, my first thought wasn’t ‘Bioshock is clearly dead in the water’. It was ‘inevitable sequel to best-selling franchise clearly in the pipeline with another developer’. Bioshock’s a critically acclaimed and successful series, after all. 2K obviously weren’t going to just let it die.

  3. Noburu says:

    “They slavered for knowledge, and he vomited the following into their mouths like a loving mother bird:”

    Stay classy RPS, this is why I love you and even read the articles I dont care about.

    (it might also be my bro-crush on the astute Mr. Grayson)

  4. Stellar Duck says:

    I’m not particularly interested in Bioshock but seeing as the second game was the better of the three games by a country mile I suppose this is somewhat good news.

    Still, after Infinite I think I’m done with Bioshock. I wasn’t expecting anything from the game and still came away disappointed. :(

  5. LionsPhil says:

    With Irrational 20,000 leagues under and Ken Levine off doing his own, significantly smaller thing at 2K, you might think BioShock dead in the water.

    …not as long as a publisher still holds the license and thinks it shifts copies, no?

  6. GameCat says:

    Hey, this corpse still have ADAM, let’s milk it!

    • epeternally says:

      But it’s being milked by the developer that made the best game in the series. I mean, it may be turning into sequelitis, but if they’re going to keep the franchise going at least they’ve got a team with a history of doing right by the series at the helm.

  7. Michael Fogg says:

    what is this heresy about Bio2 being the best one, it was one of the most unnecessary cash-grab sequels, merely functional in terms of gameplay and completely missing the philosophical point of the original.

    Bioshock should be left behind already, the last thing we need is the corporation watering down the legacy of System Shock just because the brand is recognizable.

    • jonahcutter says:

      While I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay of Bioshock, Bioshock 2’s gameplay was an improvement. Playing as the slower moving Big Daddy against the faster moving Big Sister was a well-built remix. I enjoyed things like protecting the Little Sisters while they harvested. And while I didn’t mind the original’s hacking mini-game, the faster, in-game hacking of the sequel was a better fit.

      The theme was just stronger in Bioshock though. Presenting a single, misbegotten philosophy (Objectivism) and showing the results if you try to build a society around it was clearcut and powerful. Showing an ongoing debate between it and another imperfect philosophy in Bioshock 2 was muddled and left less of an impact.

      Infinite was a poorly thought-out mess. A few highs in art direction and general creative weirdness. A lot of lows in gameplay and theme.

    • dskzero says:

      Except the gameplay itself was much, much improved from the original. It’s a fine game and the complaints were mostly due to the plot being weaker.

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        While I agree that BS2 had much better gameplay, what makes BS1 so strong is the incredible meta-story that was interwoven with the main plot so well; I don’t think any other shooters have come even close to how well BS1 told its story. While BS2 had better gameplay, the plot was pretty dismal, and while the setting of Rapture was incredible, it felt like a cop out to pretty much just reuse the first game’s assets.

        And the thing is that while BS2 did have some fun shooting, there are tons and tons of games that are great for being fun shooters. I can go play Unreal Tournament or Quake or dozens of other excellent shooters in beautiful environments any time, there is no shortage of those. But BS1 told a fantastic story and was smart as nails doing it, which is something that no other shooter has done still, though Spec Ops: The Line made a good stab at it. It doesn’t matter that BS1 was a bit clunky in the shooting department to me, because it did something so amazing that it was set apart from every other shooter, whereas BS2 struggles to bring anything new to the table.

        • Xocrates says:

          “But BS1 told a fantastic story and was smart as nails doing it,”

          It really really didn’t and it really really wasn’t. It’s just presented them in a manner that was compelling enough that it looks like it did, same as Infinite.

          Granted, that’s more than can be said for most games of its time, and I do believe that’s largely why it got a free pass.

          • Evil Pancakes says:

            But it really did and it really was.
            Maybe Bioshock’s story isn’t much in the world of fine literature, but when compared to other pop entertainment such as film or television, the story is really quite well told, smart and stimulating. And in just the world of computer games, it probably is one of the best so far. The only other game I can think of which I would consider had a better and more intelligent story is Planescape: Torment.

          • Eight Rooks says:

            Much as I think Bioshock the first was over-rated, while the story was arguably not quite as smart as it thought it was (certainly once it got past the half-way mark) it was at least always told well. Ryan’s big moment was jaw-dropping and I would concede, maybe, that there’s nothing quite as meaningful on as many levels in the second game.

            But I still prefer the story from the second game. It may basically have been the same kind of thing – here’s why objectivism invariably doesn’t work – but where the first game just went for “It just doesn’t, all right?” the sequel’s use of collectivism on top of your own decisions about how you wanted to treat your daughter made for a far richer, more nuanced experience for me. It made Ryan more relatable, it made Lamb a villain I could empathise with, and it grounded both of them with actual human fears and concerns rather than just talking in metaphors about the grand sweep of history and so on. And it made Rapture much more of a place, rather than just stage dressing (even if it did still look uncomfortably like a high-concept gimmick come to life rather than somewhere people actually lived and worked). And it had a proper ending, where it actually felt as if your choices mattered, and that there was a reason they should matter.

            Columbia bumped up the detail but none of it ever really meant anything to anyone besides those few scenes of Elizabeth going “Ooooo, isn’t this pretty?”. Who cares about wandering pedestrians when the world is so patently unbelievable – on a whole other level from “A city under the sea”, where half the setting is explained away with nothing more intelligent than “A wizard did it” if it’s even explained at all? Ditto the story, where you could easily have cut like 90% of the Lutece twins’ role and not affected the narrative in the slightest. I don’t care whether or not you liked it, seriously, none of the endless rambling about quantum mechanics and fate and destiny actually adds a damn thing to the dramatic momentum of the story – it’s all telling rather than showing, all of it, and half the time it barely makes sense anyway.

          • Xocrates says:

            @Evil Pancakes: What, exactly, do you consider the story of Bioshock? The story of the failed utopia, told in scattered setpieces throughout the game? Or the story of Jack, Ryan, and Atlas?

            I can agree that the first one was, at least, interesting, but the second one was the one driving the game forward and makes less sense the more I think about it – to the point I don’t consider it more than straight up nonsense at this point.

          • Kentauroi says:

            Bioshock had better worldbuilding, and a great twist, but the story itself wasn’t all that great at all. When anyone I’ve known praises Bioshock they’re talking about either Rapture itself, Sander Cohen, or the scene with Andrew Ryan. I’ve never heard anyone praise any part of the story other than the big twist, probably because it’s almost entirely ‘There’s a locked door between you and progress, go do an unrelated fetch quest or two to open it’.

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            Actually, the reason I think that Bioshock’s story is so great isn’t really about the splicers or objectivism or the city, but rather the commentary on free choice in shooters, specifically the illusion of it. There is the narrative on the surface that is slightly smarter than your average shooter, with villains, guns, etc, and then there is the one where the player is continuously told that they are making choices that matter both narratively (little sisters) and by their gameplay style, only to be confronted with the fact that despite having the appearance of free action, everything the player does ultimately doesn’t matter, and follows the same arc invariably. With that in mind, the second half of the game is much weaker than the first half, but I’m actually okay with the complete lack of differentiation between the two endings given the metanarrative in the first half of the game.

          • Muzman says:

            The free will thing is like pointing out the game is linear and generally not well designed. Thank goodness for the Stanley Parable.

            I agree it’s worthy that they tried, but if they had any real follow through with their own purported thematic drive, when the player was ‘set free’ you would have actually been set free. But you aren’t. Nothing changes except you are told something changes. Had they the courage of their thematic convictions the last section should have been one of the most open ended things in gaming. There’s your Citizen Kane etc.
            But no. Same old Same old. Complete with escort missions to look forward to that completely undermine the value of Little Sisters and ridiculous boss fights. Your free future involves linearly recycling tired game tropes. Badly at that. It’s practically a revolution.

            When you actually lay out what the core plot is it’s pretty dire. From memory; villanous dude clones himself a pliant meat puppet from Andrew Ryan somehow; creates new memories for him; gets him from the war torn underwater city to the surface; sticks him on a plane to fly over the Rapture lighthouse and manages to shoot it down or blow it up just right without killing said pliant meat puppet in the process. Fridge logic par excellance.
            It’s the most handwavey nonsense. It’s a plot that if you ran it by Rob Liefeld, Damon Lindelhof and the writers of Heroes they all would have passed on it for being too wacky.

            I do think the backstory of Rapture’s downfall and Ryan’s own arc are actually really good and unique. The problem being that generally what’s good about the game throws what’s terrible about it into very sharp relief.

          • drewski says:

            Kentauroi – nobody would care about the twist if the story hadn’t been well told up until then. The twist is the payoff for the story having been well told until then.

            After…not so much.

          • Muzman says:

            Eight Rooks says:
            “But I still prefer the story from the second game. It may basically have been the same kind of thing – here’s why objectivism invariably doesn’t work – but where the first game just went for “It just doesn’t, all right?” the sequel’s use of collectivism on top of your own decisions about how you wanted to treat your daughter made for a far richer, more nuanced experience for me. It made Ryan more relatable, it made Lamb a villain I could empathise with, and it grounded both of them with actual human fears and concerns rather than just talking in metaphors about the grand sweep of history and so on.”

            Bioshock’s critique of Objectivism was a bit more pointed than that. Ryan’s tragic flaw was that he wanted to create a world where it wasn’t necessary to believe in anything but yourself (indeed it was virtually required). His blind spot was that you must also believe in the system that creates such a place, whether you realise it or not. He did not realise it, to his cost. A man comes along who truly believes in nothing but himself brings the whole place and Ryan himself unstuck, forcing him to betray his own ideals in the service of preserving his desires for what he was trying to create. His desire to defeat the social made him the monster he always reviled and built Rapture to avoid.
            It’s a pretty fascinating little kernel to the whole thing.

            Lamb I didn’t really understand. She doesn’t really talk like much of a collectivist for one thing, it seemed to me. I never really got the sense of what she was trying to create either, where I did with Ryan. She talked too much in windy spiritual overtones and psychology. I know that’s her character, but more focus would have helped I think. Indeed much of the collectivism on display seems more like the cartoon version you get from American conservatives rather than the real thing. Where Ryan actually did seem like a Rand hero.
            The biggest problem with the whole thing is it’s almost entirely stuck in this comic book mad science of post fall Rapture. She’s not much of a revolutionary leader. Rapture already had one of those, so she has to be sidelined for the main show. She comes out more like a cult leader than any worthy socio-political followup to Ryan.

          • basilisk says:

            Show me one other game, other than maybe Torment, that would be built around one single deep theme. In BioShock’s case, it’s parenthood, and specifically failed parents, people who are unprepared for parenthood and learning or refusing to accept it. And, of course, the sorry fate of children with failed parents. Big Daddies and Small Kids Underwater: The Game.

            Forget objectivism, forget the “would you kindly” business and forget Ryan’s grand utopia. Parenthood is what the game is all about, and the way the theme is woven into just about everything in the game is nothing short of revolutionary in this particular medium (even though it’s old hat in literature and film, of course). It is one of those stories that you can dissect to pieces through close-reading analysis and it will still hold together, because the way it’s all put together is very deliberate, careful and smart.

            It may have failed to work for you, but it’s quite impossible to deny that the story is far more clever and ambitious in its design than that of any other shooter out there.

        • dskzero says:

          If it wasn’t a loose remake of System Shock II, I’d agree, but while I was not expecting it and it had enough to feel fresh, it still felt like a sequel/retelling of SS2.

  8. zarnywoop says:

    “That would be the natural drill”

    Nice pun there!

  9. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I think they should let it die. There are many more ‘isms’ to be explored and many more games to explore them through. Step off the IP treadmill before its Just Another Embarrassing Sequel.

  10. drewski says:

    I like all three. I would happily play more.

  11. PopeRatzo says:

    2K Marin is a good outfit. Maybe they can save this franchise from the Bioshock Infinite hot mess. Just make Ken Levine emeritus and keep him far far away.

    • The Random One says:

      I have always had the sense that Ken Levine had an incredibly poor understanding of why Bioshock had been so great.

      • Convolvulus says:

        The attempt to portray a living society wasn’t playing to his storytelling strengths, but he does have them. I just think he tried something different and stumbled.

  12. Shazbut says:

    I hope they can make it like System Shock now. I hope they somehow inject tension into the games.

  13. malkav11 says:

    I guess if they must. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the Bioshock formula, it’s that I don’t think it particularly benefits from becoming one of those franchises that’s kept alive by passing it around the big soulless corporation for regular sequels. What made Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite special was the sense of going to imaginative new places and exploring new worlds and new mysteries. Bioshock 2 certainly seemed competent from what I played of it, but it was just Rapture again, with a few gameplay improvements and some new zones. I can live with that for a while but it’s not really what I want from the Bioshock franchise.

  14. Eight Rooks says:

    Yup, Bioshock 2 was better than 1 and Infinite by far, and it remains one of my favourite games of all time. Thing is, Jordan Thomas went indie, so would this new/resurrected 2K Marin actually have any of the same people working there? Fingers crossed, obviously, I just don’t want to get too excited.

    • RobF says:

      I thought most had either buggered off or been laid off. But I guess this goes to show the power of studio names.

  15. Dare_Wreck says:

    I’m really surprised at all the comments here saying that Bioshock 2 was better than 1. I’ve never played it, but I thought it was widely considered the worst of the Bioshock games?

    • tormos says:

      I played all three and can tell you that I thought it was the worst of the lot.

    • Xocrates says:

      I depends on where you stand regarding the other two (and particularly the first one).

      Bioshock 2 was an unnecessary and derivative sequel. That said it improved on pretty much everything that was flawed with the first one, meaning it’s probably the most mechanically solid of the lot, has some of the best level design (let’s face it, Bioshock had two good levels in total), and the story was more coherent, better paced, and with better developed (if arguably less interesting) characters.

      I’ve seen it described as not reaching the highs of Bioshock, but never reaching its lows either. So quite honestly, and from what I’ve seen, if you consider Bioshock a masterpiece you’ll be unimpressed, otherwise you should, at least, be able to respect Bioshock 2.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        I would honestly say it improved on everything about the first game, and I liked the first game. It had flaws, obviously – the opening scramble to set up/justify the story for anyone who never played the first Bioshock is probably the most glaring – and it would never have existed without the first game, I can accept that. But to me it was better written (overall), better planned out, more challenging, more rewarding and just basically more fun to play.

    • blackmyron says:

      Bioshock 2 was the worst of the bunch, with an exception. It suffered from consolitis, much like Deus Ex 2 did, where gameplay was obviously tooled to appeal to console gamers (replacing the pipe game with a “press a button” game – hilarious!), it was a literal rail-shooter, it was obviously unfinished in points (two major characters simply vanish after a while) and the reason was apparently because they wanted to focus on a pretty tedious multiplayer game, which the company was enamored of enough to have TV adverts for new multiplayer maps and characters. You got to play a Big Daddy that seems weaker than Jack. It’s just another victim of “leveling drift” – i.e. knock down Bioshock for not being as good as everyone thinks while uplifting Bioshock 2 for not being as bad as everyone thinks – that magically turns it into the ‘best’ game of the bunch.

      The exception, however, is the story DLC for Bioshock 2. Not only is it engaging, with gameplay, enemies, stories, locations, characters, etc., it has nothing to do with Bioshock 2. In fact, the only reference to Bioshock 2 in the DLC is a tape where the main character sends a mocking rejection to Lamb.

      • Xocrates says:

        I honestly do not get the complaint that Bioshock 2 was too linear. With the exception of the first level and maybe Ryan Amusements (which were tutorials), the levels were more open, and due to the little sisters you were encouraged to explore them more. Especially since Bioshock itself had plenty of sections that were literal tunnels.

        Also, the pipe game sucked balls. Later on it was completely rigged unless you had specced in hacking, but it was easy enough to buy out that you never even needed to play it. Saying that the hacking minigame was dumbed down due to actually being useful in the sequel is plain silly.

        Also, which major characters vanish? Tennebaum wasn’t a major character and was there as little more than a linking point between the two games (also, her arc was eventually resolved in the DLCs), and everyone else I can think of had a clear resolution.

        • drewski says:

          I don’t know how you can argue that the hacking in BS2 isn’t more simplistic than in the first game. I don’t think it was “dumbed down for console” or anything but there’s far less thought involved, no skill apart from timing a button press, by far the least interesting “skill” in a videogame, and it can still be bought out, just as in the first (and you’ll have so much unnecessary money after the first map that you’ll never need to actually hack anything if you don’t want to).

          This is an example of how the second game is deified for inexplicable reasons. I can totally understand why they changed the minigame and I don’t think it’s ineffective or anything, but you cannot possible coherently argue that it is not less complex.

          • Xocrates says:

            I didn’t say it wasn’t more simplistic, I said it was actually useful.

            “Dumbed down” implies a conscient decision to make something simpler for no real reason, but the hacking minigame was changed because the pipe game sucked, not because it was deemed too complex.

          • blackmyron says:

            I wasn’t talking about level design (none of which was much of an improvement on the original) – I’m talking about that you couldn’t revisit levels because you literally were on rails – a one-way rail-line that only moved you forward. One of the flaws of Bioshock was that you had a few minor reasons to backtrack that weren’t generally worth it, but instead of going with that, they eliminated it completely.
            I wasn’t referring to Tenenbaum, although if you look at the game design history, she was originally supposed to have much more of a role in the main game. No, I’m referring to the jazz singer, who (if you save) contacts you one or two times and then completely vanishes.
            Again, the focus of the game was on a poorly-made multi-player game. It has a few interesting elements, but on the whole, the BI DLC – and, ironically, the B2 DLC – were both a much, much, much more satisfying return to Rapture than the entirety of Bioshock 2.

          • Xocrates says:

            Complaining about the jazz singer vanishing is like complaining about Sander Cohen vanishing after Fort Frollic. That she contacts you at all after that level is kind of impressive. Her role in the story had finished by then.

            And the focus really wasn’t on the multiplayer. Even aside from the fact that it was developed by a different team, the thing was essentially unplayable on PC (hi GFWL) and was dead within a week or so, which didn’t prevent the game of getting good reviews.
            Yes, the game had multiplayer, no it should never have been added (though, when it worked, it wasn’t bad), this does not make the game multiplayer focused.

            But overall, I’m getting the impression you disliked it not because it was bad, but because it didn’t took the direction you wanted it to take.

            Yes, a more open world Bioshock would have been great. No, removing the ability to backtrack didn’t harm the game in any way because it was a pointless feature in the original.

            Yes, the game had multiplayer. No, the focus wasn’t on it and the single player wasn’t bad because of it.

            Yes, having some of your choices have farther reaching consequences would be cool. No, characters whose arcs were finished and might not even be alive past their conclusion don’t need to remain as recurrent characters.

      • malkav11 says:

        You realize that Bioshock was also a console led game ported to PC? They ditched the Pipe Dream hacking because people didn’t like it, not because a golf meter was more controller friendly. (I was not fond of the golf meter, myself.)

        • Stupoider says:

          Golf meter was terrific. Unlike the pipe game, which I’m pretty sure froze time during combat, you’d be able to fire off your hacking darts at turrets or drones, duck behind cover and hack them on the fly. Just one of the many improvements Bioshock 2’s combat had over 1.

          As for blackmyron’s comment, the game isn’t a ‘literal’ rail-shooter, wasn’t the multplayer a publisher demand? Also 2’s Big Daddy felt much more powerful than 1’s Jack. I maxed out the drill first chance I got and only ever switched when I ran out of fuel.

          • drewski says:

            I never touched the drill apart from when I literally had no other ammunition.

            Both Jack and Delta felt about the same, power wise, to me.

          • malkav11 says:

            The pipe game did freeze time, which is a big reason I preferred it. Not that I ever really want stupid little minigames for these things – I’d much rather that mechanics that aren’t important enough to get fully fleshed out and integrated game systems be accomplished with a button press or two. But if you’re gonna have one, don’t make me play it in the middle of combat without freezing time.

      • Muzman says:

        Bioshock was no bastion of PC gaming. It was a fairly limp port clearly designed with consoles in mind. It was barely a good play after you hacked out the mouse and keyboard delays and fixed the widescreen problem. You were still stuck with a 60 degree horizontal FOV, or some similar eyeball shredding nightmare. Mushy and unresponsive. They managed to balance the feel much better in the second one.

        The new hacking in 2 is a very smart move. As one famous parody put it, Bioshock is a Pipemania clone with a really elaborate lobby. Trim the fat. Get on with the actual game.

        It would have been better to have been more like Minerva’s Den on the whole, yes. It was like they figured out immediately how to really have fun playing a Bioshock game and threw cool guns and bots at you right away. It took them two whole games worth to understand the damn thing though.

    • dskzero says:

      Weaker plot mostly. It feels a bit “smaller”, and the middle part kinda drags out IMO due to being a bit too open but that’s a personal peeve of mine. The gameplay it’s vastly improved from the original, and has what’s easily the best DLC I’ve ever played, Minerva’s Den. I don’t know if I’d say it’s better than the original, but that’s because the original had an extreme impact on most people’s minds, including mine.

    • hitnrun says:

      Yeah, I don’t get it. I think it’s a quality of the RPS core demographic to go over the top with backlash against things that are overhyped (as Bioshock and Infinite both were), but to the point of ridiculousness. The Arkham City hate comes to mind (though I actually did enjoy AA more). Claiming Bioshock 2 was a better game than 1 or Infinite falls under that category.

      Less belligerently, hardcore PC gamers are more sensitive to things like level design in a shooter, and BS2’s is moderately better (not to mention the 2007 original probably left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, as it was clearly a console game in a time when that was a sore spot, before the Xbox Controller assimilation of planet Earth). But the gameplay of the whole series was so shitty, I can’t imagine giving much thought to one over the other.

      Quick, a friend of yours missed out on the whole “Bioshock” thing and wants to see what all the fuss was about. You legitimately want to share your experiences, but you’re pretty sure he’ll only play that game (much less think about playing the others) to the extent that he’s engaged by the one you recommend. Which do you suggest?

      • drewski says:


      • malkav11 says:

        Bioshock. Infinite is better in some ways, but there’s some late game (and certainly all of the DLC) stuff that relies on you having previously experienced Rapture to get its full impact. And I’m not sure someone who didn’t care for Bioshock would enjoy the other games in the series – there’s a lot of conceptual, gameplay, and functional overlap inbetween them.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I’d recommend the first one, because it’s the most coherent and self-contained. Even if the mechanics were better in the second, I wouldn’t throw someone into that game without experiencing the first one, to set the scene.

        The first one actually explains the background for the quasi-magical powers you get, while Infinite glosses over that completely with its Vigors. You’re just given these potions to drink without any background that I can remember, and it only makes sense when you’ve seen it before in the first game.

        Also, the fact that your main interaction in the game is shooting people in the face, just makes more sense in Bioshock 1 than it does in Infinite, where you’re led by the nose through passive tableaux with civilians that immediately (and predictably) turn into shooting galleries. So yeah, I’d go with the first as a recommendation, flawed as it was in some respects (mainly the final boss battle, for me).

    • pilouuuu says:

      Bioshock Infinite is the worst of all Bioshock games.

    • drewski says:

      It’s fashionable on here to hate everything Ken Levine’s ever touched, so the default position is that Bioshock 2 must be the best because it had nothing to do with Levine.

      I liked Bioshock 2 a lot, but I definitely found it to be the least effective of the three. The dual wielding thing is neat, but otherwise it’s inferior in every respect to both the first Rapture game, and Infinite (which nicks the dual wield idea anyway).

  16. Penguin_Factory says:

    I really have to wonder how this is going to work. Worse case scenario is we just get more games set in Rapture and/or Columbia, in which case fine I guess, but Infinite left the door open for future developers to go wild and create their own settings. I hope they take advantage of that chance.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Yup. Much as I love Bioshock 2 and think it did a phenomenal job of re-using Rapture, I’d still like to see any further games go somewhere else, please.

    • epeternally says:

      I can’t imagine another game set in Columbia. I didn’t find the setting that memorable, and it has been thoroughly explored. Rapture has more potential but another game set there could be very same-y. I’d love for them to come up with a new/variant setting, I just hope the devs are let off their leash enough to make something like that happen.

    • blackmyron says:

      One of the Bioshock games has a character mention that “If they had been Ryan, why stop at only one city?” that sounded like a developer ‘out’.

      Would it be absurd and unbelievable to have another Rapture that Ryan built? Of course. But when has that ever stopped developers?

    • dskzero says:

      I’d love to keep the “Shock” franchise as two-parts series, but somehow I don’t really want more of Columbia, if only because I’m eager to see what they could come up with next.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I don’t think they’d use Columbia again. The period setting with cotton candy colors was fun for about half the game, but by the end I didn’t want to see more of it, unlike Rapture. Rapture was just a more compelling setting, which is probably why they used it for the Infinite DLC’s. Even Levine must have known that one extended tour of Disneyland was enough.

      If there has to be another game under the Bioshock title, I’d like to see a Steampunk or Dieselpunk space setting. Something like one of Alastair Reynold’s fractured orbital habitats, after a nanotech plague that forces the tech to be low-level. That could be fun as a space setting without being too obviously a remake of System Shock. And they should get someone like Reynolds to write it.

  17. DrScuttles says:

    They should make a new Bioshock without a man and without a lighthouse. Bring the series back to what it’s always really been about: chasing down children and gobbling up their vital essence. The blood of children makes me strong. Changes me. Makes me shoot bees from my eyes and live forever.

  18. altum videtur says:


    I’ll go get the 10-gauge.

  19. KeeperKrux says:

    Speaking of System Shock, has anyone seen Arkane’s Prey 2 pitch?

    link to aliennoire.com

  20. Frank says:

    Yeah, the continuation of the franchise is not news. I reckon it’s got another ten games in it, easy, even if reviewers realize henceforth that they hate it.

  21. WedgeJAntilles says:

    Calling it now: the title of the next game will be “Bioshock Infinity+1”

  22. Muzman says:

    Well that cash cow isn’t going to milk itself.

  23. Stupoider says:

    Bioshock 2 was so so good. I wrote it off when it came out, lambasted it for being a baseless cash-in when I didn’t see Levine’s name attached and otherwise avoided it. Visited it after Bioshock Infinite and I had no idea what I had been missing out on. Terrific gameplay, ACTUAL choices and consequences. Main character is actually interesting, plus Rapture just feels more… alive, I guess. The world-building just felt more tangible. And Sophia Lamb’s audio logs were a pleasure, especially the debate ones with Andrew Ryan. The game did a good job or adding some extra dimensions to Ryan who was sorely one dimensional in the original, along with the rest of Bioshock’s (and Bioshock Infinite’s) cartoonish characters.

    Bioshock and Infinite seemed like they were too busy thinking about big “ideas” (to very little effect) that they neglected the root of any good story; characters. 2’s gameplay also separated it from the naff stuff in Levine’s offspring. I get the feeling that the meta-nonsense most critics tout as a positive for the game is just one of the many ways to inflate one’s own sense of self-importance when it comes to “interactive media”. Bioshock 1’s story for the most part was damp and forgettable. Levine seems to have graduated from the M. Night Shyamalan school of storytelling mystery where the “meat” of the story is the twist itself, and when the twist turns out to be a bucket of guff SPOILER(Bioshock: It was mind control, Infinite: You were the bad guy all along!)SPOILER there isn’t much else to it. Although, people do praise Infinite for its handling of Elizabeth, who for me was a torrent of clichés and melodrama (like saying she would rather die than go back to her tower- putting Booker’s hand on her throat for extra emphasis wooooah she means business).

    Perhaps Bioshock 2 would have benefited from being named “Bioshock: [Subtitle]”, to better show that it isn’t a ‘sequel’ but more of a spin-off. Infinite should’ve been called something completely different. I’m actually getting excited at the thought of another Bioshock game that isn’t a crapfest like Infinite.

    Some words David Foster Wallace wrote regarding American Psycho that seem fitting for Levine’s brand of storytelling:

    “I think it’s a kind of black cynicism about today’s world that Ellis and certain others depend on for their readership. Look, if the contemporary condition is hopelessly shitty, insipid, materialistic, emotionally retarded, sadomasochistic, and stupid, then I (or any writer) can get away with slapping together stories with characters who are stupid, vapid, emotionally retarded, which is easy, because these sorts of characters require no development. With descriptions that are simply lists of brand-name consumer products. Where stupid people say insipid stuff to each other. If what’s always distinguished bad writing—flat characters, a narrative world that’s cliched and not recognizably human, etc.—is also a description of today’s world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. You can defend Psycho as being a sort of performative digest of late-eighties social problems, but it’s no more than that.”

  24. Casimir's Blake says:

    In a sane world, we’d be reading an announcement for System Shock 3, not a new Bioshock. Obviously being the deeper, less linear and more intelligent game, a sequel to System Shock is far too much to ask for. :(

  25. soopytwist says:

    Bah. Bugger Bioshock, I want System Shock 3 but that nobody screw it up like Thief.

  26. milton says:

    I felt each of the Bioshocks were fantastic in their own right, for different reasons and for different aspects that are praiseworthy.

    It’s funny because I played Bioshock Infinite first, Bioshock then Bioshock 2 and I would honestly say that I thouroughly enjoyed all of them. If you look closely, the plots of Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and Infinite actually re-use many of the same conventions and structure. All the Bioshocks have the same loose conceptual plot fleshed out into an absolutely beautiful and deep setting.

  27. MkMax says:

    “We will keep humping System Shock’s corpse for many more years!, that is all”
    –2k Marin

  28. HilariousCow says:

    People seemed unaware of how many of the original Bioshock team went to 2k Marin to make Bioshock 2. So I’m glad people are aware that not many people from that clutch are left either.

    Games studios are like Theses’s Ship; eventually, every part gets replaced. The idea of studio pedigree is largely an illusion. No reason to believe better people won’t join even if good people leave. But still. The weight of an existing franchise means there are far more invested interests and it’s harder to put your own mark on things. That said, I guess the gone home team managed with Minerva’s Den.

  29. Starsmore says:

    Well being a fan of the Bioshock games this is interesting. Though I personally found 2 to be the weakest of the series, I still found it to be better than a lot of other games. Will be interesting to see where they go from here at least!