Spoiler warning for those who have not played Bioshock 2
The idea of a Bioshock 4 seems like the dream of a madman in the current era and I feel like one for thinking about it, after the closure of Irrational Games the company that made the Bioshock franchise the future seems uncertain. But there is a shining light, although Irrational Games has closed the rights to the Bioshock franchise has reverted to parent company 2K and they want to continue the franchise. We can only hope that the franchise goes on and continues to impress.
Even with Irrational Games closed we must remember that they didn’t make every game, they may have handled Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite but 2K Marin alongside other subsidiaries of 2K handled Bioshock 2. With this knowledge it seems like an obvious move that going forward the franchise be entrusted to the same team that made Bioshock 2. But the real question is where do they go from here?
This is a tough question to ask and given what has been done with Bioshock Infinite the future is pretty open and there are many paths that developers can choose to go down.
For a look at the future and where I think they can go with Bioshock we have to look at Bioshock 2. For anyone who has played the game receiving either the good or neutral endings there is room for the series to expand and continue on a pre-established story. The Rapture dream may be over but going forward there is room to move on and continue to tell a story that has only just begun, the story of Eleanor. In the good ending to the game we receive a closing statement that suggests a move forward as Eleanor tells us that in their story (meaning her and Delta) “Rapture was just the beginning” this all leads to the game suggesting that there is more stories for these two. I can’t honestly say where the story could go without revisiting a Bioshock Infinite plot point of alternate dimensions, but clearly there is a deeper story and moving forward I honestly want to know where Eleanor’s story took her and that is what Bioshock 4 could go into.
Alternatively there is the neutral ending, similar to the good ending there is clearly a move forward that can be done as we see Eleanor step out into the world and get tasked with the moral questions that made Bioshock 2 quite deep. Yes there could be a new build for gameplay, but like Bioshock 2 where we were tasked with moral responsibility and the dealing with the tough questions that we were faced with, so to could we see Eleanor have to face a world that she is unprepared for. Story wise, we could also explore the deep and troubled mind of Eleanor as she faces the trouble of losing Delta and being forced to go into the world alone. This leaves room for a very deep and interesting story as we would see someone who knows nothing of the world step into it having to face diversity and a change of ideals separate to the ones that she grew to know in Rapture. Again, referencing Bioshock 2 we would see a similar idea to the one used in that game where it comes down to the conscience and dealing with the tough moral questions which help define a character, Eleanor would have no role model and given Delta’s actions leading up to the neutral ending there would be nothing that she could work off.
For this idea to work standard Bioshock gameplay would have to be adjusted, but it could work and create a truly memorable adventure which for myself and many other fans of Bioshock 2 would bring closure to the story. If we placed Eleanor in the standard world we would be unable to have things such as plasmids or splicers as these particular items and enemies are unique to Rapture (unless you consider vigors in Bioshock Infinite). While story wise it is possible to create a truly beautiful and well-rounded story explaining what happened to Eleanor and where exactly she went, gameplay is still one of the biggest hurdles to be faced.
Though for a Bioshock 4 there are still other points that need to be addressed, a quote made by Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite tells us:
“There are many dimensions each so different, yet so similar. Constants and variables.”
Then we need to include thought to another quote:
“There is always a lighthouse, there is always a man, there is always a city”
Across the franchise (meaning all three games) we encounter this very idea, there is always a lighthouse, both Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite started at a lighthouse in a sense they were the gateways that allowed us passage to these cities, Bioshock 2 even ended seeing the lighthouse from the original Bioshock. There is always a man, both Rapture and Columbia were both founded by a man, a visionary following their own paths, or in the sense of Columbia Comstock followed a spiritual passage. Either way both Rapture and Columbia were founded by a man with a dream, with a goal to build the perfect society although both were doomed to fall. There is always a city, Elizabeth made a strong point on this one in every dimension a man like Andrew Ryan, like Comstock make a city, they make a world that is better than the one above and below, a place that fits their idealistic egos.
There are millions of dimensions and each is so different and yet so similar, each defined by a single idea that brought it down that path, but although Rapture and Columbia exist in a multitude of dimensions (let’s face it in Bioshock and Bioshock 2 there are multiple dimensions simply based on the different decisions) they can’t exist in all of them. Even more point worthy is noting Rapture and Columbia can’t be the only “cities”, where Columbia and Rapture can exist in opposite dimensions to each other the wording seems to suggest there is more. “There is always a city”, in these millions of dimensions there has too many of them where neither Rapture nor Columbia exist, so what sits in their place?
It is another city, in the Bioshock universe this is the one consistent rule that was officially established through Bioshock Infinite. There is another city and this all lies as part of the rule of alternate dimensions, for a future game we could explore Rapture or Columbia but not as we know them, the rule clearly states that there is always a city but with other rules considered a new interpretation of either Rapture or Columbia make sense. The lighthouse seems to only really draw a connection with sea or sky and by the very nature of alternate dimensions there can be countless different cities, Rapture and Columbia exist as parallels to each other both in dimension and in vision but even across all the varying dimensions these cities exist in another form. Bioshock 4 could explore a new entire interpretation of the city in the sky, or the land below the sea offering entirely new visions of both.
As long as the very ideas explored in Bioshock Infinite is explored Bioshock 4 offers multiple options for a future game and I am all for exploring a new form of Rapture. While the very idea may seem overdone and played out a new interpretation could breathe new life into the storytelling of the game and offer new opportunities.
However personally I am more in line with my Bioshock 2 continuation idea, as much as I loved Bioshock 2’s story the good ending left me wanting more with its promise of a further story. “In our story, Rapture, was just the beginning”, these are the words spoken to us by Eleanor at the end of Bioshock 2 and I really want to explore what happened next for her. There is many implied futures for Eleanor and I want to see where her tale took her, perhaps some connection to alternate dimensions could be explored. I think both of these ideas offer room for the franchise and this is exactly where I would like to things go in the future. I doubt that either of these would happen but the developers at 2K should not fail to provide us with an equally fun and memorable journey when the time rolls around.
Just remember 2K you have many options for the future, but the one thing you really need to do is maintain Bioshock Infinites one rule and perhaps further highlight other characters stories.