The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
Recently, it was revealed that the creator of System Shock 2 and the BioShock series, Irrational Games, was receiving massive layoffs. The remaining part of the team will be working on smaller projects, hinted at being digital-only, and I think that Irrational Games itself isn't going to exist anymore. The wording has been a bit unclear, but the main thing is that Irrational Games is all-but-dead. However, Take-Two has spoken out that BioShock itself as a series is not dead, but it's unclear if Ken Levine's new project is involved with the series or not. A spokesperson for Take-Two recently said that that "The BioShock universe remains a rich creative canvas for many untold stories, and we look forward to exploring the next BioShock experience,". After reading this, I thought I'd offer my own two cents on some various settings and ideas a future BioShock title could explore.
Keep in mind that really all of these ideas are not original, and are me trying to say "well, if there's this, and this, and there's a lighthouse, it could fit into the concept of BioShock". I'm creative, but not creative enough to think up every small nuance of a new BioShock world. These are simply possibilities, with quite a few representations from other pieces of popular culture. I'm not saying BioShock should rip off those properties-I'm just saying that they are worlds BioShock could explore, given its formula.
Inspired by the likes of The City of Ember and the Metro series, this setting would have a city built entirely underground. The lighthouse would contain an entrance in its basement, leading to a city constructed possibly as a bunker for fear of nuclear war. This game would play heavily on environmental destruction/manipulation, because it would be similar to Rapture in that once a place is lost, you can't really go back there. Imagine, possibly, shooting out supports to cave in a small tunnel that enemies are coming out of, but then having a special device that could repair the tunnel afterwards. I know, that sounds a bit ludicrous, but I believe the idea would be well received. In addition to this, because the city was bit with a lighthouse at the entrance, it would be situated near a body of water. Having a section of the city where the roof could give out due to the pressure of water above it could be really tense. To be truthful, I'm not one for stealth sequences in non-stealth games, but I'd enjoy trying something like that in this situation. What if a certain enemy was only trying to kill you, and wasn't bothering with saving its own life? If it saw you, it could try and collapse the tunnel to take you with it. Harrowing sequences like this one could really set this title apart from prior BioShocks.
Listen, I know that multiverse theories can be confusing, and aren't always well received by gamers. With this idea, though, I think that we could see something that gamers would appreciate and enjoy. Imagine an Andrew Ryan sort of person, but maybe one who is more involved with psychological or scientific studies. After having their research be discontinued, they enlist the help of someone to create an artificial dimension, separate from our own, where he can do his experiments without any interference from those trying to oppress him. This dimension doesn't necessarily need to be huge. It could be that the portal that is constructed leads to a small space between realities that the Andrew Ryan character could have a city built in, and recruit people who are discontent with society. Yes, this does sound like Rapture, but the key thing with game would be that from the start, the Ryan character would be evil, and wouldn't originally have had good intentions: he just wants to perform inhumane experiments. There's a wealth of possibilities for where those experiments could go, but just the idea of changing the purpose for the city could be interesting.
A True Dystopia
When I say a "true" dystopia, I mean one that is more realistic in its creation than a place like Rapture. Imagine that the game is set in the future, and that a country has closed off all borders to the outside world, in an attempt to be self-sufficient. Because of the country's totalitarian nature, there's a lot of talk in the world about what is actually happening inside the country. As the protagonist, it could be your job to enter the city and find out what is really going on, and see what ideas are being impressed upon the people by the government. Of course, this isn't the most original idea, but grounding BioShock more in reality could let it explore ideas that are actually more outside of reality. What I mean by this is that by creating a setting that we could actually see existing today in the real world, the game could surprise us more with its ideas that go into other realms of fantasy and science-fiction.
A Desert Mirage
I know that Uncharted 3 had some stuff going on in the desert, but this is a different approach. I'm not exactly sure how this setting could work, but it could use something similar to the alternate dimension idea. Let's say that this setting is a a few hundred years in the future, and some event has happened that has caused the oceans to dramatically reduce in size, but the world still functions normally. Because of the oceans being resized, there are some lighthouses that now stand out in empty desert, and one of them holds a secret path to an oasis. This oasis houses a city, hidden from the world, that uses the ever-flowing fountains of water to survive. Yes, this idea is probably the least-exciting of all the ones I've mentioned so far, but it could be a neat idea if maybe they had some fountain of youth thing going on.
End of the World Scenario
BioShock's two cities were both meant to be places where people could survive a possible onslaught of war that would devastate the world. What if we took that idea and turned it on its head, and had a city that had survived the end of the world, and was essentially one of the last refugees for humanity? It wouldn't have to be "oh zombies killed everyone", or anything to out there. It could just be that there is a city that has survived nuclear war, and the protagonist is trying to get into that city. It could be possible that the protagonist is from another surviving city, and that they're meant to be a diplomat to the other survivors, but something about the other city is wrong. One really cool twist could be a FOXDIE situation, where you go in, and find out that there's some disease starting up that's killing people left and right, but that you unintentionally brought it in.
While it could be several years before we see any indication of where BioShock is going to go next as a series, it is still fun to speculate about it. If you dislike any of these ideas, or would prefer another one of your own creation, leave your thoughts below!