BioShock is one of the most unique game franchises, in the main plot of all the issues of which frank political messages are woven. Equally important are components such as tone, gameplay and setting, and the franchise is often praised for using the latter. Cloud Chamber is at the helm of the last installment, so there are still questions surrounding how well the upcoming game will match previous games, as they all seem to share a common theme of irregularity. BioShock 2007 is far from predictable, and being a significant deviation from the norm in the genre of first-person shooters, it has become a truly favorite. BioShock 4 should capture the same magic that was present in abundance in the past, and it can all start from where the game takes place.
From the deep, dark and claustrophobic labyrinth of Delight to the fake-utopian hellscape of Colombia, any great BioShock experience lives or dies thanks to its ability to create and use a magnificent, exciting and dangerous world. There was nothing new in the narrative about the environment when BioShock appeared on store shelves, and Irrational Games’ own System Shock 2 made a big step forward in popularizing the genre. BioShock 4 will almost certainly follow the same format, so it should use the perfect location, inviting players to explore everything it has to offer in search of its secrets.
Won’t you be thrilled
The underwater setting in BioShock and BioShock 2 is one of the best in all video games. Its haunted halls and dilapidated walls are filled with a dense atmosphere around every corner, and the tone that both games rely on so much is a direct result of what Rapture offers. The civil war that takes place between the objectivist creator Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine turns the city under the Atlantic Ocean into a dystopian nightmare, and not into a utopian ideal, as it was conceived. It’s a location with a lot of narrative potential, and while the first two games touched on some of the darkest areas, there’s still a lot to explore.
Rapture is not only an architectural and sound masterpiece, but also the people who live in its rotten abodes are always intriguing and have much more than they can contribute to the franchise. Characters like Sander Cohen, Bridget Tenenbaum, Jasmine Jolene and Andrew Ryan himself have so many layers, often changing dramatically between what they were when Rapture was at the peak of its popularity, and in the most anxious state. Returning to Rapture at any time would be an exciting re-acquaintance with personalities as complex and with as much potential as the city itself once had.
In space, no one will hear your cry
Games like Prey, Tacoma and Alien: Isolation have proven that a space environment can create a lonely, overwhelming and heavy atmosphere. The deep corners of space are very different from what is happening on Earth, and the lack of understanding of the situation means that players will most likely never feel comfortable. BioShock is a franchise that excellently makes its fans feel that they do not belong to the setting it created, so finding an abandoned space station or a crashed rocket ship would be a great way to distract players from home.
Since BioShock dragged players into the depths of the Atlantic, and BioShock Infinite lifted them into the sky, the franchise can only develop in several directions, and the flight of fans into the unknown will be a change for the series, which also turned out to be exciting. and effective means to tell a great story. System Shock 2 did this, so it’s clear that there is potential in a space environment.
The BioShock multiverse opens up many possibilities
With BioShock Infinite confirming an infinite number of parallel universes, it would be a shame to see how BioShock 4 ignores the potential it carries. Placing the upcoming game in a specific location (from a bustling city to an unknown Antarctic city in the 60s, as rumors suggest), but in multiple dimensions and realities can be useful to show how this area has changed, evolved or fallen.
Games like Cris Tales show that the past, present and future can evoke completely different tones and aesthetics of the same place. Playing with what BioShock Infinite refers to in its conclusion will help maintain the tone and offer unique, ever-changing scenery that keeps the story at the right pace. From a narrative point of view, the idea of multiple realities is a double—edged sword, because if handled incorrectly, it can be confusing. Nevertheless, BioShock handles the heavy themes of objectivism and libertarianism, fighting them and criticizing them with relative ease. By no means does this look like a politics lesson, and BioShock 4 will succeed if it deals with such a mysterious theory as simply and clearly as in the original.
BioShock 4 is in development.