Welcome to Achievement Pending. This weekly column is devoted to the future of gaming, specifically, what our hopes are with any given unreleased gaming product. Every Friday, we will bring you a new article with all our hopes and dreams (we know they will probably be crushed in the end. The cake is a lie). Today, I’m going to talk about the next title in the BioShock series.
In 2007, BioShock released, and the gaming industry went nuts. Winning multiple Game of the Year Awards, and having some of the highest scores of any game ever released, BioShock surely made a dent in the industry. Since its release, first-person shooters have all stepped up their story telling. BioShock paved the way for a narrative based FPS. Games such as Borderlands 1 and 2, Metro 2033 and Last Light, Far Cry 3 and 4, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, Fallout 3 and 4, and, of course, BioShock 2 and Infinite were all influenced by BioShock in some way. Since Infinite’s arrival, things have gone south for the development team. Ken Levine was leaving after it was completed, and soon after, Irrational Games Studios was closed. After all of this, 2K Games insisted with the continuation of the series. The BioShock series included some of the best games that they’ve had, and also sold very well. In a perfect world, we would have the same team that brought us the original creating a new BioShock game. However, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. If we are to believe 2K and their hopes to continue the series, then this is my chance to speculate on the direction they might take it. Heck, even if they don’t do anything with the series, these are still my hopes for the game.
- New Setting
First and foremost, a new BioShock game calls for a new and unique setting. Maybe this seems obvious, although perhaps some may not have thought about it, but the logical choice would be Earth’s Moon. Firstly, we’ve been traveling upwards throughout these games. We started at the bottom of the ocean, in Andrew Ryan’s Rapture. Then, we traveled upwards, to the sky, in Zachary Comstock’s Columbia. So, it only seems natural to travel upwards again, into space. Now, I suppose they could create a space station, but I feel it would be too similar to Rapture, having tubes to walk through, for example. The Moon would provide a ground to build upon, and they can literally do anything with. This would provide for whoever to build any type of city they want. Secondly, there was already ground for this in Infinite:
It seems the team already laid the foundation for the next logical place for the series to go.
- A New Philosophy
This is obvious. The original BioShock showcased Randism, the capitalist ideas of the writer Ayn Rand. Andrew Ryan rejects the values of the countries above the sea, and builds Rapture in the ocean, creating a place where the city is only as good as its marketplace. As long as people don’t scam the system, everything should run smoothly. Of course, people scam the system. Why wouldn’t they? In BioShock Infinite, American Exceptionalism is in full display. Zachary Comstock rejects America and its sinners, and finds some help to create the floating city, Columbia. Columbia is founded with the hopes of being a place for God’s people. The floating, beautiful city is justified using this idea. So, too, is the racial segregation and lynching, sited as “God’s will.” With these two very radical ideas in mind, the next BioShock will have to introduce a new character with radical views. Since these last two ideologies are from two different time periods and different people produced them, the next one can really go anywhere. I’d like to see a radically different ideology. Perhaps a Socialist society, since we’ve had Capitalism in the past. Bertrand Russell’s ideas of society would work well in that regard.
- A New Science
Again, this is very obvious. In BioShock, Ken Levine focused on gene-splicing, which is a very real science in which the patient would have their bad genes replaced with good ones. This was very evident in BioShock, only to a much larger level. While most today see it as a way to cure diseases, the Plasmids found in Rapture re-wrote the genetic code, giving individuals super powers. In BioShock Infinite, Jeremiah Fink steals the idea from Dr. Suchong, the creator of Plasmids in BioShock, by using the Lutece Device. However, the real science behind Infinite is the multiverse. By the end of Infinite, we find out that the main protagonist and antagonist are the same person, and that there are an infinite amount of universes where sometimes you’re Booker DeWitt (Good Guy), and sometimes you’re Zachary Comstock (Bad Guy). There are infinite lighthouses where you travel from, which is evident in both BioShock and Infinite. These two theories of gen-splicing and the multiverse are very important scientific discoveries/theories. To speculate on what science they would use next, it would be very difficult to pinpoint the certain theories. However, if we are to take the setting as being on the Moon, perhaps they should use some huge theory about Space. Black Holes? Gravity? Who knows?
- Get Away From the Early American Aesthetic
I guess, technically, anything that isn’t what’s popular now is out of style and old. However, Rapture felt very much like America in the 1940’s, while Columbia’s look was early 1900 America. So, I think that it’s time for a more updated look. I think that maybe a 1970’s noir type of look on the Moon would be absolutely stunning. There could even be more noir elements, something that they played around with in Burial At Sea. Also, I think the 1980’s American style could work well for the series. The series needs iconic looks, and the 80’s was the last cultural fashion America had.
- Expand On Combat
The BioShock series has always been shoot ‘em up type games. That has worked well for the series. However, it would be nice to open up the gameplay, and allow for players to choose a combat style. After all, if it’s set on the Moon, I don’t think people would be okay with fire and bullets being thrown about the place. It would be great to see a full melee system in place. This would allow for all kinds of melee weapons to be added in the mix, as well as the good old fashioned bare knuckles. It also would be nice to see laser weapons or energy weapons. By expanding on the weaponry, the game will feel fresh and allow for more play-throughs.
The BioShock series has been well known for its integration of philosophical concepts and for its intellectual sophistication. If the series were to continue, it would have to continue without the mind behind the aforementioned games, Ken Levine. That said, there are people out there who can craft stories, and do it just as well as Levine. If someone were to tackle another BioShock game, they would have their hands full, and it would take a pretty long time (6 years between BioShock and BioShock Infinite). With all of that said, I truly believe there is a team out there who can create a great game that will measure up to the ones before. Hopefully 2K can bring that group together.
Is there a specific unreleased gaming topic you want us to evaluate? Let us know in the comments below!