While I want to weigh in on the WILD speculation as to how and why Take-Two and / or Ken Levine have decided to shut the doors on Irrational Games as we know it — I won’t because it is just that — speculation. What I will comment on is BioShock’s future and what we want to see from the beloved franchise.
Without a doubt Take-Two and 2K Games will continue to make BioShock games because the franchise is just too big and popular to let it die. Maybe the franchise will stay dormant for a while but without question, I believe we will see more games in the BioShock universe.
The three major questions in my mind are: Who, When and Where?
Which studio will be summoned to develop a game in the series? BioShoch and BioShock Infinite were developed by Ken Levine and Irrational Games but BioShock 2 and it’s great story DLC Minerva’s Den were developed by 2k Marin which was partially made up from folks who recently developed indie titles like the critically acclaimed Gone Home. There is a lot of talented studios out there that may fit the bill.
BioShock is of course a story heavy series that requires a strong narrative to be successful and more importantly, in line with fans’ expectations. Which studios could make a BioShock game? We need a team that builds great worlds with solid gameplay and of course a first person shooter style background, unless of course BioShock can work as a third person shooter or simply an exploration game.
While I personally would like to see a BioShock game being made by Naughty Dog, this is one of the most unlikely options since they are a Sony studio that is busy enough already. Maybe BioShock could exists in the form of an open world RPG in which case we could see Bethesda or BioWare make a potentially excellent game that would do the franchise justice. We could take it a step further with Telltale Games and play an adventure game of the life in Rapture of people living in the downturn of the city that ended up being BioShock’s first setting.
When will we see a new BioShock game, that may be an even tougher question to answer since the main studio responsible for the game is shutting down and 2K Marin doesn’t exist in its past form anymore. It will likely take some time before a studio is chosen and a pitch has been accepted. From then we will need to wait for the game to be made which is the longest part. Building a BioShock game from scratch will not be easy. I cannot see a new game being made for another 4 or 5 years unless something is already in the works or we see an offshoot being made with a smaller scope in mind.
The setting, this is where our wishful thinking will come in once again. There was a city under the sea, a city in the sky and now what? Where should the new BioShock take place? Maybe space is the next natural answer or maybe in the future? Does the next studio have to make a game that stays with the dystopian themes of the previous BioShock games? It is not an easy question to answer.
I personally would like to see a cross over between the Nazi State and BioShock which puts us back in the 1940s and 50s but with an alternate take on the world. Another option of course is to go back to Rapture as many more stories can be told in that part of the universe.
While Irrational Games is dead and and LOT of talented people lost their jobs overnight, we will hopefully see fresh and new things come out of it. Hopefully the guys and gals who made Infinite will go on to work at different studios or create their own indie teams that can bring us games like Gone Home or the Stanley Parable. I wish the best to all involved and look forward to whats next for the studio members, the BioShock franchise and Ken Levine’s new venture.