2K’s critically acclaimed action-adventure, BioShock, happens to be one of my all-time favorite videogames. The gameplay is varied, fast-paced, and fun. The story is fantastic both in content and execution. The atmosphere generated by the ruined paradise of Rapture is unrivalled by any other videogame ever created. Obviously that’s a very brief overview of what makes the game great, but going into detail would result in an editorial thousands of words long. If anyone has yet to play this modern classic, they should stop right now and go remedy this fact.
Along with its critical acclaim came commercial success, so of course, a sequel is in development. Over the last month or so, 2K Marin has seen fit to release the first tidbits of information concerning our impending return to Rapture. A number of juicy details have been unveiled, but not enough yet to answer this basic question:
Will a direct sequel to BioShock work?
It could be said that the “main character” of the original BioShock was the city itself: Rapture. The chilling story behind this failed attempt to create paradise on earth was the main draw to the story, and the primary component of the game’s unbelievably heavy atmosphere. But despite the many secrets it held, by the time the end of the game was upon me, I felt that I had seen all there was to see. This was hardly a bad thing – the feeling of completion was very rewarding. So, to be frank, my gut reaction when I heard that BioShock 2 would once again be set in Rapture was a tad skeptical. I thought to myself, “is there really much more to see?” And even more importantly, will Rapture be able to generate the same emotional response from me a second time around? Or will I constantly be aware of the fact that I’ve seen it before?
I’m remaining optimistic, of course. I found the recent article in Game Informer quite assuring, actually. “Keeping the rapture setting fresh is a driving motive here,” says Jordan Thomas, BioShock 2’s Creative Director. “There are still surprises to come.”
Touching briefly on the original BioShock‘s emphasis on philosophical principles in its storytelling, Thomas also said “We’re using what players understand of BioShock 1 and what they understand about Rapture to spring into other ideas. It wouldn’t really be BioShock if you don’t end up thinking about it and the ideas behind the environment you’re standing in.”
I certainly hope he remains true to his word. BioShock isn’t about flashy plasmid powers, guns, or how cool the Big Daddies look. Thomas seems to understand this, but when I hear rumblings of a possible multiplayer mode, I’m forced to wonder. To be sure, though, to take source material as rich as the original BioShock and find a way to screw it up would have to be difficult.
…or would it?