It's almost hard to believe that it's been more than three years since the last installment in 2K and Irrational Games' critically acclaimed BioShock Infinite — which lifted us from the depths of Rapture into the skies of Columbia, and featured one of the most mind-bending conclusions in modern gaming — was released.
Ever since we played our way through Infinite, fans have been asking if and when another installment in the franchise would arrive. Back in May of 2015, Strauss Zelnick — the CEO of 2K Games' parent Company Take-Two Interactive — announced that no new installment was currently in development. Boo.
But, in Zelnick's words, the #BioShock franchise was still very important to the company:
"It's a really important intellectual property for the company. And while I don't have any announcements to make, yes, it's a really important franchise for us."
And then in November of the same year we got the news that a #BioShock4 was in fact in development, though that was about all we were told at the time. News and rumors are still very thin on the ground regarding the BioShock Infinite sequel, but here's everything we know right now about where the franchise is going next.
Recent news about BioShock is at the top, but you can skip a bit further down for more information on BioShock 4 itself.
BioShock 4 News & Rumors
Updated 05/30/2017: A Potential BioShock 4 Release Date?
Take-Two Interactive recently announced the delay of the massively anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2, but also teased a major title release for next year. CEO Strauss Zelnick confirmed that Red Dead 2 will be joined by a new title from one of the developer's major franchises.
As Games Industry reports, Zelnick announced:
"Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, we expect to deliver both record Net Sales and record net cash provided by operating activities, in excess of $2.5 billion and $700 million, respectively, led by the launches of Rockstar Games' 'Red Dead Redemption 2' and a highly anticipated new title from one of 2K's biggest franchises."
What could this franchise be? The likely choice is the all-but-confirmed third installment in the Borderlands franchise — Borderlands 3 — but given that Zelnick is expecting the new title to be a major earner, the possibility that it could be a secret BioShock Infinite sequel isn't too crazy an idea.
Despite the fact that Ken Levine and Irrational Games have left the BioShock building, Take-Two still retains the rights to the franchise. The Take-Two studio behind BioShock 2 — 2K Marin — hasn't released a title in four years. Could this be because they've been secretly working on a BioShock 4? Watch this space...
BioShock Will Not Return For iOS
You may remember back in 2014 when BioShock was first released as a much hyped port for iOS, allowing gamers to play on the move (provided they had an Apple phone, of course).
The app itself was short lived, however, and was quietly removed from the App Store back in the summer of 2015 after iOS 8.4 was released, following long existing compatibility issues. Later in the same year, 2K clarified that while the game was incompatible with the then-current iOS, it would be restored after an upcoming update to the app itself.
And for a long time, nothing happened. The promised update never appeared and now it seems we have confirmation that it never will. A new update to the 2K Support page for the BioShock port now reads:
In June 2015, BioShock became incompatible with iOS, following Apple's version 8.4 update. As a result, the game was removed from the App Store and is no longer supported. If your Apple device is running iOS 8.4 or newer, you may encounter gameplay issues with BioShock. Those who already own BioShock can continue playing it with iOS version 8.3 and earlier, but the game is not compatible with iOS 8.4 and later.
So there it is, the temporary removal of the game is not as temporary as we first thought, and it looks like BioShock will never return to the App Store. Good thing we have the remastered collection to see us through these dark times, mobile gaming really wasn't the best interface for it anyway.
BioShock Designer Ken Levine Reveals Why He Quit The Franchise
Around the release of BioShock: The Collection, creative director Ken Levine did an unusual thing. He opened up in a fascinating interview with Rolling Stone, where he explained why he quit making BioShock games, moving instead to his new project: a small unnamed studio within Take-Two Interactive.
According to Levine, the very process of crafting the intricate #games — BioShock Infinite in particular — took its toll on his personal life and his health.
"It changed my life in terms of what it did to my health, and what it did to my view of making games, and my relationships with people."
Levine's decision to move to a smaller studio reflects this, as managing a huge workplace where "you walk by people in the studio and you don't know who they are," didn't gel well with the creative director. As a talented writer, he prefers managing stories more than managing people.
When the success of Infinite pretty much guaranteed that a sequel would come along at some point, Levine was given the opportunity to go on to manage a larger game. But he chose not to, instead returning to his roots and — more importantly — to the work he enjoys:
"I think the natural expectation was that I would go and do the next bigger and better BioShock game. And I felt, 'I think I'll fail if I do that. I think I'll lose my mind, and my marriage.' And so my solution was to quit."
Who Is Making BioShock 4?
When BioShock series developer Irrational Games shut down last year, things seemed to take a sharp downward turn for the hugely popular series. Even the transition of Irrational's Creative Director Ken Levine and a handful of long-time employees into a smaller studio focusing on narrative-driven, digital-only games didn't do much to calm our fears, as they left the BioShock intellectual property rights in the hands of 2K Games.
So, when BioShock 4 rolls around, series creator and director Levine and Irrational Games will not be the driving force behind it. But 2K Games has also been a strong force behind the series since its inception, so the series is in good hands even without the backing of Irrational.
Before Irrational Games was named as such, it was called 2K Boston, and 2K Australia was also involved in the production of the first BioShock back in 2007. BioShock 2 was developed by 2K Marin and 2K Australia without the help of Irrational and while it is the lowest rated of the three by a marginal amount, it was still a hell of a lot of fun and an all-around well crafted game (those Big Sisters though...).
2K Marin have now been put in charge of the future of the BioShock franchise by 2K Games, so if they've done it before there's no reason why they can't do it again.
BioShock 4 Will Feature A New Setting & Characters
Well, it's not like Subject Delta, Elizabeth, or Booker are coming back anytime soon, right? (sob.) And Jack's narrative was wrapped up pretty neatly (depending on which ending you finished up with) in BioShock.
Of course, there is the potential to pick up Eleanor's story from BioShock 2, or possibly even Sally's from Burial at Sea, but after the Burial at Sea DLC tied together BioShock and Infinite very neatly, it seems likely that the franchise will take a new direction for the next installment in the same vein as Infinite.
This speculation follows from Zelnick's comments that they intend to expand the world of BioShock, believing that there exists potential in the franchise that "hasn't necessarily been realized yet."
Looping overarching narratives between the different BioShock games is tricky due to the multiple-ending mechanic that the first two games feature — depending on how you treated the Little Sisters and certain NPCs you came across during your play-through — so a clean break makes sense narratively too.
Like Infinite before it, BioShock 4 will likely strike out in a new direction now, breaking new ground in order to solidify it under the 2K Games banner. We've already had the drowned dystopia of Rapture and the floating faux-paradise of Columbia to explore, but where will 2K take us next?
We'll update this page with information about BioShock 4 as it becomes available, so watch this space! What do you want to see in BioShock 4? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!