Bioshock 4 - News and what we’d like to see

A promotional image for Bioshock Infinite. Protagonists Booker DeWitt and Elisabeth stand in front of an airship while Booker aims a gun.

A promotional image for Bioshock Infinite. Protagonists Booker DeWitt and Elisabeth stand in front of an airship while Booker aims a gun.

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In this article, we'll take a look at the latest news and rumours surrounding Bioshock 4, as well as some of the things we'd like to see from the game. The Bioshock series is a beloved and critically acclaimed video game franchise known for its immersive environments, complex and thought-provoking narratives, and unique gameplay mechanics.

Since the release of Bioshock Infinite back in 2013, fans have eagerly awaited news about the next instalment in the series. While details about the upcoming game are still scarce, rumours and leaks have given us some exciting hints about what we might expect from this latest entry in the Bioshock franchise.

For more on upcoming games, check out everything we know about Bloodborne 2 and Dark Souls 4. We've also got a GTA 6 release hub so you can keep tabs on the latest Rockstar game!

What do we know about Bioshock 4?

As previously mentioned, details about the next instalment in the Bioshock franchise are few and far between, but there have been some leaks and rumours that may give us a hint at what’s in store. But first, we should have a look at what’s officially been announced about Bioshock 4.

In February 2014 Ken Levine, Bioshock’s director and creator, announced that 2013’s Bioshock Infinite would be Irrational Games’ last game in the series. Levine rebranded the studio as Ghost Story, leading fans to doubt the future of the Bioshock franchise.

However, in 2018, Kotaku reported that employees from Hangar 13, the developers of Mafia 3, had joined a new studio to work on a project believed to be the next BioShock title.

Finally, in December 2019 as per Eurogamer, 2K Games officially announced that a new Bioshock title was under development by a new studio, Cloud Chamber, led by Kelley Gilmore, who had previously worked at Firaxis. The staff includes lead art director Scott Sinclair, who has previously worked on the first Bioshock game. The design director, Jonathan Pelling, has also contributed to Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite with his level design work. Hogarth de la Plante, who has worked in various roles on the other Bioshock games, takes on the role of creative director.

While details are still scarce, the announcement of the new studio and the return of key staff members has given fans hope that Bioshock 4 will live up to their expectations.

Concept art from Bioshock. A big daddy with a drill arm walking through a tunnel in Rapture.
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BioShock 4 rumours

There have been some leaks and rumours about Bioshock 4, but it's important to take them with a grain of salt until there's official confirmation. In 2022, Twitter user Oopsleaks shared a thread containing a bunch of information about Bioshock 4, allegedly obtained through a major leak. Here’s what it revealed:

  • It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s STILL Bioshock, which is understandable, as the Bioshock trilogy is considered by many to be as close to perfect as video games can be.
  • The game will be based in the Antarctic and will be open-world with multiple endings. There will also be side quests for the player to complete
  • The art style is similar to Arkane’s Deathloop, with a 1960s British, psychedelic, counterculture aesthetic
  • The combat system will be “diversified” with various utilities and abilities. It’s likely that this means a mechanic similar to Plasmids will be returning

If these leaks prove to be true, it sounds as if Bioshock 4 will still be recognisable as a Bioshock game, despite the reports of an open-world map instead of the usual linear(ish) levels of Rapture and Columbia. But again, it must be stressed that these leaks have not been confirmed officially by 2K or Cloud Chamber, and it's always possible that the final product could be very different from what's been rumoured here.

A promotional image for the BioShock collection. A light house in the ocean and the city of Rapture can be seen underneath the water.
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What would we like to see in Bioshock 4?

A unique setting

Whether it’s the underwater dystopian nightmare of Rapture, or the floating islands of Columbia, the Bioshock series is known for its distinctive settings. Wherever BioShock 4 takes players, be it the Antarctic or elsewhere, it has to be a wholly unique setting. If the leaks are true and the game is an open world, the developers have set themselves a mammoth task of creating a world that lives up to the memorable settings of its predecessors.

Here’s hoping that a switch to a more non-linear setting doesn’t mean the game loses some of its handcrafted individuality. The last thing fans want is a Bioshock game that takes place in a large, but generic, open world.

A great narrative

A compelling narrative is an integral part of every Bioshock game. The series is renowned for its intricate and layered storytelling, which delves into complex themes like objectivism, fascism, racism, and free will. In many ways, these thought-provoking narratives laid the foundation for other video games to follow suit, proving that video games can also tell mature and poignant stories.

Hopefully, Bioshock 4 will continue this tradition of exploring adult and nuanced themes, and give players a deep and satisfying story.

More Plasmids

One of the defining features of the Bioshock series has always been its use of Plasmids, or Vigors, as they’re called in Bioshock Infinite. These grant the player a variety of unique combat abilities that they can use in tandem with their conventional weapons. From launching fireballs to shooting a swarm of killer bees at enemies, Plasmids give players a wide range of strategic options to approach combat.

With the addition of more Plasmids, players would have more tools at their disposal to creatively approach combat encounters. There's no telling what kind of crazy abilities players might get to experiment with in Bioshock 4.

More immersive sim elements

Finally, we'd like to see Bioshock 4 embrace more immersive sim elements, similar to games such as Deus Ex, Dishonored, or Prey. Immersive sims are characterised by their emphasis on player choice and the ability to approach problems in multiple ways, whether through combat, stealth, or hacking.

The Bioshock games have always dipped their toes into the immersive sim genre, but there's room for the series to expand on this and allow for even more player agency and freedom.

That's all for the latest Bioshock 4 news. Fingers crossed that we'll hear some more concrete news, or maybe even a trailer, in the coming months! Click here for more BioShock 4 news, and click here for news about the upcoming Netflix adaptation.

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