A new BioShock is in development from Cloud Chamber, and as memorable as Rapture and Columbia were, the next game should introduce a new setting.
The BioShock series is renowned for its memorable locations, and the next title shouldn’t be any different. BioShock and BioShock 2‘s Rapture and BioShock Infinite‘s Columbia are iconic for their unique appearances, inhabitants, and deep worldbuilding. The upcoming BioShock 4 is being developed by Cloud Chamber, a new team featuring series veterans. While the developers may be tempted to return to Rapture or Columbia, it’s in Cloud Chamber’s best interests to create a brand-new setting for BioShock 4.
The next BioShock was announced in 2019 following months of rumors. Since then, there has been no official news about the game, other than job listings at Cloud Chamber that could indicate that the game will be open world and incorporate more RPG elements. The BioShock games were updated and packaged together as BioShock: The Collection in 2016, which remains the series’ most recent release since 2013’s Infinite. Fans are hoping that whenever BioShock 4 does release, it’ll have a setting as memorable as what’s come before.
The ending of BioShock Infinite opened up unlimited possibilities for new entries in the franchise. In the game, it’s revealed that there are an infinite number of worlds out there, containing infinite variations in people, locations, and events. Because of this franchise-altering revelation, it would arguably be uninspired for Cloud Chamber to reuse a familiar setting.
BioShock Infinite‘s Burial at Sea DLC cleverly used this ending and planted Booker and Elizabeth in Rapture and showed an alternate version of events from the original game. While players undoubtedly enjoy the opportunity to face off against the Big Daddies of Rapture again, a new setting would be better because of Infinite‘s ending, which enables Cloud Chamber to do anything it wants.
It’s rumored that BioShock 4 will use Unreal Engine 5, based on job descriptions for Cloud Chamber spotted by fans. Using cutting-edge technology like Unreal Engine 5 could facilitate Cloud Chamber creating a large open world for the game, perhaps even locations in different worlds.
This would allow the developer to leverage the multiverse that was established in BioShock Infinite. It would make sense for the developer not to rely on Rapture and Columbia, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t use the multiverse to explore BioShock 4‘s setting. With Unreal Engine 5 and the power of the latest consoles, the game could explore different worlds on a larger scale and in more detail than what was possible in Infinite.
Since BioShock 4 will be Cloud Chamber’s debut game, it would make sense for it to be as original as possible. Reusing locations from previous games might not reflect well on the developer, and it could sully its reputation going forward.
BioShock 4 is bound to contain familiar series trademarks, such as a protagonist wielding guns and powers, a city ravaged by issues, and shocking twists. Franchise fans expect these hallmarks, but they should be expressed differently compared to previous games. BioShock‘s past is bound to inspire the new game, but its story, characters, and gameplay should be influenced by a new setting.
In previous games, the protagonists have derived their powers from the world around them. In BioShock and BioShock 2, players gain powers from Plasmid serums, which are a part of everyday life in Rapture. In Columbia, Booker DeWitt gains his abilities from Vigors, Plasmid-like tonics that grant powers. BioShock 4 should provide a similar explanation for the main character acquiring their powers, but do so in a way that is unique to its setting. If the rumored Antarctic setting proves true, there could be fascinating lore behind the powers that exist there, what they are, and how the player character gains access to them.
The BioShock franchise is brimming with potential after Infinite‘s ending, and Cloud Chamber could do anything with the next game in the series. With a Netflix movie on the way, the BioShock IP is primed for a comeback, and a new game with an interesting new setting could be the focal point of its return to the mainstream.
Paul is a Gaming Features Writer at CBR with over two years of experience. His work has been featured on Game Rant and WhatCulture over the last few years. As a lifelong gamer, it’s a dream come true for him to have the opportunity to write about gaming. Paul is currently working on finishing a Masters’s in Journalism, and when he occasionally has some free time, he dives head first into in-depth RPG games like Pillars of Eternity and Baldur’s Gate and continues his journey of getting good at Elden Ring.