Following the announcement of the next BioShock title, the game’s publisher, 2K Games, founded a proprietary game development studio – the Cloud Chamber studio, which is set to develop the next installment in the BioShock franchise. And according to the development studio’s job listings, BioShock 4 is making massive changes to the series.
The Cloud Chamber’s job listing is actually one of 17 openings currently available. It’s for a senior writer who will join their talented Narrative Team to craft memorable dialogues and story arcs, weaving them into character-driven stories set in an open-world environment. Keywords being “open-world environment.” Besides job details, skill, experience, and qualifications required for the job, this job listing possibly disclosed vital information about the changes BioShock 4 brings to the series.
Other related job listings are looking for an AI programmer whose role will be to design and finalize urban crowd systems and tribal ecology of potentially hostile AI. Also, they listed a position for a senior world designer to combine emerging AI behavior into a living world that offers variety and diversity at every step. Judging by the listings, Cloud Chambers is likely forging an open-world setting for the upcoming BioShock 4.
The first two games took place in the fictional underwater city of Rapture, while the third installment in the series, BioShock Infinite, took place in the floating steampunk city-state called Columbia, which were both pretty much closed-world types, despite their massive size. Open-world concepts are primarily associated with the RPG video game genre and rarely with single-player FPS titles, like BioShock. Still, one of 17 job listings mentioned above is for a Senior Voice Designer candidate position, which would work on creating an RPG dialog system with options for the players to choose from in BioShock 4.
This indicates various changes the franchise’s next installment brings, making a slight shift in gameplay the players are accustomed to. From what we know so far, BioShock 4 will retain its first-person-shooter game style, introducing the RPG elements that might significantly impact the narrative’s outcome. This type of gameplay (similar to Cyberpunk 2077) isn’t a novelty in gaming, and RPG elements are now introduced in various gaming genres left and right. That particular recipe worked beautifully in countless titles, and there’s no doubt that it will work wonderfully in the next BioShock game, given the franchise track record.
The first BioShock game was critically well-received when released in 2007 for its “morality-based” storyline, immersive environment, and dystopian back-story. The game’s sequel, BioShock 2, continues and concludes the first game’s story, receiving generally favorable reviews and high scores across gaming review lists. BioShock Infinite has no direct narrative connections with its predecessors and follows its own story, with the gameplay concepts from the first two titles. The game was a massive hit pre-release and reached critical acclaim upon release for its story, setting, and visuals.
If job descriptions hold true, BioShock 4 will retain much of its iconic elements while introducing new features and mechanics unprecedented in the franchise. Unfortunately, officials haven’t confirmed any details, but it seems that Cloud Chamber sets out to create an entirely new BioShock experience.