The BioShock series has been dormant for nearly five years, but all that could soon change. Publisher 2K Games released a remastered version of the entire franchise titled BioShock: The Collection back in 2016, but a new chapter of the retro-futuristic franchise is currently in development.
Alleged leaks for “BioShock 4” posted on the shady online forum 4chan in September 2019 claimed to blow the lid off the fourth game in the series. 4chan Zhykionn wrote that an anonymous source in 2K’s software development team revealed the announcement date for the title and rough outlines for its story, setting, and gameplay.
The purported leaks bolster a April 2018 Kotaku report stating that former employees of game studio Hanger 13 had joined another company to work on the next game in the BioShock series, codenamed “Parkside.” Since that leak, 2K has confirmed that a new BioShock game is in development, unveiled its developer, and let investors know to not expect it soon.
Here’s everything we know about BioShock 4:
When is the BioShock 4 release date?
The Zhykionn leaks stated that 2K has the “strong will” to announce the project “between December 2019 and March 2020.” While gameplay has not been shown yet, 2K confirmed in December 2019 that a new BioShock was in development, and yet as of February 2020, no further details have been confirmed.
The leaks also state that production for the game started sometime in 2016 and that the game is at a “solid and advanced state of development.” This timeline lines up with BioShock Infinite’s creation process.
Ken Levine, the founder of Irrational Game and creator of the BioShock series, told VG247 in 2010 that Infinite was worked on in secrecy for two-and-a-half years prior to its 2010 announcement. The final product took a total of five years to make and was released in early 2013.
Irrational relinquished the BioShock franchise after Infinite's release and left it in the hands of 2K. If the publisher follows Irrational’s development process in any way, a 2021 or 2022 release might still be possible. A recent comment from 2K's parent company Take-Two suggests that it could be even further out though. In its latest financial report, Take-Two claims that "will be in development for the next several years." Depending on the company's interpretation of "several years," we may not get the game until 2023 or later.
What consoles will BioShock 4 be available on?
Next-gen console hardware isn’t expected until late in 2020. So it’s possible that 2K will present the PS4 and Xbox One version of BioShock 4 earlier and the PS5 and Scarlett version later on. If its release is pushed until 2023 or 2024, those last-gen ports may not come to fruition.
There’s no mention of a PC version for the game, but seeing as every game in the series has been available on Windows, the fourth installment probably will be too.
Who is developing BioShock 4?
2K revealed that a brand new developer called Cloud Chamber would be taking the reigns of the BioShock franchise back in December. The studio was teased in the aforementioned Kotaku report but wasn't publicly unveiled until then. The studio is made up of two teams in San Francisco and Montreal, and 2K describes them as "a collective of storytellers eager to push the frontlines of interactive entertainment by making unique, entertaining and thoughtful experiences that engage the world."
The studio is led by Kelley Gilmore, who worked with fellow 2K studio Firaxis for almost two decades. In regards to her new studio, Gilmore boasted that "our team believes in the beauty and strength of diversity, in both the makeup of the studio and the nature of its thinking. We are a deeply experienced group of game makers, including many responsible for BioShock’s principal creation, advancement and longstanding notoriety, and honored to be part of the 2K family as stewards of this iconic franchise."
Interestingly, Cloud Chamber was not the first developer on BioShock 4. A December 2019 Kotaku report claimed that support studio Certain Affinity was developing BioShock 4 back in 2015, but development was rebooted and moved in-house by 2K.
When does BioShock 4 take place?
BioShock Infinite was not immediately part of the BioShock and BioShock 2 storylines, but that changed when its two-episode expansion Burial at Sea was released. The story reveals that the interdimensional events of Infinite wound up leading to the start of the original BioShock game, meaning that the original trilogy essentially create a time looped cycle. However, BioShock 4 is expected to continue right where the first two installments left off while also nodding to BioShock Infinite.
Zhykionn writes that the game will take place in 1971, roughly 10 years after the original BioShock, but little else is known about the game's scope.
Where does BioShock 4 take place?
Instead of taking place in the fictional underwater dystopian city of Rapture, BioShock 4 is expected to be set in London, but that doesn’t mean the horrors gamers left behind in Rapture won’t follow them to the surface.
ADAM, the same gene-altering organism fueling the tonics and plasmids that led to Rapture’s downfall, is also wreaking havoc in London. Zhykionn describes a wolrd that wants to ascend into a golden age with this newfound technology, but is instead faced with “innumerable crises.”
Players will no longer be confined to the dark and damp halls of Rapture and be able to explore London as an open world. The leaked information suggests you’ll have much more freedom to roam, explore, and leave your mark on this digital world.
“The game’s maps will be larger and richer than the previous chapters,” wrote Zhykionn. “Especially enhancing environmental destructibility and further expanding the effects of plasmids on enemies, in-game maps and on environmental enigmas.”
Who is the Main Character in BioShock 4?
The protagonist of BioShock 4 is said to be an American orphan named Lucas. The leaks explain that Lucas has called London home for years and has survived as a thief.
That all goes south when a series of unfortunate events unravel and Lucas is accused of being involved in the downfall of Rapture. It’s unclear who his adversaries are or what his main objective will be during the game, but there might be some familiar faces to help him along the way.
Which characters might return in BioShock 4?
Zhykionn stated that Eleanor Lamb, Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum, and the Lutece Twins will make a return in BioShock 4 as pivotal characters.
The leaks didn’t specify where they’ll fit in the story, but fans of the franchise will apparently get to play alongside popular characters from past installments.
What will BioShock 4's gameplay be like?
Finally, the leaks revealed that the game will make use of both open-world and linear maps to give players freedom while also driving home the game’s narrative.
BioShock and BioShock 2 made use of many linear, claustrophobic maps inside of Rapture, while Infinite provided more dynamic combat in the the airborne city of Columbia. BioShock 4 seems to be a middle ground between the two while also embracing the open-world trend that’s becoming increasingly popular in the year’s since the franchise’s last entry.
Plus, seeing how ADAM and plasmids are still a big part of the series, it’s likely that players will be able to inject Lucas with plasmids to give him superhuman abilities. Some iconic ones from the previous games let players shoots fire, electricity, and even crows from their fingertips, and you can be sure that Bioshock 4 will introduce even more plasmid abilities when it finally arrives.
BioShock 4 is currently in development at Cloud Chamber Games and "will be in development for the next several years."