The world of BioShock has been pretty quiet since BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Part 2 came out and brought the series full-circle, but that doesn't mean it's gone. According to Take Two executives, BioShock will be back; it's not a question of if, but when.
While speaking at the Technology, Media, & Telecom Conference in New York City, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick confirmed that BioShock is "a really important intellectual property for the company," although he didn't have anything to say regarding a new title.
Of course, with 25 million units sold over the series' lifetime, Take-Two would be foolish to consider BioShock anything other than a "really important franchise"; the series' last core entry, BioShock Infinite, sold over 11 million copies on its own.
When BioShock does reappear, it'll do so without its creator, Ken Levine, or the studio behind both Infinite and the original title. Just a few weeks after BioShock Infinite nabbed four BAFTA nominations, Levine essentially dismantled Irrational Games, laying off all but fifteen staff members to focus on "narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable."
Levine and his small team are currently hard at work on their next game, which will reportedly eschew linear narratives to create a game with a completely dynamic social system. According to Levine, players of his next game "will have very fluid relationships with the characters. They have a spectrum of feeling about you based upon what you do and if you help them or go against them."
Zelnick and Take-Two previously indicated that development on further BioShock games will move to 2K Marin, the studio behind the original game's surprisingly solid follow-up, BioShock 2. As for why it's been so long between games, Zelnick implied that the developer simply hasn't found the right idea. As he said:
I think there's a lot of upside in that franchise. It hasn't necessarily been realized yet. And the question for the future, assuming we decide to answer the question, would be "How do you stay true to that creatively?"; "How do you do something exciting?"; and "How do you do expand the market?"
Ultimately, that's good news for fans. BioShock's got a reputation as a high-quality franchise, and it'd be a shame to tarnish the series' legacy with a stream of rushed, cookie-cutter sequels. After all, a BioShock game that doesn't innovate or push boundaries? That's not really BioShock at all.