Somewhere…Beyond The Sea

Well the news only reached me, vicariously, through a post on a forum I frequent that directed me to a link on Kotaku stating that Bioshock 2′s launch has been thrown to the wind, and the title to the much loved original IP by 2K has been given a vague “We expect the title to ship in the first half of 2010”. This in my opinion is frustrating, obviously, being a gamer who thoroughly enjoyed Bioshock not only because I obviously want to play it, but because i really want to see who they have constructed a title with such high expectations. It was many moons ago when i caught wind of Bioshock 2′s production, and being an admirer of the first game, I naturally began scouring the internet for any details I could. But apart from one viral website that released some intriguing yet incredibly ambiguous information, I found next to nothing, so I began thinking, “what do I want to see in bioshock”. Obviously my opinions won’t sway those of the behemoth that is 2K, especially since their team of clairvoyant PR guys are still being poached by IGN, but I decided to think how a sequel should be constructed. First of all, allow me enlighten you with my philosophy on game sequels.

I believe that sequels should be a good contrast between established themes and completely original material, obviously this isn’t always in perfect balance because of continuing themes, and familiar gameplay, but with certain titles I believe special things can be achieved. For instance, take a game that has a pretty generic action aspect, but the developers realise that this is only a vehicle for innovation, and surrounding this innovation more concepts are layered until you have a game. Of course in my gumdrop fantasy world where it rains chocolate smiles, this would be an ideal base for certain types of games, but obviously not all companies decide to elaborate on their possibilities. This is when sequels end up feeling like the first game with shinied up graphics. On the other hand, when a company whole heartedly embrace the idea for change and innovation, a gleaming jewel is found in among the heaps power armour and scowly faces. Take a moment to ponder this while I go ahead and write what I think bioshock 2 should have been.

When i first came across this website SomethingInTheSea Map , it had one real feature, and that was to pick the minds of the fans and challenge them to interpret what they thought was going to be made of this much anticipated title, that is when i started thinking. Since this looked like a quite different atmosphere to the original I immediately jumped to the thought that they may be doing something completely different which excited me, and led me to come up with my own idea for Bioshock 2. Because of the imagery I received the impression that this was the work of some kind of private investigator, so i began pondering how Bioshock would work if this was a prequel, and you play a private investigator hot on the trail of some very mysterious occurrences leading up to the secretive opening of Rapture to the select audience that was explained in the original. But then I thought it wouldn’t be nearly creepy enough so i began to explore could be done with adding atmosphere and i reached the conclusion that at some point along the trail, the private investigator would find a lead that enabled him to gain passage to the currently empty rapture, where he uncovers a series of twisted and ungodly events leading to the rise of rapture. This game would be either first or third person, but the major difference would be the active completion of puzzles the player would take part in, in order to advance the story. Maybe this inspiration arose from my love of the classic story driven adventure game, but it was also inspired by my yearning for change and high levels of innovation in a situation where such an amazing world has been created without the restriction of a single play style.

Since then a glut of information on Bioshock 2 has been spewed into public light, and even though i can agree that it looks nice, and fun to play, I just don’t feel the sense of innovation that went into the creation of the first one whether it be art direction, to gameplay design. I am still going to pick up this game, but i’m still just a little disappointed that that didn’t do some radically different with it, but kind of thing really only tends to play on critical acclaim rather than commercial success.

SomethingInTheSea has now been updated, and if you’d like to check it out here’s the link: SomethingInTheSea

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