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Someone Has Got to Stop BioShock
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on September 21, 2007   |   Episode 134 (Show Archive)  

   

This is just another touching moment in the underwater world of Rapture!
Last week 2K Games surprised no one when they announced that they are looking into turning BioShock, their hugely popular first-person shooter, into a multi-game franchise. Obviously we all had to see this coming; it's hard for a company (any company) to look at the huge sales and not want to turn this into a money making machine. And this should be the kind of news that gamers all across the world can get behind; after all, BioShock is one of the best games of the year and a title that first-person shooter fans everywhere can't get enough of. But somebody needs to stop 2K Games, because the last thing this world needs is a BioShock 2.

You heard me, I believe that 2K Games should reconsider turning this

For some odd reason I always thought Ken Levine would be darker and more troubled looking!
into a franchise and let 2K Boston (the company formerly known as Irrational Games) come up with another brand new IP. I'm sure this will fall on deaf ears (by both 2K Games and fans of the game alike), but as far as I'm concerned this is one game that absolutely does not need to be continued in any way, shape or form.

That's not to say that I hate BioShock or anything, I personally feel that 2K's atmospheric first-person shooter is one of the best games of the year and a must-buy for just about anybody who is serious about video gaming. The problem isn't that BioShock isn't good

I've always said that I don't like kids, and BioShock just proves that little girls are nothing but trouble!
enough to warrant a sequel; it's that the game is too good to be muddied up by the prospect of future games. A BioShock 2 would only cheapen the amazing experience that millions of gamers had with the first game.

If you've spent any amount of time walking around the troubled underwater world of Rapture then you already know that BioShock is a self-contained story, it features a narrative that explains all of the information you need to know about where it

Epic is going to have to develop another twenty Gears of War games before they equal the deep story of BioShock!
came from, what happened to it, and what your place is in this story. By the end of the game you will feel like you've experienced a complete story, there's almost no room for anybody to go in and make a sequel (or, heaven forbid, a prequel). The story is completely self contained; every hook that was introduced into the game was connected to something by the end, so what would the point of a sequel be?

I'm certainly not against video game companies looking at ways to continue their stories, there are a lot of games that simply cannot wrap up their stories in time for the game's ending. A good example of that is Gears of War, a game that left a lot of people confused by the ending and wanting more. I doubt anybody is going to complain when Microsoft inevitably announces that Gears of War II is

If you can't figure out a good name for your sequel then maybe it's not worth making in the first place!
in development. These days most games are made with the intent that they will turn into a franchise, but that's not what happened with BioShock. This is a game where everything that could be said about the story was laid out in the game, going back and filling in extra details or adding to the mythology would be a complete waste of time.

In this way the video game industry isn't that much different from Hollywood. The moment a movie studio starts to smell a blockbuster everybody begins to claw for another installment, even if it doesn't need one. Why else would they have made the absolutely dreadful sequel to Ghostbusters? And don't even get me started on I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.

In some ways a sequel can cheapen the other movies, take Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines as an example. Few would argue

Hey, isn't that the girl from BloodRayne ruining the Terminator franchise?
that the ending of T2: Judgment Day was a great way to conclude that franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-101 sacrifices himself in order to save the world from the evils of Skynet. But this touching moment is to be forever sullied by the release of Terminator 3. This 2003 movie manages to take the emotional finale of one of the greatest action movies of all time and suggest that it didn't really matter, there was no need for the T-101 to sacrifice himself because Skynet's plans are going to continue whether we like it or not. Talk about a slap in the face.

Hopefully the video game industry can learn from the mistakes of Hollywood. While every studio would love to create some sort of long-running franchise, it's important to pick and choose your properties wisely. There was no need for a Raging Bull 2, the world wasn't asking for a second American

I can barely wrap my head around the first Memento, I don't even want to attempt to figure out how they could make a sequel!
Beauty, and I would hate to be the person who has to figure out how to make a sequel to Memento. There are just some movies that don't need sequels, sometimes you can tell a full story in a movie without having to think about future sequels and prequels. And hopefully 2K Games will wise up and realize that BioShock is not the next James Bond movie, it's more like Saving Private Ryan (only without all of the World War II stuff and soldiers and whatnot).

I cringe at the very thought of what a BioShock 2 would be. Would we be forced to revisit the world of Rapture? I hope not, since we pretty much visited every major landmark in this underwater dump. Perhaps in a sequel we learn that Andrew Ryan actually built another utopian world, only this one was on the moon. Or perhaps we go back in time and see what happened to Rapture before everything started falling apart. None of these ideas are particularly good, and that's what troubles me about a proposed second BioShock. I don't see a way for 2K Games to expand

To Catch a Predator would be a whole lot more entertaining is these Big Daddies replaced Chris Hansen!
this universe without forcing some sort of artificial connection between the two games. The game already tells us what happens after you leave Rapture, and if you go around and listen to the 122 audio diaries then you'll already know all you need to about why the city is in shambles. I know it seems foreign to a lot of game players, but BioShock is one of the very few games that is 100% self contained. I think it's time to just leave it the way it is, as a first-person masterpiece.

But just because this game doesn't need a sequel that doesn't mean 2K Games has to completely forget about what made BioShock so amazing. Instead I would hope that they would take some of the gameplay elements that made BioShock the hit of the summer and use them in some of their future games. After all, that's basically what Irrational Games (er, 2K Boston) did when making BioShock. In a lot of ways BioShock is System Shock with a new set of clothes; almost all of the "innovative" aspects

Like BioShock? Then there's a 100% chance you're going to like System Shock!
to the game were pillaged from Irrational's two PC games. I wouldn't mind seeing the same team take everything that made System Shock and BioShock so great and shove it into another similar game with a self-contained storyline. They have a good thing going with these "Shock" games; the last thing I would want to see is for them to cheapen the original experience by offering an unneeded sequel.

Unfortunately this will never happen, three years from now we'll all be gearing up to review the second installment in the BioShock universe. And who knows, maybe 2K Games can actually figure out a way of turning this into a franchise without it feeling too outlandish and forced. But I'm personally against it; part of good storytelling is knowing when to wrap things up. And I think I've made my point, so perhaps it's time for me to just wrap this Feud up and deal with the fact that I'm always going to be in the minority when it comes to the subject of BioShock 2.
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