Sources: The New BioShock Has Been In The Works For Years

Sources: The New BioShock Has Been In The Works For Years

This morning, video game publisher 2K announced that it had formed a new studio to work on a brand new BioShock game, the fourth in the popular sci-fi series. It won’t be out for “several years,” the publisher said. What 2K didn’t say is that this project has already been in the works since at least 2015, although it’s been rebooted since then.

The truth is that BioShock 4, code-named Parkside, has existed for years, according to four people familiar with the project. Long before today’s announcement that a new company called Cloud Chamber will develop the next BioShock, 2K had contracted an outside studio to do it. In 2015, Parkside was entering development at Certain Affinity, the Austin, Texas-based studio best known for helping out on huge shooters like Halo and Call of Duty.

This was a big opportunity for Certain Affinity, which was founded in 2006 by ex-Bungie developer Max Hoberman and had mostly subsisted on contract work for external publishers. By the end of 2016, however, 2K had pulled the project out of Austin and decided to take the next BioShock in-house, rebooting it in the process. (2K did not immediately respond to a request for comment this morning.)

It’s not clear why Certain Affinity’s version of Parkside was cancelled—we’ve heard different versions of the story from different people—but by 2017, 2K had moved it to Novato, California, where the publisher’s corporate offices are based. In the coming months, 2K started quietly recruiting staff, including some who had worked on Mafia III at Hangar 13 next door.

This Parkside team stayed small as their new BioShock entered early pre-production. The team remained quiet, even after a Kotaku report revealed its existence in April 2018. And today, two years after the studio formed, 2K has finally announced its existence (along with a sister studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada).

In a press release this morning, 2K said that Cloud Chamber “has started to work on the next iteration of the globally acclaimed BioShock franchise”—presumably the publisher forgot to hit send on the press release back in 2017.

BioShock games are smart, ambitious shooters that take narrative seriously, which is perhaps why all of them have gone through such hellish development cycles. The first BioShock went through a big reboot and brutal crunch at developer Irrational Games. The second BioShock, which was made by a studio called 2K Marin, also put its developers through tough crunch before they moved on to the ill-fated XCOM: The Bureau. This led to 2K quietly shutting down its Marin studio (which the publisher has never acknowledged). The third game, BioShock Infinite shipped in 2013 following years of cuts and reboots. Irrational, the studio behind BioShocks 1 and 3, shut down a year later. Here’s hoping BioShock 4 has better luck.


  • I can almost be certain that they will put DLC into the next game of this title and probably cost a stupid amount to actully buy it.

    • If it’s anything like the amazing Burial At Sea DLC which is essentially an entire game itself, well, no complaints from me!

  • “ BioShock games are smart, ambitious shooters that take narrative seriously”

    This applies to the first two, the third was just silly.

    Hopefully, it’s a lot less of a COD style shooting gallery like Infinite as well.

    • The third was indeed just appalingly glib and far too caught up in how clever it thought it was being.

      I’ve said this in the previous article, but since that’s almost entirely dropped off the front page before anyone had a chance to read it overnight I’ll repeat it here.

      The poor people are just as bad a rich people plot twist was just fatuous, and the powerful and well educate Elizabeth effectively killing herself to live in poverty with an authentic Booker instead (remember, this is the timeline in which he sold her he was so destitute) was completely hokey, implausible and.. well, just stupid.

  • Why do these game companies have to announce games when they are still “several years” away from release? Why not just announce it 2-3 months out so people can get hyped and buy it rather than get hyped, disappointed and then lose interest?

    • It was announced in an investor’s meeting. As a publicly traded company, if they kept their cards too close to their chest, then their stock price would flail around any time they didn’t have an announced game in production in the pipeline.

    • When there’s hundreds of people working multiple years on games like this, expecting to keep it secret until just before release isn’t realistic. If the secret is going to get out, then the publisher may as well get in front of it.

      It’s also nice for the people actually working on the game: if people ask them what they’re working on, they can point at the public press release rather than trying to guess what they’re allowed to talk about.

    • Sure, but there’s Years and then there’s Development Hell. None of us really know one way or another, of course, but if one were to speculate it’s not hard to imagine that elongated timeframes might suggest a touch of the latter.

  • I already consider the utterly fantastic Burial At Sea DLC to be the fourth game. Infinite was incredible (though not as much as the original, despite the original game face-planting into that awful boss fight ending), the only problem was that it was too easy by default, set it to Hard and turn off enemy health bars to get the real experience.

    • Now that we’ve established just how gigantic your phallus is, feel free to move along while the rest of us commiserate about how inadequate we are in comparison.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!