Bioshock 4 Will Be an Open-world Game With Next-Generation AI

BioShock 4 has shed some hints about the game's style, implying that the fourth installment will revert to a fan-favorite feature from the first. Cloud Chamber, the team working on the next BioShock adventure, has released new job listings revealing the game's "open-world" philosophy.

The BioShock series has been praised for its atmospheric level design, with the first installment helping to revolutionize the gaming industry's constrained story spaces. It's unclear how it will play out in an open-world environment, whether that means returning to an open-world Rapture or anything else altogether, but it does seem to have the potential to advance the series.

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A BioShock game set in an open environment will be a major departure for the series. Previous rumors have suggested that BioShock 4 will use dialogue trees, and the game's open-world environment makes this seem more plausible, as it will more likely lean more deeply into RPG territory. One of the key components of the role is "primary and secondary" mission design, implying that there will be some kind of side quest to divert players' attention away from the main plot.

The BioShock series hasn't seen a new game in over eight years, with BioShock Infinite releasing in 2013 – and causing some backlash at the time. However, BioShock 4 is in progress, and according to a recent work listing, it could be shaking up the franchise's format in a whole new direction, perhaps even allowing players to experience an open-world environment.

"Cloud Chamber is looking for a Senior Writer to join our talented Narrative team to bring the world of BioShock to life once again. Under the supervision of the Lead Writer, and collaborating closely with the Narrative and Design teams, our Senior Writer will craft memorable narrative arcs, write dialogue, and breathe life into our characters. Experience in writing for games, with a particular aptitude for managing the nuances of interactive storytelling, would be ideal for this role. We're hoping to find someone who can weave impactful, character-driven stories in an open world setting."

Cloud Chamber is now hiring a senior world planner, which supports the open-world philosophy. "Someone who loves making the little moments in a World that thrill the player, reinforce the Narrative of the world, and make the game world feel alive inspiring players to linger and explore," according to the job description.

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Here's what we know about the new BioShock, per job listings:
  • Systemic gameplay with advanced AI
  • First-person shooter
  • It Will feature an "urban crowd system" as well as tribes
  • Set in the fantastical locale
  • Built-in Unreal Engine 4 (with possible UE5 upgrades)
  • Coming to next-gen consoles
  • Won't be ready for a couple of years
Although plot specifics are yet to be released, certain gameplay elements have been pointed at, including the fact that it will indeed be a first-person shooter with AI and busy urban environments. A job posting for an AI programmer to create an "urban crowd scheme" and "the systemic tribal ecology of an often violent AI" is also available.

Finally, though the senior game designer role didn't say anything, it did state that the person in that position would focus on "first-person camera design." Unlike the first BioShock title, which included open-ended stages and explorable environments, BioShock 2 and BioShock: Infinite chose to develop more linear experiences in 2010. Both games had sections that couldn't be revisited until they were done.

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The video game developer 2K announced BioShock 4 in 2019. "We can't wait to see where the strong storyline and classic, first-person shooter gameplay go in the future with our new studio team at Cloud Chamber leading the push," 2K President David Ismailer said at the time of the game's release.

BioShock 4 is currently being worked on. At this time, no release date has been scheduled.
 

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