BioShock 4 Should Get More Personal With Its Philosophies

Nice care was taken within the unique BioShock to place philosophy entrance and middle. The anticipated BioShock 4 will probably have an analogous philosophical focus, because the collection’ non secular predecessor, System Shock 2, was a deeply considerate piece of science fiction inspecting the implications of synthetic intelligence whereas boasting a wholesome dose of futuristic horror. Even BioShock Infinite’s city-wide ziplines and barely confused storytelling explored the implications of philosophical theories, and this shined via its time journey and dimension hopping.

The faculties of thought Infinite explored have been totally different to the primary recreation, nevertheless it nonetheless saved that very same fascination with philosophy. BioShock 4 is confronted with a novel drawback by way of what it ought to middle thematically. The primary BioShock introduced a masterful critique of sure political philosophies (each narratively and mechanically), whereas Infinite meddled with metaphysics to inform its story.

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To differentiate itself from these beloved titles, the fourth recreation must middle extra private, and fewer theoretical, philosophies as a part of its subject material. BioShock 4’s RPG mechanics might even play into how that is explored in recreation. Themes of private selection and participant company could be very attention-grabbing to see play out within the fourth recreation.

BioShock’s Philosophical Journey


After System Shock 2 refined what a deep dive into the thorny philosophical implications of synthetic intelligence might appear like, its developer Trying Glass Video games closed. A number of of its members, together with designer Ken Levine, went on to begin Irrational Video games, which designed some video games with comparable themes. Beneath the identify 2K Boston, the corporate created BioShock, which explored the significance of that means, company, and intention. It did this not simply by way of concept, but in addition what these ideas imply for gaming itself.

BioShock accommodates a bleak depiction of what may occur below an unfettered system of objectivism. This philosophy champions an antiquated splendid of rugged individualism and meritocracy to create a “excellent” society, one with out fail-safes for individuals deemed “weak.” The caricatures that hang-out a damaged Rapture function placing indictments of this philosophy and what it’d devolve into in apply. The intelligent a part of BioShock is how the shortage of selection these programs may create is mirrored by the participant’s company as they’re toyed with by antagonist Frank Fontaine.

After BioShock 2 explored comparable themes to its predecessor, Infinite took a flip away from critiques of naive individualist political philosophies, and as a substitute toyed with time journey. Its narrative is just too tangled to succinctly summarize, however the temporal mechanics indicate that protagonist Booker Dewitt has a lot much less private company than implied. Thus, there’s a actually robust throughline of bigger, structural philosophies undermining the company of the person participant all through this collection.

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A Smaller-Scale BioShock Philosophy

BioShock Happy New Year

There are a number of totally different philosophical faculties of thought that BioShock 4 might (and may) draw from. Whereas there are many reasons why BioShock 4 might leave Rapture behind, there’s nonetheless extra that may very well be executed with the setting. If BioShock 4 have been to revisit Rapture, it ought to let gamers embody characters simply after (or throughout) its decline with a contact of absurdist philosophy.

A recreation like this may very well be harking back to Samuel Beckett’s Ready for Godot, however as a substitute housing its existentially doomed characters inside BioShock’s iconic sunken city. If BioShock 4 has a very new location, it’d need to deal with a brand new set of concepts too.

BioShock 4’s Philosophical Setting

Bioshock 4 Frank Fontaine Antagonist

Rumored BioShock 4 RPG mechanics would indicate it will be a extra expansive recreation than an absurdist journey via a damaged Rapture. Utilitarianism stands as probably the most extensively identified philosophies on the market. It is pretty easy: maximizing good or decreasing hurt for as many individuals as potential is a web constructive. As with most philosophical theories, this could have tough penalties when taken to logical extremes – making it an ideal potential setting for BioShock 4.

Games like The Forgotten City experiment with an analogous concept, utilizing a society run below one “golden rule” that goals to scale back hurt. If the society of BioShock 4 is run below a strict utilitarian framework, it might supply some actually attention-grabbing insights into the thought of fine and unhealthy endings in video games – in addition to proceed the collection’ commentary on free will.

BioShock 4 is at the moment in improvement.

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