Bioshock

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Fandom
Name: BioShock (series)
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Ken Levine, Irrational Games, 2K Games
Date(s): 2007-2014
Medium: Video Game
Country of Origin: United States; Australia
External Links: Official site
Bioshock logo.png
BioShock Infinite Logo.png
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BioShock is a series of first-person shooter video games set in dystopian societies. The first two games, BioShock (game) (2007) and BioShock 2 (2010), take place in the underwater city of Rapture, where society is based on the Objectivist principles of Ayn Rand. The third game, BioShock Infinite (2013), is set in a floating city in the clouds, governed by the principles of American exceptionalism and pseudo-Christian ideals. This was followed by the episodic expansion BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea (2013-2014), which brings players back to Rapture, but this time with the characters from Infinite.

The Franchise

Games

  • Bioshock (2007)
  • Bioshock 2 (2010)
    • Minerva's Den DLC (2010)
  • Bioshock Infinite (2013)
    • Burial at Sea DLC (2013)

Novels

  • Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley
  • Bioshock Infinite: Mind in Revolt by Ken Levine and Joe Fielder

Synopsis

Bioshock takes place in the underwater city of Rapture in the year 1960. Business tycoon and engineer, Andrew Ryan, built the city in the 1940s as a way to flourish in a utopia totally free of censorship. The opening of the game features a video of Ryan welcoming the player to the city where he gives the following speech to explain Rapture's conception.

I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? "No," says the man in Washington, "it belongs to the poor." "No," says the man in the Vatican, "it belongs to God." "No," says the man in Moscow, "it belongs to everyone." I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor; where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality; where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.

Dr. Brigid Tenebaum, a scientist with a focus on genetics who helped experiment on prisoners during World War II, discovered a sea slug that was able to cure a man of his injuries. She called the substance that the slug created Adam. Adam was used to change everything, as well as splice people's genes, allowing the player to have armored skin or set something on fire with a snap of their fingers. To continue the production of Adam, Tenebaum joined with Frank Fontaine, an underground smuggler, and Dr. Yi Suchong, a researcher that helped develop Adam, to kidnap young girls in order line their stomachs with the sea slug. The girls would then drink the used Adam from corpses in order to produce more. The citizens of Rapture became addicted to Adam, so the girls, Little Sisters, were given protectors in the form of hulking figures in diving bell gear called Big Daddies.

Frank Fontaine and Andrew Ryan began a radical political feud which, along with the widespread Adam addiction, lead to Rapture's downfall.

The player controls a man known as Jack that arrives in Rapture via a crashed plane in the middle of the ocean. Jack's past and the deeper secrets of Rapture are revealed to the player as the game continues. When encountering a Little Sister without a Big Daddy, the player is given the decision to save the girl and get a small amount of Adam or directly harvest the slug for as much Adam as possible which kills the child. The player's decision affect the outcome of the game.

Bioshock 2 takes place in Rapture ten years after the events of the first game. The player controls a special Big Daddy called Subject Delta who's Little Sister is named Eleanor. Eleanor's mother, Sofia Lamb, takes the girl back and uses mind control to force Delta to shoot himself. Delta survives and is revived with the help of Eleanor at the start of the game. Eleanor is now much older and is referred to as a Big Sister. Delta then embarks on a journey to reunite with Eleanor as his bond demands.

The Minerva's Den DLC is an add-on to Bioshock 2. The DLC takes place in Rapture during the same time as the events of Bioshock 2. The player controls a Big Daddy called Subject Sigma. Tenebaum guides Sigma to track down the supercomputer that controls the city.

Bioshock Infinite takes place in 1912 in the airborne city of Columbia. Columbia is a city created with heavy influences to American culture and delves deep into racist ideologies as well as worshiping the Founding Fathers of America. Father Zachary Hale Comstock is the ruler of Columbia. A large group of rebels against the ideals of Columbia, the Vox Populi, is led by Daisy Fitzroy who was framed for the murder of Comstock's wife.

The player controls the actions of former Pinkerton agent, Booker DeWitt, who was sent to Columbia to kidnap Elizabeth Comstock, Zachary Hale Comstock's daughter, in order to clear his name with unnamed forces. Upon meeting Elizabeth, it is revealed that she was being held captive and joins Booker in order to free herself. Elizabeth also has the power to create tears in reality in order to view or travel to other times or places.

The Lutece twins, Rosalind and Robert, help Booker and Elizabeth along their journey. It is revealed that they were responsible for the city being able to float as well as Elizabeth's abilities.

By the end of the game, connections between Columbia, Rapture, the characters, and themes involved begin to become clear.

The Burial at Sea DLC is an add-on to Bioshock Infinite. The game takes place in Rapture right before the events of the original Bioshock game. Booker is a private detective who is hired by Elizabeth to search for a particular Little Sister. The end of the DLC reveals that Elizabeth was directly responsible for the events in the original game.

Fandom

The BioShock fandom is small, but has grown significantly since the release of BioShock Infinite. As of October 2014, there are about 550 fanworks set in the various BioShock universes, with fanart and cosplay also playing a large part in the fandom.

Relationships

The most popular pairings on AO3 are:

Notable Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanfiction

Fanart

WARNING: Much of the below fanart contains spoilers.

Cosplay

Controversies

Bioshock 2 Bugs and Canon

While the release of Bioshock 2 was heavily awaited, the outcome divided many fans about the franchise. Technical problems included bugs on the PC version that made the game completely unplayable for many players without specific and much later released patches. Many players also didn't care for the story, citing that the game was not even canon because the creator, Ken Levine, had no hand in the game at all. While true enough, his creative team from Take-Two that also worked heavily on the original Bioshock was the crew in charge of Bioshock 2. Despite fan controversies, the game has since grown a fanbase over the years.

Infinite's Themes

The themes in Bioshock Infinite intentionally focused heavily on the antagonists' racism of black, Asian, and Irish people as well as creating a world of people blinded by the idea of God and worshiping false idols. The game received heavy criticism from various groups of white supremacists. The racist and white supremacist art used by the game's antagonists were also ironically copied and used by Fox News and the Tea Party movement.

Dissolving Irrational Games

Shortly before the Burial at Sea DLC was released in 2013, Ken Levine announced that he was dissolving the Take-Two company of Irrational Games in order to focus on smaller projects, effectively announcing the end of the Bioshock franchise. This was a decision made heavily by Take-Two that was ultimately left up to Levine.

In 2017, Irrational Games changed their name to Ghost Story Games which continued to produce a remastered compilation pack of Bioshock for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4. Levine, however, has gone on record to say that a new Bioshock game may still not happen in an interview with GameSpot. "I think the natural expectation was that I would go and do the next bigger and better BioShock game. And I felt, 'I think I'll fail if I do that. I think I'll lose my mind, and my marriage.' And so my solution was to quit."

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