Bioshock 4 Will Reportedly Include An 'Emergent Sandbox World'

Bioshock 4 Will Reportedly Include An 'Emergent Sandbox World'

Written by 

Mel Ramsay


30th Dec 2020 19:50

It seems that the last instalment in the BioShock series is going to be taking a leaf out of Fallout’s book, as it will reportedly be a ‘less linear affair’, with potentially more of a ‘reactive narrative’. 

Believe it or not, it’s been a whole decade since BioShock Infinite. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. One thing’s for sure, a fourth (and last) instalment of the game is in the works. However, there’s not much to go on in terms of storyline or even when it will be released. But do not fear, as a set of job listings seems to have given some sort of insight into the project - courtesy of developer Cloud Chamber. 

For those of you in the know with game developers, this won’t be at all surprising. But for everyone else, here’s a crumb of context. The original developer, Irrational Games, decided to finish on a high with BioShock Infinite. Publisher 2k Games kept the rights, however once 2K Marin was shut down there was talk that BioShock 4 would always be a pipe dream. All of a sudden, the formation of a new studio (hint: Cloud Chamber) was announced by 2K, and they revealed that work HAS started on BioShock 4, however: "it will be in development for the next several years".

So as you can imagine, all eyes have been on Cloud Chamber to see if/when any news would appear. It seems that the time has come, and it’s not just the developer that’s changed. 

Click to enlarge

According to a job listing that went live on their careers page, they were looking for a systems designer, and the listing said that BioShock 4 may be an "emergent sandbox world" featuring "interactive world systems and non-AI systemic ecology, player growth systems and progression and game balance and economy."

This was picked up by Twitter user MauroNL3, who (in a series of Tweets) wrote: “Some more info about the next #Bioshock game can be gathered from recent job listings at developer Cloud Chamber Games. New available jobs include Senior Voice Designer, Game AI Programmer and Lead Systems Designer, and the job descriptions reveal some interesting details. The Senior Voice Designer listing refers to the game as an "ambitious, narratively-driven project full of character and personality" and the applicant is to help design the 'dialogue systems'. This could indicate the game has a dialogue system similar to Fallout for example. Experience with RPG games is also a requirement,

“This translates to the Systems Designer listing as well, where the game is referred as a 'emergent sandbox world'. The applicant is responsible for: "Interactive world systems and non-AI systemic ecology, Player growth systems & progression and Game balance and economy". This could indicate a more open-ended level design, similar to the hub based 'open world' in Bioshock 1&2 rather than the more linear approach of Bioshock Infinite,

“The developer is also trying to make strides in terms of AI as they are creating "a meaningful AI urban crowd system and the systemic tribal ecology of a sometimes hostile AI." and explain that "We think we are trying some new and ambitious things with AI and have high ambitions for tying AI and storytelling together."


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Images via: 2k Games

Mel Ramsay
About the author
Mel Ramsay
Mel is GGRecon's former Editor-in-Chief. She was previously a senior journalist at LADbible.
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