Why BioShock 4 Needs To Return To Rapture
Saddle up the Big Daddy and prepare the bathysphere because 2K Games is finally moving forward with BioShock 4. After we first plumbed the depths of this watery world in 2007's original BioShock, 2K Games returned with BioShock 2 in 2010 and delivered something wildly different with BioShock Infinite in 2013.
Not that there's anything wrong with the lofty heights of Infinite, but in terms of pure BioShock aesthetic, there's a lot to be said for Andrew Ryan's Rapture. Rapture and its buzzing neon are so iconic, even Infinite couldn't help but return there. It just wouldn't be BioShock without getting our feet wet, and with this in mind, here's why we need to go back to the briny deep for BioShock 4.
Why Is Rapture So Iconic In BioShock?
In terms of legendary video game locations, Rapture is up there with the Mushroom Kingdom, the Wasteland, and Hyrule. However, where Rapture really find its feet is the fact we're thrown into a crumbling city that still functions while being on the cusp of destroying itself.
The events of the OG BioShock let us explore this art deco nightmare, which is still being ruled over by its tyrannical leader, Andrew Ryan. Even though it would've been easy to leave Rapture behind and head somewhere completely new for BioShock 2, the sequel took us back into this horror show and put us inside a Big Daddy, with Sofia Lamb taking over from Ryan as the de facto villain.
By the time we get to the end of the events of "Rapture's Nightmare" (BioShock 2), there are still plenty of citizens living down there, while the promise of a cure for Splicers gives new hope to a brighter future. The only information we get on Rapture after this is a 1980s TV series that refers to it as "a modern-day Atlantis" - suggesting it was never found.
Should We Get A Full-Blown Rapture Game?
The concept of going back to explore a "New Rapture" in a post-Ryan and Lamb era is pretty tempting. Hey, it worked for Jurassic Park being revamped as Jurassic World. Also, who's to say we couldn't revisit Rapture after decades of being away and discovering it as a real modern-day Atlantis? There would definitely be something very Alien: Isolation-esque if a team of explorers had to walk the hallowed halls of Rapture with a lone Big Daddy stalking them.
Then again, part of what has always made Rapture such a must-visit attraction has been the sense of life in its water-logged tunnels. Apart from the lumbering Big Daddies and ADAM-obsessed Little Sisters, rogue Splicers and a colourful crop of NPCs like Sander Cohen, Brigid Tenenbaum, and Dr. Steinman helped flesh out the story and make Rapture feel oddly alive.
But that's just it. Rapture's story was all but done when we rounded off Eleanor's arc. The only reason Infinite's return to Rapture worked was that it served as a prequel. It's true that a game charting the events of Rapture's rise "could" work, but apart from Ryan being a puppet master while the likes of Lamb and Frank Fontaine fought for control and things boiling over in the Civil War, things ran pretty smoothly. The Burial at Sea DLCs were a success because they picked up after Infinite's batsh*t ending and filled in the gaps to bring Elizabeth and Booker into the Rapture we already knew so well.
How BioShock Can Still Honour The Legacy Of Rapture
A 2K job listing asking for someone "to help us breathe life into a new and fantastical world" has already warned that there will be a new place for players to call home for BioShock 4, with sketchy leaks claiming it will be two opposing cities that are basically an above and below ground version of each other - locked in a vertical war. 2K is yet to officially address these leaks, and while it sounds promising, let's take them with a pinch of salt. Other whispers have spoken about an Antarctic City called Borealis, which sounds like another great idea to add another doomed dystopia to BioShock canon.
A whole game set as a return to Rapture might be overkill, but taking a leaf out of Infinite's book, the fourth game can take us back there in a DLC or DLCs. There's also lots to be said about flying high back to Columbia - again, you can make the same arguments for and against why this is a good idea or we should head somewhere new. We say, give us a new city and two DLCs, one for Rapture royalists and one for Columbia Champions.
Unfortunately, with word that BioShock 4 has been restarted since its tentative days of going under the working name of "Parkside", we're likely a way off whatever comes next. When BioShock 4 eventually releases, it's posed to be a new-gen exclusive that could blow the socks off us in terms of visuals. In the meantime, it's about someone at 2K put Rapture in Unreal Engine 5 for that long-rumoured BioShock remaster. Well, would you kindly?