Developers of critically acclaimed, fan adored BioShock series have just drop one hell of a hint on its next project. Cloud Chamber Studio revealed in its January press release that development of the next iteration of the series was underway. Its formed from a number of developers involved in the original title, and several more from the excellent squeals. It certainly promises big things for BioShock 4.
The press release at the time revealed scant detail about the project however. Other than announcing that BioShock4 would be a next gen release, and would be in development for several years, little else was unveiled. But reading between the line of its recent job postings, it seems more and more likely that the studio may be departing from the laser focused, narrative path well-trodden from earlier successes. It seems Cloud Chamber are breaking fresh ground here, and all signs point to an RPG.
Always Read the Small Print
Cloud Chamber have advertised a host of new roles, which seem to confirm suspicions of this change in direction. A snippet from a Senior Voice Designer paints the upcoming title as “ambitious, narratively-driven project full of character and personality”. A key requirement of the role is front and centre; the successful applicant must have RPG experience, which will be core in informing the game’s “dialogue systems”. Systems imply choice, of course, which would be a new move from the series. Saucy.
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A second listing for a Systems Designer adds further colour to the expansive palate, describing the sequel as inhabiting an “emergent sandbox world”. The listing goes on, elaborating that this new world will include “interactive world systems and non-AI systemic ecology, player growth systems and progression and game balance and economy”. Breaking that down, “player growth systems” reads a lot like a core staple in typical RPGs. As Wiki puts it “A key feature of the genre is that characters grow in power and abilities”. In other words, we would expect the next BioShock to have a skill tree, much like Fallout 4, or Skyrim, for example.
Game balance, and economy also speak to a less linear path. For example, where a player remains the same “level” throughout the experience, balance is fairly neutral throughout the experience. FPS games typically stick to this mechanic. Think COD, or Doom for example. Conversely, when the player can “level up” effectively changing, let’s say, how hard they can hit, then balance becomes much more intricate.
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The final, tantalizing piece in the puzzle is found in yet another listing. Cloud Chamber describe the world they are creating as requiring “a meaningful AI urban crowd system”, and encourages the applicant to think of “new and ambitious things with AI”. Imagine Rapture, but with it’s crazed denizens reacting differently to your character depending on various circumstance. The possibility of the next BioShock implementing a system more akin with a Lionhead (god rest its soul) production has me more than a little giddy.
Would you kindly…
Whatever shape the new BioShock takes, its clear that Cloud Chamber are lacking not at all in ambition. We wait with baited breath to see who eventually take these exciting new roles. But after it all we are left with just one question. Would you kindly hurry up development!
Source; Games Radar