Bioshock: On Ice

As I’m sure most of you will be aware, Bioshock: Infinite is coming very soon. Only 5 days away here in Europe as I write this. And my dear friend Arron, who helped me get into System Shock 2, asked on Twitter: Where can Bioshock go from here? Where could a sequel go?

The Shock games I’ve played, which would be all of them except the first System Shock, have played out in remote places. The player would get stuck in a hostile environment with a very distinct lack of allies, and a lack of power to adequately handle what you were facing. Okay, the latter point might not apply as much to Bioshock 2 (and arguably not to Bioshock 1 either).

The point is being stuck somewhere you can’t just walk away from with limited resources and few friends. So my first thought was a refuge in the Himalayas. (Second thought was Steampunk moon base, but that might as well be Bioshock: Iron Sky.)

Picture this: A city in a remote part of the Himalayas assaulted by endless snowstorms. The weather patterns are so unusual that they draw the attention of an agency which sends out an expedition to try to figure out what is going on, as flyovers (and maybe early satellite imagery depending on who we want to launch this expedition) reveal next to nothing. I imagine this being set in the 60s or 70s.

As the expedition arrives, they discover curious signals coming from inside the stormy area, and a few of them set out to try to brave the storm and discover the source. They find the city, and something forces them inside yet separates them. Maybe only one of them survive. Something contrived like an avalanche, or the yeti-like monsters that stalk the area.

In there the player will discover the story of this society, how they built weather controlling machines, but the machines went haywire and instead of providing ample good weather, the area was locked into an eternal blizzard. They have to try to find a way to switch the machines off so they can get away.

As for who could have migrated up here… Chinese imperialists after the rise of communism? Chinese communists unhappy with how the revolution went, and wanting to develop a better solution? Indian nationalists wanting to get away from the British Imperium? British imperialists looking for a way to preserve/expand the empire? Descendants/remnants of Djengis Khan’s Mongols?

I honestly don’t know. The idea hasn’t progressed that far yet. I was at least thinking that it would be a Chinese expedition, and considering gaming’s general lack of female protagonists, maybe make the player a woman. Possibly unlikely for China at that time period…

That’s a rough sketch of my idea at least, spun out over the past two hours. I’m sure it could be expanded upon, but I currently have other things to do, and I doubt 2K would hire me on to develop this fully. Still an interesting thought experiment.

~Wulf

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Posted on March 21, 2013, in Games, Thoughts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The key idea in all *Shock games is that there’s usually at least two opposing ideas fighting it out with a human tragedy in the middle. In System Shock I, it was Greed, giving way to the machine vs humanity. In System Shock II, it was human control over a mission that gave rise to flesh vs machine. Bioshock was Objectivism vs the criminal/dictator and the dispossessed. Bioshock II was collective altruism vs the right to independence. Bioshock Infinite looks like American Exceptionalism vs everything else.

    For a snowy mountainous “utopia”, it could be the tyranny of enlightened minimalists vs those who believe in building a heaven on earth through progress. A similar plot existed in Aldous Huxley’s Island (a fantastic book if you haven’t read it already) where a island nation seems to live perfectly well through the use of psychedelic mushrooms and social control..vs a dictator in the making who only wants expensive bikes and has a warlord mentor and a mother who wants to exploit the oil on the island to fund her religious crusade to convert millions of people to her religious cult. It might not have enough of a “hook” to be able to hang the *shock mechanics off without a lot more planning however

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