It’s been quite a while since we last heard about Ken Levine, the small indie developer who steered the creation of 2K’s hit 2007 title Bioshock.
He’s one of the brightest people in the video-game industry, so it’s safe to say we want to keep pace. Right now, we learned Kevin Levine is working on a new FPS with RPG elements, and we’ve got enough insight to share.
This time around, though, he’s working as Ghost Story Games Studio. He’s the original creator of Irrational Games, which merged with none other than 2K and Take-Two Interactive.
“BioShock is a shooter unlike any other, loaded with unique weapons and tactics. Complete with an arsenal of revolvers, shotguns, and grenade launchers, players will be forced to genetically modify their DNA to become an even deadlier weapon.”
|Windows 7/8/10, macOS PC (Remaster &Original)|
Xbox One (Remaster)
PlayStation 4 (Remaster)
|October 7, 2020|
|2K Games / Take-Two Interactive||Irrational Games / 2K Boston|
What can we say about Bioshock that you don’t already know? It’s such a fantastic game that’s present on almost every platform. Similarly, many studios and distributors have gotten their hands on the title to produce remasters and reissues. The world can’t get enough of the original RPG FPS.
Bioshock tells the story of Jack as he discovers the underwater fallen city of Rapture. Formerly led by dreamer Andrew Ryan, Rapture is now a dystopia that promised every person was the owner of their efforts.
By 1960, Rapture is but a museum of failure. It was a gorgeous promise, indeed, but somehow it lost its way.
The equalitarian society discourse turned dark and grim when the citizens began experimenting with a rare resource. “Adam,” as they call it, can bestow humans with powers enough to survive on the dreaded abandoned city.
“Adam” created the “Splicers,” none other than crazy empowered humans filling the world with terror. There’s also the “Big Daddy,” lurking around Rapture to harness the “Adam” for themselves.
The perfect sequel
As you explore around Rapture to find the way out, you’ll take on stealth, gunplay, superpowers, and upgrades. The RPG elements include weapons, passive skills, weapon upgrades, powers, and such.
You start from nothing, like an outsider. By the end of the game, you’ll realize your role on Rapture is much deeper and meaningful than a mere coincidence. I’d dare say you are the true villain of the story.
Bioshock has one best antagonist in the game industry, an immersive city, memorable horror elements, sweat gameplay, and a fantastic plot. Would you kindly play it?
The second installment goes full circle as you’ll the role of a Big Daddy. Playing as the old enemy, though, you are now a hero trying to save what’s left of the derelict city.
Both games are single-player only, though. And because they are rather old, the campaing is shorter than modern titles. A regular gamer could end the game on 12 hours, but it could be much less.
The original Bioshock creators
There’s a lot of confusion regarding Bioshock’s creators. Ken Levine wrote the game as Irrational Game’s debut title.
He then crafted an alliance with 2K as Bioshock presented a massive task, an endeavor for current technology.
That’s why a variety of 2K game studios worked together to develop the franchise. Moreover, Irrational Games changed its name to 2K Boston. Then, another group of 2K studios worked on the Remaster version.
Right now, Bioshock is a corporate endeavor, although it all started as an indie experiment. Levine left the saga after it became a massive success. He claimed he wanted to maintain the game “small,” “intimate,” and “indie.”
That’s probably why Ghost Story Games is a small studio by the industry standards.
Ken Levine’s new RPG
According to a job ad for a senior producer position, Ghost Story Games works on a sci-fi immersive FPS simulator with RPG elements.
It would be the studio’s first game since they began working on 207. Likely, they’ve been working on their debut title ever since.
The studio explains the game is in its “late stages of production.” We’re talking about a small 35-people studio, though, so it could take a while.
Furthermore, the job ad gave us some insight into the studio’s internal operations:
“We are known for having genuine open communication with a flat structure (…) You’re welcome to join any meeting, walk up to (or Slack) anyone and have your voice heard. Team-based decision making is important to us, regardless of your position–every opinion counts and matters!”
Looking at their corporate communication, it seems Ghost game studio takes its cues from Valve. It follows a horizontal business structure with a single person at the head.
Ken Levine is commanding the whole operation, and we can only hope Valve’s work values plus Levine’s mind produces terrific results.
A Bioshock sequel is real
There isn’t much to say, I admit. Still, it sounds like Ghost Story Games is working on something interesting.
Let me complete the story by saying the Cloud Chamber studio is working on a new BioShock title.
It’s old news, though, something we learned in December 2019. It’s also not very exciting for some, given that the Bioshock series has jumped towards several studios over the last decade.
Cloud Chamber is a brand new 2K studio. Veteran Bioshock developers -albeit without Ken Levin- created the company to craft the next entry of the series.
“Cloud Chamber is hard at work on the next entry in the critically acclaimed BioShock series. Our team consists of veteran BioShock developers and expert game makers from other mind-blowing titles, and together we’re going to create worlds that you’ll want to experience.”
The studio has its headquarters in San Francisco, Montreal. Kelley Gilmore is at the helm. However, she doesn’t have many experiences as a storyteller or creator. She’s more of an accomplished publisher with series like XCOM and Civilization on her portfolio.
Other than that, we don’t know anything else about the upcoming Bioshock.
The last entry of the FPS/RPG saga was Bioshock Infinite in 2013. Then, we saw the remastered bundle (Bioshock I & II + Infinite) for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2016.
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If you haven’t played Bioshock yet, I strongly advise you to try it. The trilogy has one of the best stories ever seen on video games, even though the third entry sets itself apart with a new location and new characters.
Moreover, the designs of the two cities (Rapture and Columbia) is mindblowing. With a hint of steampunk, touches of American patriotism, and plenty of commentary against modern society, the cities are something you’re going to want to explore.
As for the gameplay, Bioshock invented how it feels to wield a gun on one hand and power on the other.
Regarding the upcoming Bioshock…I don’t know. It may feel odd without its original creator.