When Bioshock first launched on Microsoft platforms in 2007, it earned almost universal acclaim from fans and critics alike. Ken Levine and the team at Irrational Games, then temporarily called 2K Boston after being purchased by Take-Two Intearactive, were aiming to create a spiritual successor to the classic PC game System Shock. The project was in development for five years, but the end result was well worth the wait. The game took home numerous awards for its design, music, and story and spawned a new franchise for Take-Two.
There are now three games in the series – Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and Bioshock Infinite. Ken Levine and his team were only responsible for the first and third game in the series, with the middle title developed by 2K Marin. Bioshock Infinite would take Irrational Games another five years to develop and while it was well-received, the game’s long production cycle proved costly. It was announced about a year after Infinite‘s release that Irrational would be shutting down.
Ken Levine and a team of 15 stayed with Take-Two, stating they would be stepping away from the Bioshock license to create smaller, more personal games. No new entries in the Bioshock series have been officially announced, but there is a rumored project in the works currently at 2K Marin. A different rumor has suggested a Bioshock collection is coming to the current generation of consoles, possibly to build anticipation for a new game.
According to Gamespot, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick reiterated that Bioshock was an important franchise for the company. While speaking at the MKM Partners Investor Day conference in New York, he took a moment to confirm the company’s commitment to the franchise:
“The franchise is in the hands of 2K. They’ll make announcements in due time about any upcoming releases. But ‘Bioshock’ is unquestionably a permanent franchise for our company and one that we do believe in.”
The staying power of the Bioshock franchise is a point that Take-Two has repeatedly driven home since Irrational closed early last year. The franchise has sold over 25 million units combined, so it’s easy to see why the owner of the IP would want to continue pushing the brand.
2K Marin has already proven themselves capable with the release of Bioshock 2 and the DLC story pack Minerva’s Den. The stories do take place in Rapture, the world Levine and Irrational created for the first game, but Marin expanded the mythology and told their own original stories in the game. The game paid respect to the source material, but was also allowed to experiment and iterate on the existing formulas. Continued experimentation will keep the franchise from getting stale and possibly provide gamers with even better entries down the road.