Masquerade poster

A poster advertising the 1959 Masquerade Ball.

So, it's begun?

The 1958 New Year's Eve Riots were the beginning of the Civil War between Atlas and Andrew Ryan for control of Rapture. The attacks started an economic crash and disruptions throughout the entire city, as the panic from the violence caused citizens to withdraw their money out of the banks, and stop going to work or buying many consumer goods. Many banks folded, resulting in the closure of many businesses due to lack of patrons. More citizens began to splice out of fear, creating a much more unstable populace. It was just the start of the rampaging murder and violence which brought the city to near ruin.


Atlas and a few of his followers were trapped in Fontaine's Department Store along with Frank Fontaine's menagerie of Splicers and employees associated with Fontaine. In an attempt to increase his numbers, Atlas set out to recruit those within the facility with promise of revenge and righteousness, which included swaying the spliced masses. He was able to keep tabs on news as well as relay information or warnings to and fro via telegraph from his fellow rebels up in Rapture. It was uncertain when they were going to get out, so a date for the attack was not clear. Some suggestions were Arcadia on Valentine's Day or Fort Frolic on the 5th of November, Rapture's Founding. The Adonis Luxury Resort, the Farmer's Market, and Pharaoh's Fortune Casino where also possible targets, but thanks to Elizabeth, they got out just in time for the New Year's Eve celebration at the Kashmir Restaurant. When the time came, Atlas had sent the message for his people to prepare.

On December 31, 1958, Atlas led a number of lower-class citizens in a series of attacks on Rapture's upper-class areas and population. The place that hit first and hardest was the Kashmir Restaurant, which was hosting a New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball, filled with the city's affluent and influential people. An audio diary was recorded by Diane McClintock at the exact moment when the explosions and attack began: New Year's Eve Alone. Diane was attending the party at the Kashmir Restaurant, but in the middle of the diary she was injured by an explosion and cut the recording short.

During the riots, power to the Ryan Amusements park was cut, resulting in the park being cut off from rest of Rapture. This lead to the demise of many citizens caught inside the park at the time, including Nina Carnegie with a whole third grade class.

New Year's Eve 1958 was also the night Sofia Lamb escaped from the Persephone Detention Facility to retrieve her daughter, Eleanor Lamb. The Adonis also threw a seperate masquerade themed New Years party. While the location was a possible target for the rioters, unlawful behavior was occurring even before midnight. The bonded Subject Delta and Eleanor were on an ADAM gathering mission when they came across the corpse of a woman in her festive attire in a private room just off the main party space. Moments later, the duo were attacked by a group of Splicers from the Rapture Family, under the leadership of Sofia Lamb. Eleanor was taken back by her mother, and Delta was forced into committing suicide by Sofia Lamb while he was under the influence of the Hypnotize Plasmid.


New Year's Eve in Rapture - 1958-1959

New Year's Eve in Rapture - 1958-1959

BioShock 2's viral audio broadcast of the New Year's Eve riots, hosted by Rapture Radio.


Behind the Scenes

  • In BioShock 2, an earlier version of the game let the player experience the New Year's Eve celebrations and the riots through the eyes of Subject Delta. The game's intro level was to be set at the Welcome Center on New Year's Eve, and would involve the Big Daddy protecting Eleanor while the riots took place, all the while guided by Sofia Lamb on radio. It was to conclude with Lamb betraying Delta and having him killed to recover her daughter. This prelude level was eventually cut and replaced with the Adonis Luxury Resort and the opening cinematic for the game. The only elements left of this removed level are the loading screen images of a pre-fall Kashmir (based on the original map from BioShock), concept art, and the transcript of radio messages associated with it.
    • Some aspects from the pre-fall Welcome Center were also reused for the Adonis' party area seen during the opening cinematic, resulting in it having a similar appearance to the Kashmir.
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