- “There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man, there's always a city...”
- ― Elizabeth[src]
The BioShock series is a video game franchise created by Ken Levine of Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. The main series consists of three retrofuturistic, action-adventure, first-person shooter video games. In addition to the three landmark games, there have been more than a half dozen secondary games, two novels, and a shelved film adaptation. The franchise's next venture is an upcoming, untitled fourth game.
The BioShock games are first-person shooter games. In the first two games, the player is provided with machines that allows them to craft traps and hacking devices, while the third game in the series, BioShock Infinite, only provides vending machines rather than any crafting machinery. Players can use Plasmids and Vigors to augment and enhance their genetic makeup, giving them special abilities. Players can also customize weapons with upgrades and specialized ammo. There are additional light open world elements throughout each game.
- Main article: BioShock
BioShock takes place in 1960, where Jack, the sole survivor of a plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, discovers the entrance to the recluse underwater city of Rapture, at the end of a civil war which left most of it in disrepair. Finding himself trapped in a strange and dangerous dystopia, and with only a mysterious man called Atlas helping him, Jack has no choice but to fight for his survival against Rapture's mutated and monstrous denizens, using all types of weapons and genetic enhancements, as he searches for a way to return to the surface.
- Main article: BioShock 2
Set eight years after the events of the first game, BioShock 2 follows Subject Delta, a prototype Big Daddy sent on a quest to reunite with the Little Sister he was previously bonded to, Eleanor, across a changed and even more dangerous Rapture.
The game explores more brutal gameplay than its predecessor, with new enemies, weapons, Plasmids, and Gene Tonics. It also offers a much more different vision of Rapture, ruled by ideals completely opposed to the vision of the city's founder Andrew Ryan.
BioShock 2: Fall of Rapture
- Main article: BioShock 2 Multiplayer
BioShock 2: Fall of Rapture is the fully featured Multiplayer experience developed by Digital Extremes, included in BioShock 2 and acting as a standalone game with its own content, gameplay, and setting. It was not included in the remastered edition.
The mode takes place approximately a year before the events of the first BioShock, and depicts the events of the Rapture Civil War. The player takes the role of spliced characters testing products for the company Sinclair Solutions, which attempts to cash in on the conflict between Andrew Ryan and Atlas while conducting field testing for Ryan Industries.
- Main article: Minerva's Den (DLC)
Minerva's Den is a single player downloadable content for BioShock 2 and was initially released on August 31, 2010. This additional campaign is a self-contained narrative experience that puts players in the role of another prototype Big Daddy, called Subject Sigma, in a previously unexplored section of Rapture.
Minerva's Den shows a new side of Rapture within Minerva's Den, the high technology district of the city, and explores the backstory of The Thinker, a supercomputer responsible for the control of many automatic devices and systems in the underwater metropolis, and its creator Charles Milton Porter.
- Main article: BioShock Infinite
BioShock Infinite is the third game in the series and takes place in the airborne city of Columbia in 1912, where the player assumes the role of Booker DeWitt, a disgraced ex-Pinkerton agent. Booker has been given the job of finding a mysterious and powerful woman imprisoned in Columbia since birth named Elizabeth in order to wipe his debts away, and the story follows the unlikely duo as they journey to escape the flying city while discovering its twisted secrets.
Following in the footsteps of previous BioShock games, the world of Infinite explores the chaos that results when strong ideals are taken to an extreme. Here, the philosophical concept of "American Exceptionalism" is perverted into ultranationalism, religious fanaticism, and social Darwinism. Flags, patriotic music, and propaganda posters promote the idea that Columbia is a 'haven' from the so-called 'unwanted' of the world, as the player progressively learns more about its society, inhabitants, and the darkness that lies within it.
Burial at Sea
- Main article: Burial at Sea (DLC)
Burial at Sea is a DLC pack for BioShock Infinite. Split into two episodes, Burial at Sea explores Rapture on the eve of the underwater city's fall from grace through the eyes of Booker DeWitt in the first episode, and as Elizabeth in the second.
Untitled BioShock game
- Main article: Untitled BioShock Game
No official title has been given for the game yet. However, the placeholder logo for it, found on Cloud Chamber's website, is named
cc_logo_bio4.png, bio4 standing for BioShock 4.
The game's setting and how it will connect with previous titles is currently unknown.
- Main article: Downloadable Content
The BioShock games have had various downloadable content (DLC), such as expansions and patches. In addition to the story-based expansions that are detailed above, additional non-canonical challenge DLC has been made: The Challenge Rooms for BioShock, The Protector Trials for BioShock 2, and Clash in the Clouds for BioShock Infinite.
The following novels are literary additions to the BioShock series.
- Main article: BioShock: Rapture (Novel)
BioShock: Rapture is a science fiction novel set in the eponymous BioShock universe, and was released on July 19th, 2011. It was written by John Shirley, and published by Tor Books in the U.S.A. and Titan Books in the United Kingdom. Its story covers events from the creation of Rapture up until a point before the first game starts. Both familiar and lesser known characters from the BioShock universe are expanded upon in the story, as well as locations like Apollo Square and Point Prometheus.
BioShock Infinite: Mind in Revolt
- Main article: BioShock Infinite: Mind in Revolt (Novel)
BioShock Infinite: Mind in Revolt is an e-book released on February 13th, 2013, for the Amazon Kindle, and serves as a prequel to BioShock Infinite. Written by Irrational Games writer Joe Fielder, in collaboration with input from Ken Levine, this novel offers an insight story and background of Columbia, as well as motivations for key characters such as Daisy Fitzroy.
A physical replica of the book titled The Psychology of Dissent: Interviews with the Anarchist Daisy Fitzroy was also released by the Irrational Games Store. It contains forty-two pages with additional illustrations and graphics as if published by Comstock House and compiled from handwritten journal notes and typewritten Voxophone transcripts.
BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia
- Main article: BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia
BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia is a tabletop board game from Plaid Hat Games designed by Isaac Vega. Inspired by the video game BioShock Infinite, players can be either the Founders or the Vox Populi, as they must build up an army to defeat their opposing faction and reclaim Columbia. It doesn't follow the storyline of the video game, but instead allows players to create their own scenarios for different storytelling moments. The game features fifty-two '25mm resin miniatures, where eleven of those miniatures are different unique sculpts, cards, dice, and a board drawn by John Ariosa. The game was released around August 2013.