- “I am Andrew Ryan, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No,' says the man in Washington, 'it belongs to the poor.' 'No,' says the man in the Vatican, 'it belongs to God.' 'No,' says the man in Moscow, 'it belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose… Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.”
- ― Andrew Ryan[src]
Rapture (also known as the North Atlantic Project and the Rapture Colony) is a massive underwater city forged from the personal dreams of Andrew Ryan to escape from the political, social and religious constraints of a post-World War II world. It was first established on November 5, 1946, and construction of the city itself finished in late 1951. It is located at 63° 2' N, 29° 55' W, approximately 433 kilometers west of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
- Main article: Society in Rapture
Andrew Ryan named his city after the goal he set in mind: to create a paradise free from the influence of those he deemed "Parasites"; a place of true rapture.
In terms of its philosophical underpinnings, Rapture can best be described as a "gulch", (a term derived from Galt's Gulch in the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged), which is a localized underground economic and social community of free-minded individuals. It differs from a commune in that it is uniquely freedom-focused and so upholds individual and property rights rather than operating by the rules of a collective community.
The original goal of Rapture was to create a laissez-faire society free of religious and government interference of any kind, where any citizen could prosper for his or her own gain, without being hindered by the needs of others. The "world’s best and brightest" would be granted freedom of will and choice in Rapture, unrestrained by government, religion and other such established institutions. Instead of abiding by the traditions and moral systems imposed by those institutions, values such as ambition, scientific reason, and free thought were to guide the inhabitants in their pursuit of achievement.
This would-be utopia had its flaws. In Rapture's purely capitalistic society, there were no publicly-funded social programs, and everything within the city was privately owned and came with a price. This included the city's food, healthcare, sanitation, and even its oxygen supply. Even police and fire departments were subscription-based private companies such as Poppadopolis Police Department and Fontaine Fire Fighters. There were less restricted norms for businesses and labor, with nothing but competition and customer's choice balancing the market. This allowed many industries to flourish at first, but also led to unscrupulous business practices.
This system alienated Rapture's less fortunate citizens, who, as their situation deteriorated, began to resent Ryan's society as cold-hearted and elitist. Andrew Ryan's hostility and growing paranoia towards "Parasites", and others he suspected of undermining his vision kicked into motion a chain of events that would ultimately lead to Rapture's downfall, and Ryan's as well.
"I test you... but for a reason. I test all my disciples. Some shine like galaxies, and some... some burn like a moth at the flame!" - Sander Cohen
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Rapture began as a dream of Andrew Ryan's long before its construction. Ryan had begun contemplating such a place at least a decade before a viable location was chosen. He had escaped Belarus just before it became a part of the Soviet Union under the rule of Communism and had worked his way to become an industrial mogul in America. He had come to view workers' unions, left-wing collectivists, politicians selling altruism, and organized religion as Parasites ruining man's life on Earth. He explored the idea of a closed-off society, of collecting achievers and those who believed in the empowering of the individual and allowing them to flourish in some remote location uncontaminated by the rest of the world. When the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the Second World War, and the USSR was on its own path to nuclear weapons, Ryan foresaw the inevitable destruction of humanity in a war ending in nuclear fire. Ryan wasted no time in contacting like-minded individuals and marshaling his resources into realizing his vision. His city, Rapture, would be built on the seafloor in the North Atlantic, with a suitable location being picked in between Iceland and Greenland. One of the first involved was Sullivan, a trusted man who was already in Ryan's employment at the time. With Sullivan's experience in law enforcement, he was made head of Rapture's security. Ryan gathered many construction experts and secured the architects Simon Wales and Daniel Wales to draft the design for many of Rapture's buildings. Needing workers to build Rapture, Ryan hired many of the most talented and skilled engineers, workmen and mechanics. Many, like Bill McDonagh, shared Ryan's ideals and saw Rapture as a new start where they could rise above the impairments of the parasite-ridden world.
Beginning in late 1945, Ryan contracted a series of companies to begin the construction of Rapture at the selected location between Iceland and Greenland. Ryan and his associates secured the manufacturing materials in secret so as to avoid attracting unwanted attention. These resources were then transported by ships like the Olympian thousands of miles across the North Atlantic to the project site. There, the materials were submerged to the ocean floor via a giant State-of-the-Art submersible platform nicknamed "The Sinker." Deep sea welders and mechanics created a foundation for the city by sinking pilings and girders deep into the rock and silt. Eventually "The Sinker" was permanently anchored on the sea bottom. Pre-fabricated buildings with frames of aluminum were assembled near the surface, submerged and lowered using lunette rings, and anchored into the foundations, thus creating the Art Deco metropolis. By November 5, 1946, Rapture began receiving its first residents. The major construction period continued until the end of the 1940s, with smaller projects continuing in and around the city until Rapture's construction was fully completed by 1951. As Rapture's economy and population grew, new construction projects were financed, and the city expanded into a sprawling metropolis.
Rise and Fall (1946-1958)
From its initial opening to inhabitation in 1946 onwards, Rapture flourished. Newly built with the latest technological marvels from the surface and possessing an active and growing economy supported by capital, idealism and a new population, Rapture seemed well on its way towards becoming the free-market utopia Ryan had envisioned. Compared to most of the surface world, Rapture could indeed be seen as a utopia, with everyone having the right to freely reap the rewards of their own labor.
However, despite its apparent success, cracks soon began to emerge within Rapture's society, specifically, between the social classes. Being a pure individualist, laissez-faire society that rejected market restrictions, labor laws, and even altruism, Rapture subtly became a breeding ground for greed, elitism and other negative aspects related to capitalism. It wasn't long before a growing wedge was driven between the upper and lower classes of the city's society. Being devoid of any social programs, labor unions, charities and or any such organizations aimed at supporting the less fortunate elements of society (due to Andrew Ryan condemning such programs as "parasitic"), the poor of Rapture were left with little to no means of improving their economic standing, and many found themselves lying hungry on the bunk beds of dingy flophouses. The economic system of Rapture alienated the city's working class who, as the social gap widened, began to resent Ryan's society as cold-hearted and elitist.
Andrew Ryan's hostility and paranoia towards so-called "Parasites", and others he believed were exploiting Rapture's freedoms resulted in him issuing an edict, ordering that all contact with the outside world be severed. This was intended to ensure Rapture's safety by keeping the city's existence secret from the surface world, which was now in the midst of the Cold War.
Things seemed to take a turn for the better at some point between 1948 and 1952 when Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum discovered ADAM, a chemical substance that, if refined into a special serum called a Plasmid and used alongside an actuating chemical called EVE, would allow the user to alter their genetic code without any limits whatsoever aside from their own imagination, allowing the user to change themselves according to their own design and needs. This development led to a huge upswing in productivity and ADAM soon became an integral part of Rapture's society, ushering in a golden age of productivity and creativity.
Unfortunately for Rapture, ADAM turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. While it enabled its user with incredible potential, ADAM, like other powerful drugs, also turned out to be extremely addictive. After repeated usage, the consumer would slowly develop an extreme dependency, forcing them to take more ADAM to satisfy their cravings. Without a steady supply of ADAM, the withdrawal symptoms could drive a user insane. Users quickly got hooked and the demand only increased as use of the wonder drug became more fashionable across the city. Worse yet, the unstable nature of the genetic alteration required users to consume even more ADAM with every subsequent dose just to stave off gradual degradation of the body and breakdown of the mind. This snowball effect of ADAM abuse escalated the cycle of chemical addiction and brought with it an insatiable hunger for more ADAM across Rapture society.
This craze enabled a man named Frank Fontaine to build a criminal empire through smuggling goods from the surface, allowing him to obtain the funds to finance the creation of a sprawling ADAM industry. The mass production of ADAM only served to exacerbate Rapture's addiction to the chemical, with it soon becoming vital for Rapture's continued function. People went from merely wanting ADAM to fully needing ADAM as their addiction grew. As a result, Fontaine's power and influence over Rapture increased greatly and he soon begun to draw up plans for exploiting the class struggle to overthrow Andrew Ryan and take over Rapture for himself.
Societal Collapse (1958-1960)
Despite initially admiring Frank Fontaine's success and citing him as a prime example of the kind of individual Rapture was aiming to create, Andrew Ryan soon began to suspect Fontaine of various crimes, including the ongoing smuggling problem. With Fontaine's growing criminal influence over Rapture's less fortunate inhabitants and his monopoly on ADAM production, he was becoming a powerful rival, and was beginning to threaten the social order of Rapture. Things finally came to a head in 1958 when Ryan attempted to arrest Fontaine but Fontaine, resisting arrest, was killed in the ensuing shootout between his followers and Ryan's forces. After Fontaine's apparent death, Ryan, with the support of the oligarchic Rapture Central Council assumed control of Fontaine's corporate assets.
The population's worsening addiction to ADAM soon brought with itself a gradual deterioration of order, followed by widespread civil unrest. This was further worsened when a revolutionary named "Atlas" rallied the masses who had flocked to Fontaine's poorhouses and instigated a guerilla war aimed at overhauling Rapture's society. This forced Andrew Ryan to take drastic measures to restore order, as seen by his resorting to increasingly authoritarian means to maintain control, including dissolving the Rapture Central Council and installing himself as the city's despotic ruler. Ryan began issuing ever more restrictive laws to limit people's freedoms and introducing increasingly harsh punishments towards "problem citizens".
On December 31, 1958, a massive working-class uprising—the 1958 New Year's Eve Riots—was launched by Atlas, with revolutionaries carrying out attacks against many upper-class locations, such as the Kashmir Restaurant. This soon escalated into an all-out civil war between Atlas and Ryan, made worse by the mental degradation caused by ADAM addiction in the city's population. Traditional projectile weapons were used, and were soon joined by Plasmids, first by Atlas' splicers and later employed by Ryan's supporters. As the conflict went on, a Plasmid-fueled genetic arms race took shape, with both sides using more and more Plasmids on themselves to gain an edge against their adversaries. As was quoted by Bill McDonagh in one of his audio journals, the conflict hinged not on who could build the best guns and the biggest bombs, but who could become "less of a man and more of a monster".
The bulk of the conflict lasted for around four months, with the continuing violence causing great destruction to cohesive society and serious damage to the infrastructure within Rapture. Escalating violence caused a greater dependence on Plasmids for combatants and civilians alike, and soon the city was engulfed in chaos. In the multiplayer mode of BioShock 2, the player gets to participate in the warfare which was part of the fall of Rapture. The chaos and devastation of the Rapture Civil War, accelerated by economic turmoil and ADAM-addiction, caused society to collapse. A large portion of the population degenerated into ADAM-addicted Splicers while most of the rest were either killed by the Splicers, committed suicide or, in some cases, starved. The city built to serve as a refuge for human ambition had become a ruined shell home only to its victims.
Events of BioShock (1960)
By 1960, Fontaine—posing as Atlas—was feeling the pressure of Ryan's legion of pheromone-controlled Splicer forces. In a last-ditch effort to turn the tide in his favor, he summoned his "Ace-in-the-Hole", Jack, to track down and kill Ryan, enabling Fontaine to take over the city. After a year of ceaseless civil war and ruinous violence, Rapture is severely damaged and teetering on the verge of total collapse. Water constantly leaks in virtually every corner, and Splicers roam about the passageways looting or killing everything in sight. As bad as it is though, Rapture is still being held together by Ryan. Automated repair systems and the Big Daddies keep the city from falling apart.
Mistaking Jack for a CIA or KGB spy sent to report Rapture's location, Ryan sends waves of Splicers to deal with him, to no avail. Losing his patience, Ryan chooses to destroy Arcadia's trees, depriving the city of its oxygen supply, and trapping Jack in an area-wide lockdown. Jack, with the help of Julie Langford, manages to restore the foliage of Arcadia and continues on to Hephaestus and Ryan's office. As Jack journeys on through Rapture unabated by the bathysphere lockdown, the Splicers, and the security measures, Ryan slowly begins to piece together Jack's true identity. When Jack draws near, Ryan—in a final attempt to prevent Fontaine from gaining the city—activates a self-destruct system for all of Rapture. Jack finally manages to kill Ryan and stop the self-destruct sequence, then is commanded to turn over control of Rapture Central Control and the whole city to Atlas. Fontaine reveals himself—his Atlas persona having been a "con job"—and betrays Jack by ordering his execution. Jack escapes and hunts down, then kills a massively spliced Fontaine in his towering hideout. Jack travels by bathysphere to the surface where he either: takes control of a nuclear submarine with the aid of a horde of Splicers, or leaves Rapture with his rescued Little Sisters to live out his life in peace.
Events of BioShock 2 (1968)
In the years following the deaths of Ryan and Fontaine, the city continued to deteriorate. With the damage done to Hephaestus, Rapture is running on limited power. Big Daddies still continue to perform maintenance work, but several areas are damaged beyond repair, have become completely flooded and some buildings have collapsed and crumbled down to the ocean floor, with the situation worsening ever still.
Despite its decaying state, there is still life left in the ruins of Rapture. During the eight years since the first game, the Splicers have become even more violent, desperate and deformed. Controlled by Sofia Lamb, one of Rapture's few remaining unspliced citizens, her Rapture Family appears to have become the de-facto regime. The Family is rebuilding society according to Lamb's beliefs, but is hazardous to those who refuse "to believe." With the Family in control, citizens who had previously failed to stand out in Ryan's Rapture rise to more prominent positions. In an atmosphere of cultish religious fervor, the Family embraces the goal of imbuing Sofia's daughter Eleanor—through human sacrifice—with the combined genius of Rapture's citizens to create a "Utopian", the ultimate altruist. This Utopian was to eventually ascend to the surface world. To achieve this goal, the ADAM production process was restarted. Children from around the world are kidnapped to be turned into new Little Sisters, due to the previous Little Sisters having grown too old to be able to continue as ADAM producers. These former Little Sisters become the violent and powerful Big Sisters.
In 1968, a long dead Alpha Series Big Daddy known as Subject Delta is revived by Eleanor. He is aided by Brigid Tenenbaum and Augustus Sinclair in effecting Eleanor's release from her mother's captivity, and her subsequent escape from the city. During Delta's journey, several sections of Rapture get destroyed as a result of his encounters with Sofia Lamb's supporters. This includes the Adonis Luxury Resort and Siren Alley, which are both flooded, as well as the Persephone Detention Facility, which is sunk into an ocean trench. In the end, Sinclair ends up dead, but Delta, Eleanor and Sofia Lamb manage to escape in Sinclair's submersible Lifeboat moments before Persephone, the Rapture Family headquarters, is destroyed by Sofia Lamb.
Current Status (1968-Present)
- “Rapture is a mass grave. Here lies the Holy Self, a budding Mozart rots beside a girl who might have surpassed Einstein.”
- ― Sofia Lamb[src]
With Andrew Ryan, Frank Fontaine, and the Rapture Family all gone, it is unlikely that there are any sane individuals left to fill the power vacuum and rule what remains of Rapture. Over the course of the games much of the city is either damaged or destroyed, no organized maintenance is set in place, and whatever remains of the population is either dead or driven insane by ADAM addiction.
During both the first and second games, the player observes various forms of structural damage including a multitude of leaks and without any maintenance efforts, any area with even the smallest leak will eventually flood once the pumps fail and sooner or later, all areas will start to leak due to the deteriorating state of the city. As there is no longer anyone left to maintain the repair systems or to create new Big Daddies to help maintain the remaining habitable areas, less repair work will get done and the structural integrity of Rapture will continue to deteriorate; the number of leaks will grow and older leaks will grow larger and the support structures will begin to fail completely. Many, if not all of the Little Sisters have been either removed or harvested, thereby eliminating the primary source of ADAM production in the city. With so many core functions damaged or destroyed and its population further reduced down to little more than leftover insane Splicers, residual Big Daddies, and Big Sisters (providing they were not all killed by Jack and Delta), there is no way for Rapture to sustain itself.
Another major problem is that Rapture is built using aluminum in place of steel in the buildings' internal support structures. Using aluminum as structural support in buildings comes with a lot of problems that were not known at the time when Rapture was built; the most notable of which is that aluminum is a lot weaker than steel when it comes to handling stress. At some point, the structural supports for the buildings in Rapture will eventually fail and the buildings will collapse completely, though it is not known how much time there is left before this happens.
It is likely that by the beginning of the 21st century (the present day), Rapture will have crumbled into a barren, uninhabitable ruin; all buildings will likely have collapsed by this point with all interior areas having been flooded and destroyed and no life remains within the city.
There is no official confirmation for this theory but this is the most likely scenario for the ultimate fate of Rapture.
The last reference to Rapture in the series is given by Tenenbaum in the Minerva's Den DLC in which she states that she intends to go to the surface to work for a cure for ADAM sickness and end the "Rapture nightmare." She is successful in doing so by restoring Subject Sigma to his original identity as Charles Milton Porter, but there is no mention of her return to save the remaining people in Rapture.
Religious Beliefs and Philosophies
In a public debate with Sofia Lamb, Ryan said that individuals have a right to practice religion in private, but that there shall not be any such public institutions in Rapture. Despite this, the following are the major beliefs held by citizens in Rapture:
- The Great Chain - Belief in individualism, self-interest, and free markets which unite the people in their forward progress. This is more of a philosophy than a religion, as it is a belief promoted by Andrew Ryan, who is a staunch atheist.
- The Rapture Family - Everyone owes each other a sense of unity and brotherhood with religious fervor. This was the most recent cult to have appeared in Rapture, having been created and promoted by Sofia Lamb and Simon Wales.
- Christianity - Belief in the Christian God and Christ as the savior of humanity. This is an underground religion in Rapture, as it is officially banned as an organized religion. The ban enabled smugglers to make money from smuggling many religious artifacts and gave fuel to demented religious fanaticism (as shown by the Waders Splicer type).
- Atheism - The disbelief in a metaphysical God or spiritual beings. This is the official philosophical stance of Rapture, as imposed by Andrew Ryan who is a devout Atheist.
- The Saturnine - A dark pagan cult found in Arcadia, having come into being as a result of heavy ADAM usage. Worshipers of this cult dress themselves in leaves, drink human blood as well as cups full of Plasmids (possibly ADAM, EVE or actual drinkable Plasmids) that they call "Ambrosia". They also believe they have been "touched" by ancient gods.
- Main article: Rapture Businesses
Companies that were founded in Rapture:
- Atlantic Express - Railway transportation for citizens that was decommissioned years previous and superseded by the Rapture Metro system. Founded by Prentice Mill then bought by Austen Bathysphere.
- Circus of Values - Vending machine company that sells various items (among them, ammunition used during the Rapture Civil War). Owned by Lloyd Webster.
- El Ammo Bandito - Vending machines for weapons and ammunition.
- Fontaine Futuristics - Mainly Plasmid and Tonic production facilities. Founded by Frank Fontaine before being nationalized by Ryan Industries, by order of the Rapture Central Council.
- Fontaine's - A lavish shopping center owned by Frank Fontaine, selling many of his products such as men and ladies clothes, Plasmids or home electronics. The department store buildings were converted into a prison for Fontaine's spliced followers after his death.
- Gatherer's Garden - Vending machine for genetic upgrades. This business dealt with ADAM as currency, not common money. A subsidiary of Ryan Industries.
- Jet-Postal - The main citywide system for distributing mail and parcels through Pneumo Tubes.
- Power to the People - Free vending machines for custom weapons upgrades. Belongs to Fontaine Futuristics.
- Rapture Central Computing - Computing and calculation data center for Rapture. Performs computations for other businesses and operates and manages automated systems of Rapture through the Thinker. Co-founded by Charles Milton Porter and Reed Wahl.
- Rapture Metro - A consolidated transportation system carrying citizens to areas of the city. Founded by Anton Kinkaide.
- Ryan Industries - Construction, utilities, and product development. Parent company for many other businesses in Rapture. Founded by Andrew Ryan.
- Securis - Construction company for bulkhead doors and airlocks of the city.
- Sinclair Solutions - Provides various services to businesses and individuals, in particular Plasmid and Gene Tonic testing for other companies such as Fontaine Futuristics first, then Ryan Industries. Founded by Augustus Sinclair.
Science and Technology
Ryan believed that scientific achievement on the surface was encumbered by "petty morality," and so he ensured that the inhabitants of Rapture could explore paths of inquiry that would have otherwise been deemed controversial, unethical, or dangerous. Indeed scientific progress in the city accelerated at an astounding rate, spurred on by the brilliant minds Ryan had collected and the complete lack of regulation hindering them. However, no one anticipated that the unbridled innovation would become a double-edged sword.
Scientific breakthroughs were made in nearly every field. Great advances in computer science and robotics brought about unprecedented creations like The Thinker, as well as multiple series of smaller machines designed for everything from domestic housework to automated security systems. In the field of biology, developments reached as far as the restoration of life, both in plants (the Lazarus Vector) and humans (the Vita-Chamber). There were also some technological advancements regarding items that were created years before they were commercially available on the surface, such as portable audio recording devices (approx. five years earlier), automatic doors (eight years earlier at the most) and vocal biometric security.
One of the major breakthroughs achieved in Rapture was Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum's discovery of ADAM: unstable stem cells from a species of sea slug. This led to the creation of Plasmids and Gene Tonics. ADAM allowed a user to splice new genetic material into the individual's DNA, enhancing health and intellect, and giving extraordinary powers to the human body. However, ADAM was prone to cause physical and mental disruption and damage, as more of the user's native cells were replaced by unstable stem cells. The populace's need for ADAM became an addiction, accelerated by excessive splicing, done increasingly during and after Rapture's civil war.
Transportation within Rapture is mainly provided by Rapture Metro, a public transportation system consisting of bathyspheres and tram cars, in which citizens access most areas of the city. One terminus of the Rapture Metro system is the bathysphere dock inside the remote lighthouse in the North Atlantic, which is Rapture's primary entrance to the outside world. Another mode of transportation within Rapture is the Atlantic Express, a pressurized rail system for moving a larger number of citizens (though this mode of transportation was mostly decommissioned years before the time of BioShock). Adjacent areas of Rapture are connected through bulkhead doors. Areas within some levels are connected by glass tunnels: small ones for pedestrians, larger ones for the system of railed tramways. Rapture is intentionally isolated from the world, and the primary mode of access was via bathyspheres traveling down from the lighthouse, perched on an island above.
- Main article: BioShock Locations
During the journey through BioShock, the player will explore the following areas of Rapture:
- Welcome Center - Home to recreational areas like the Kashmir Restaurant and first stop for all newcomers in the city.
- Medical Pavilion - The primary grouping of medical, surgical, dental and funerary facilities.
- Neptune's Bounty - The main port and fishing district in Rapture.
- Smuggler's Hideout - One of Fontaine's criminal enterprises: an abandoned tunnel network housing a secret submarine bay.
- Arcadia - A forest, agricultural, and recreational district in Rapture, with an experimental facility and supplying part of the city's oxygen and other natural resources.
- Fort Frolic - Arts, entertainment, and shopping district, overseen by Sander Cohen.
- Hephaestus - Geothermal power generation facility, workshops, and headquarters of Ryan Industries.
- Rapture Central Control - Andrew Ryan's private quarters and office, and Rapture's centralized control.
- Olympus Heights - Residential area for the high society, residents included Yi Suchong, Sander Cohen, Brigid Tenenbaum, and Fontaine himself.
- Apollo Square - Transportation hub and Atlas's stronghold, also low-class apartment complexes and Dr. Suchong's Free Clinic, condemned and turned into an internment camp for Atlas supporters by Ryan.
- Point Prometheus - Rapture's tallest skyscraper, home to several ADAM-based genetic research laboratories and a development and production center for Big Daddies and Little Sisters.
Of the three playable maps in the Challenge Rooms, two of them features original parts of Rapture mostly designed with textures and models from the main game:
- Rapture Firing Range - A specialized facility designed for firearms practice.
- Rapture's Grand Carnival - A carnival attended by citizens for festivities.
- Main article: BioShock 2 Locations
During the journey through BioShock 2, the player will explore the following areas of Rapture:
- Adonis Luxury Resort - A Greco-Roman themed spa, baths, and Plasmid/Gene Tonic therapy center for the upper-class citizens of Rapture. Situated near Olympus Heights.
- Atlantic Express Depot - The main administration facility for the construction and maintenance of the Atlantic Express trains and giant connector to the rail network.
- Ryan Amusements - An amusement park where the main attractions were designed to teach the children of Rapture about the "evils" of the surface world and the story of Rapture's construction.
- Pauper's Drop - Home of the 'down and out' and lower-class citizens. Constructed by the workers themselves as a shantytown and later redeveloped. Previously known as the Atlantic Express' Maintenance Junction 17.
- Siren Alley - Rapture's red-light district. Previously the Mason's Quarter, home to architects and artisans.
- Dionysus Park - A free art park created by Dr. Lamb, dedicated to psychology and self-expression. Used by Lamb to support her ideology behind a facade of art and nature.
- Fontaine Futuristics - Headquarters of Frank Fontaine's technology business, later seized and condemned by Ryan Industries. Includes the administration departments, a theater for Plasmid demonstrations, and hidden research facilities.
- Persephone Correctional Facility - A hidden penal colony suspended above an abysmal ocean trench used to hold Rapture's criminals and political dissidents, and practice Plasmid trials.
Between matches, the player has access to their own apartment, which they are free to explore while they customize their character.
- Unknown apartment building - A residential building with its own Bathysphere station. Sinclair Solutions provided rooms here for customers testing their products during the war.
Minerva's Den features a previously unseen district of Rapture composed of three different parts:
- Minerva's Den - Rapture's high technology center, housing the administration wing of Rapture Central Computing, McClendon Robotics for advanced robotics development and manufacturing, and the Air-Tite Archives for personal storage accessed via Pneumo Tubes.
- Main article: BioShock Infinite Locations
Nearing the end of the game, the Bathysphere Station is explorable when Elizabeth teleports herself, Booker DeWitt and the Songbird there (destroying the latter in the process). A Little Sister can be seen mourning a Bouncer Big Daddy in the background. As Elizabeth and Booker trans-dimensionally travel, it is revealed that the city of Rapture is one of the "constants" in her multiverse, bound to appear in one form or another in the continuum. In BioShock Infinite's set of timelines, it takes the form of Columbia, an early 20th-century city floating in the sky. Dialogue in Burial at Sea - Episode 2 confirms that Elizabeth and Booker's brief visit takes place in 1960.
Burial at Sea - Episode 1
Burial at Sea - Episode 1 revisits Rapture, while featuring new original places before its fall:
- Market Street - An upper-class retail and residential promenade with a scenic view over Rapture's uptown area.
- High Street - A lavish entertainment street, with a number of bars, located above Market Street.
- Fontaine's Department Store - A shopping center showcasing various products of businesses owned by Frank Fontaine, including Plasmids and electronics from Fontaine Futuristics.
Burial at Sea - Episode 2
Burial at Sea - Episode 2 continues the story initiated in the previous episode where it ended. This episode further explores the Housewares building along with some new and familiar areas.
- Housewares - Other parts of the building featuring mainly the Bathyspheres DeLuxe showroom, but other businesses such as the Ryan the Lion Preparatory Academy or the Silver Fin Restaurant.
- The Room - A secret interrogation room used by Atlas during the war.
- Dr. Suchong's Free Clinic - Suchong's charitable clinic in Apollo Square hiding a secret laboratory where he conducted his own researches such as the Protector/Gatherer pair bonding, ADAM products or the Vita-Chamber's development.
- Athena's Glory - Apartment complex located in Olympus Heights.
- Aventine Hotel - The hotel can be seen from Market Street.
- Cameron Suites - Mentioned on advertisements for Pharaoh's Fortune Casino and Cinema Réal.
- Fontaine Court - An area located somewhere on the Atlantic Express' route.
- Hotel Monseñor - Signs for the hotel are seen in several locations throughout Rapture.
- Med Plaza - Mentioned in public announcements for SportBoost, Genetic Horizons was located here.
- Mermaid's Landing Aquarium - Mentioned in a public announcement in Burial at Sea.
- Palmetto - A large skyscraper seen from Market Street.
- Temple Hill Drive - A residential address seen on a letter
- The Aegean - A building seen from High Street.
- Water Treatment Station - Mentioned in newspapers scattered on the floor. It was shut down after some water contamination by a pathological bacteria.
Views of the City
Behind the Scenes
- The names of a majority of the locations in Rapture are inspired by gods and locations from ancient Greek, Roman and Biblical culture.
- Although contact with the surface was forbidden, the surface bathysphere was not disabled (although still under genetic lock). Jack, Orrin Oscar Lutwidge, and Mark Meltzer were able to enter Rapture via this method. The novel BioShock: Rapture establishes that maintenance crews were allowed to visit the Lighthouse to conduct repairs, but their exposure to the outside was minimized.
- Much of the external architecture of Rapture was inspired by the Art Deco architecture of New York City, particularly the Rockefeller Center and the work of Hugh Ferriss, who created perspective drawing of New York buildings in the early 1900s.
- This is also evident in a promotional image of Rapture (the first image in the "Promotional Images" gallery above), where the building with a clock on it is modeled after the Paramount Building of New York City.
- Rapture is similar to the mythical lost city of Atlantis in many respects. Both of them are cities isolated from the rest of the known world, and their inhabitants were able to master technology far more advanced than what had been discovered elsewhere. Both became plagued with corruption, which led to their ruin. Moreover, one of the chapters in Atlas Shrugged is called Atlantis, and the mythical city is likened to Galt's Gulch by the characters.
- The name Rapture is inspired by the Biblical concept, meaning an event in which the faithful will be taken to Heaven. In this case, the smartest and most artistic flocked to Rapture."
- As seen in Deco Devolution: The Art of BioShock 2, "Rapture is anchored - (while drilling piers, a huge cavern is discovered directly below)."
- In BioShock Infinite, the Welcome Center that Booker and Elizabeth find themselves in is not identical to the Welcome Center at the start of BioShock. The Gatherer's Garden machine in the Bathysphere Station is completely empty, suggesting that Booker and Elizabeth arrive at some point after Jack's first arrival in BioShock. Outside the building, there is a tunnel in which a Little Sister mourns her Big Daddy. Said tunnel is not present in the original game.
- Further evidence of this is the obstructed doorway into the Welcome Center, which Jack must clear with the wrench, is now clear, but still shows signs of debris around it, suggesting that Jack had already been through thereby clearing the passageway.
- In addition, the second docking station in the station itself is destroyed in BioShock, but it is the one used by Booker and Elizabeth to leave the city.
- In an ironic moment, Booker, upon realizing Rapture's location, comments on how a city at the bottom of the ocean is "ridiculous".
- Ryan went to great lengths to keep Rapture secret from the surface. However, bottles of Arcadia Merlot that contained an invitation to Rapture were found on coasts around the world on August 8, 1968. Also, according to the Fact From Myth promotional video for Burial at Sea - Episode 1, other clues have been revealed to the world by the 1980s, with the discovery of a steamer trunk washed up on the New England Coast loaded with artifacts from Rapture.
- The large image of Rapture by Tim Warnock, seen in the Promotional Images gallery above, appears as a background in the Need to Know Theater: The Big Daddy during Burial at Sea - Episode 1 and during a flash forward in Episode 2. It was also used in the Alpha version of Market Street as a placeholder before the final building models and Skybox were completed.
- Ayn Rand on Wikipedia
- Atlas Shrugged on Wikipedia
- Simon Wales' Audio Diary: Lamb's Salvation
- Rapture Memorial Museum exhibit "Traveling the Distance"
- Rapture Memorial Museum exhibit "Laying the Foundation"
- Andrew Ryan's Audio Diary: Building the Impossible!
- Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Finding the Sea Slug
- As an example: Samuel and Mariska Lutz committed suicide after witnessing their kidnapped daughter Masha as Little Sister. This is evident in BioShock as the player can find the former's corpses in room #7 of the The Fighting McDonagh's Tavern. Samuel's and Mariska's corpses rest on a mattress next to some pills, a photo of their daughter and Mariska's Audio Diary: Saw Masha Today, both their corpses also contain alcohol.
- Nina Carnegie's Audio Dairy: Deterioration
- Based on the following exchange in Housewares during Burial at Sea - Episode 2:
Elizabeth: "Look, Suchong! That's the name you had me tell Atlas. Huh…"
Booker DeWitt: "I don't follow."
Elizabeth: "It looks like this Suchong character has taken over the Silver Fin restaurant. That's — that's where the tear was that I used when I first came to Rapture looking for Comstock. Before this place was turned into a prison."
Booker: "But the first time you came to Rapture was in 1960. With Booker. When you drowned Song —"
Elizabeth: "Over a year from now… Yeah, that — that's right, I… When I could see all the doors, it all made sense, but now it's… now it's — it's just a jumble."
Booker: "Elizabeth, you're — you're bleeding…"
Elizabeth: "[Sigh] Now I know what it feels like. All right. If we're going to find Suchong, the Silver Fin is the place to start. I know the way."
- Letters found throughout Rapture
- Rockefeller Center on Wikipedia
- "Unreal Engine 3 Powers Critical and Commercial Success BioShock" article by John Gaudiosi at UnrealEngine.com
- Hugh Ferriss on Wikipedia
- BioShock 2 Q & A: "It's More Personal This Time", IGN interview with Hogarth de la Plante by Michael Thomsen, IGN.com
- The Paramount Building on Wikipedia
- Atlantis on Wikipedia
- Rapture on Wikipedia
- Episode Three: What is Rapture?" BioShock Podcast on the Cult of Rapture