You might remember that late last week I ran an opinion piece covering my current fear and loathing regarding BioShock 2. It prompted plenty of debate and, frankly, I was blown away by the scale, passion and depth of your response. It seems a hell of a lot of you care about BioShock just as much as I do, and that makes me a very happy man indeed.
It would have been too messy to respond to you all in the article comments, so I decided to turn a feature over to your best, funniest and most thoughtful responses and throw in a few more of my own in reply to yours. Some comments have been edited for reasons of space and clarity, and sorry to everyone I couldn't fit in.
Wave360 says: I played BioShock a year later than everyone and it is one of the best games ive ever played! I wish BioShock would end and the creators would go on and make something similarily enticing, mature, gruesome, touching, twisted, etc. as BioShock but not make it BioShock!
I will still get this but i wish they would leave BioShock as it was and make a new IP. If something is perfect, don't ruin it!
skaface says: I respect the opinion of the editor, but this thinking implies that sequels of great games HAVE to be inferior. Thinking of Fallout, Killzone, God of War, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, etc. it occurs to me that even the most unique (ok, leave Killzone out of it) game can be topped (but not replaced) by its sequel.
I say: A fair point skaface, a fair point indeed. As a big Street Fighter II/IV player, I categorically agree that some games’ mechanics can be improved through iteration. But my issue is that although BioShock 2 could bring certain functionality improvements, that’s about all it could bring with its currently-known scenario. To me, BioShock was about much more than the mechanics, and a predictable rehash just can’t bring about that same experience.
Montag says: For me only Half-Life had the gonads to make a better sequel, but in that case the story needed more to be complete.
I say: Perfect case in point. H-L 2 (one of my favourite games of all time, by the way) worked because the first game ended on a massively open “Anything can happen now” note, which Valve then extrapolated on a truly global scale in a later time period. That’s exactly the sort of reconceptualised “jumping off point” approach I wanted for BioShock 2, but sadly it’s not to be. Let’s face it, the approach B2 is taking is the same that Half-Life used for its expansion packs, not its sequel.
NipplesTheSuperHippo says: You said: "It will be something we’ve already seen before with a few more cracks and leaks. The magic of Rapture came from its newness. It was the sheer originality of its design that made it such an immersive world to explore."
Exactly, the newness, but the newness of what was seen. Would not the unknown parts of a mysterious city be new? There are new environments and or parts of the city that were unexplored, new weapons, probably new plasmids, new gameplay, new main enemy, and even the cookie cutter splicers have evolved into something different and new.
scbyfn4evr says: Come to think of it, BioShock 2 would be kinda like having a Shadow of the Colossus 2, or Okami 2, and that would be laaaaaaaem.
garnsr says: The sequels to star Wars were not absolutely necessary, but Empire was the best of the lot. Then they went for the prequels, and ruined a lot of the magic of the originals. I fear BioShock 2 will fall into the latter category, but we'll see. Sometimes you need to have a whole trilogy or so for all of the parts to add up to a magnificent whole. Sometimes you just need the one.
I say: I’ll definitely concede the Star Wars point to a degree. The A New Hope stands alone pretty well, but it does indeed work a lot better when taken in the context of the whole trilogy. The thing is though, if you go back and watch Episode IV objectively, hardly anything actually happens. The plot is basically the first few hours of any JRPG, leading up to the first boss fight (the Death Star trench fight), so to that end it was ripe for expanding. To me, BioShock’s story just felt complete by the end.
raidensnake says: I can see your doubts about BioShock 2, however I feel the endings of the 1st weren't enough, they didn't sew anything together and left me asking more questions than they answered. I want to know what really made Ryan create Rapture and the early constructions of it. (BioShock in construction would be awesome - the optimism to complement and off set the horror we saw at its decay)
Also how free and autonomous people made the decisions they made, to firstly join him in Rapture, then the chaotic choices afterwards. The whole ideological and philosophical roots of this need to be explained more deeply, which means returning to Rapture.
I understand the concept of the 1st Big Daddy, almost like the Biblical Adam making choices, he is in a world he does not know, but it came about because of his own indirect choosing. In addition, the how and why the Big Daddy chooses to 'be' this creature and his interaction with the little sisters needs exploring.
Perhaps it will take a BioShock 3 to really tackle these issues.
I say: What you’ve just described would make a bloody brilliant BioShock prequel. It actually sounds pretty similar to Ken Levine’s original idea for BioShock, which spanned decades and took in an entire civil war.
Following the entire rise and fall of Rapture through the first Big Daddy’s transformation from ordinary man to metal-cased monster could be an electrifying and truly epic experience. It would have to be a very different game from the first BioShock, and probably an even more story-led one, but if the franchise is going to be expanded then “very different” is exactly what I want.
oryandymackie says: Yeah, being a Big Daddy will detract from the original; the protagonist Jack timidly opening the doors to the lighthouse and skulking quietly down to the bathysphere. If you're a Big Daddy with a huge drill strapped to your arm you're pretty much fearless. And fear played a huge part in the game.
theschwartzb says: I think the only truly disheartening flaw is the fact that you will be playing as a Big Daddy. Honestly, in BioShock, you were just a regular guy (kinda) who was in a plane crash and found "refuge" in a giant, mysterious lighthouse. You started off the game not knowing what would happen to you, and that was one of the biggest elements of the game. Being a Big Daddy in BioShock 2 will take that mystery, the fear, and the unknown out of the game quite a bit.
ZiegZeon says: I agree that the game is a bad idea, though I do like the idea of playing as a Big Daddy, something that should have been DLC and a pure experience, i.e. no plasmids, slow, and it should have been just you having to protect the Little sister. But now that you are THE FIRST BIG DADDY EVAR, you're suddenly better then the others. I think that the CONCEPT is sound (maybe START in rapture, or a revisit) but not the whole game.
I say: I totally agree with you on that one. I was actually a bit disappointed not to get full-on Big Daddy powers near the end of Bioshock (Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to recreate that first Big Daddy/Splicer/drill through the chest encounter from behind the visor?), but it’s something that I can only see being satisfying in a short bursts. That in mind, it would have made a brilliant Bioshock equivalent of Resi 4’s Assignment Ada.
solsunforge says: The whole reason why so many liked BioShock was the experience of going through it and being in constant peril. Being a Big Daddy rids you of that feeling it in my opinion gives a god mode type of feeling. To me a watered down sequel is not better then nothing at all.