So read on and we'll reveal all. But be warned, this feature understandably contains unashamed spoilers for both of the first two games.
BioShock 2 recap
Following the fall of Rapture ruler Andrew Ryan as a result of Jack’s unwitting collaboration with Frank Fontaine, the city descended into spliced-up anarchy. Leadership arose in the shape of Sophia Lamb, a psychologist, long-standing thorn in Ryan’s side, and some-time political prisoner. The antithesis to Ryan’s Objectivist, every-man-for-himself philosophy, Lamb’s intention was to reunite the fractured city through a conceptual “Family”, a sharing Splicer collective intended to bring Rapture’s denizens together for their greater good.
Her methods however, were suspect in the extreme. Key to her plan was her daughter, Eleanor, a previous Little Sister who was singled out for a long series of experiments using Rapture’s gene-bending Adam substance. The idea was to ultra-splice Eleanor up into an ultimate citizen, a person who would be all things to all people and all callings; someone who could provide anything the Family needed by morphing her persona as necessary, at the expense of her own sense of self. Proof if ever was needed that the opposite of any negative regime is just as bad when taken to the absolute extreme.
How BioShock 2 ended
By communicating with Subject Delta, her previous Big Daddy, the now-adult Eleanor managed to call him to where Sophia had imprisoned her, and together they overthrew the new leadership before escaping to the surface. Delta died, and depending on how his actions had influenced Eleanor, one of four endings played out.
In three of the endings, Eleanor spliced up with his essence so as to always keep her “father” with her. In two of these, she gazed out across the sea to the world beyond Rapture, and mused with overtly sinister intent upon how it would never see her arrival coming. In the third of these endings she was much more benevolent, speaking once more of the wider world, but emphasising that she must not misunderstand it.
Under a sun-bleached morning sky (as opposed to the stormy weather of the bad endings) she and the remaining Little Sisters said goodbye to Rapture, with Eleanor stating that the undersea dystopia was only the start of her story. The last (and saddest) ending concluded with Eleanor mourning the loss of her father and debating whether she could ever really attain salvation.
Strong possibilities for BioShock 3
Depending on which ending is considered canon, there are several possible directions for BioShock 3. If the sad ending is chosen, it’s entirely possible that part 3 will be set in Rapture once again, Eleanor’s hopelessness having caused her to give up on the world beyond and return to the depths. It’s possible she’ll be reinvigorated by a new cause and become the new protagonist, but it’s more likely that her depression will see her descend into nihilistic despair (a nice, if blunt, third contrast to the predominant ruling philosophies of the first two games) and become the new antagonistic spider at the centre of Rapture’s web.
Above: Whatever happens, this little lady is going to be key
The other endings shake things up much more appealingly. If it’s Evil Eleanor who survives to the end, a journey to the mainland has to be a cert. Her brutal survivalist philosophy seems set to send her there with an antagonistic outlook, so it’s possible she’ll become BioShock 3’s bad guy, wreaking Rapture’s spliced-up evils against the rest of the world. Though it’s also possible that something on the mainland will change her mind, and she’ll use her headstrong sense of self-preservation for good as the player character.
Most likely though, is that BioShock 3 will pick up from the good ending, and that’s exactly what we want to see. Because it opens things up for many more, infinitely more interesting possibilities, which we'll detail on the next page...