What we want to see
First up, Eleanor has to go to the mainland. As captivating as Rapture once was, we’re done with it now. The problem with such an isolated, stylised environment is that it can only offer so many possibilities, however many leaks and political regime changes it springs. Another game set there would kill the environment’s appeal dead within the first hour, and BioShock can do much cooler things elsewhere.
Above: Somewhere beyond the sea...
One oft-overlooked fact about BioShock 2’s backstory is that Rapture is no longer as cut off from the rest of the world as it once was. Once Sophia Lamb started abducting girls from the mainland to turn into the city’s new wave of Little Sisters, she started attracting attention. At least one parent discovered Rapture’s location and journeyed there to rescue his daughter, and although he didn’t make it out alive (audio diaries reveal that he was captured and chose to become a Big Daddy over execution so that he could continue to protect his child), the chances are that Rapture has been, or will soon be, somewhat more plundered by travellers from the outside world.
Above: Rapture filtered steadily through this is an amazing prospect
So it’s entirely plausible that the world will already have felt the city’s influence by the time Eleanor arrives. BioShock 2 is set in 1968, so her arrival should probably occur in or just after the same year. By 1969, youth counter-culture was in full swing and society was exploding in all kinds of directions. Hippies were everywhere. Punk was just about to take off. Woodstock was happening. So were the Manson Family murders and the Zodiac killings. The radical left-wing Weathermen organisation was formed, which soon after led to riots and bombing protests. Man landed on the goddamn moon. If you’re not already excited by the effect that mixing Rapture into this period would have, then give up on excitement forever. In two words, “Holy shit”.
Above: Rapture + Woodstock + this = Also amazing
Whether arriving with Eleanor or already there (we prefer the latter idea), we want to see Plasmids blended with the concept of late ‘60s/early ‘70s drug culture. We want to see the socio-political interplay between the left and the right explode through Rapture’s spliced-up lens. We want the concepts and ideals of Ryan and Lamb’s nightmare melting pot filter through the outside world at this most turbulent and significant of periods. Counter-culture Splicer-Hippie communes. Societal backlash. Brand new Rapture philosophies thrown in and mixed around with real-world history. Cities, countries, and even a whole world slid off course by the slow but steady infiltration by Rapture.
Above: New York would just be a starting point
We want bigger, more open environments. We want the extra options the real, wide world would offer over the modular, self-contained Rapture. We want a longer time-scale, so that we can see Rapture’s progressive influences work through the world in multiple directions of the course of years.
In short, this world could be the visual, intellectual and emotional peak of the series, blowing everything previously in the franchise (and in fact, gaming) out of the water. If done to its fullest, it would keep the important things, but change everything at the same time, completely recontextualising everything we know and love about BioShock and giving it importance and impact from a whole new angle. It would lift what the series does to a mind-blowing new level and evolve the future of the franchise with indefinite, exponential potential to explore.
We want it. We want it so desperately. Please be reading this, 2K Marin. All that we've said before is forgotten.