What secrets does the BioShock 2 trailer hold?

We knew it was coming, but who knew it would come like this?

The sequel to BioShock was finally confirmed this morning through - of all things - a leaked YouTube trailer. Not quite the glorious unveiling we, and probably the developers, had in mind. Despite the shoddy delivery system, however, the content of the tease is surprisingly satisfying and unbelievably thought-provoking. We’ve already watched it a dozen times, and with each viewing, we leave with more answers, more questions and a hell of a lot more anticipation.

Here are our first attempts to dissect and analyze the BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams video. Four editors – all huge fans of the first game - sat down and studied every frame. We think we arrived at some pretty intriguing conclusions but, if you’ve got something better, definitely let us know in the comments below. Any and all theories are welcome, so let’s get started!

Charlie: Before this teaser, what did we all assume a BioShock sequel (or prequel) would involve?

I figured a sequel would have to follow the "bad" ending, as the "good" ending implies everything turned out okay.

Charlie: I really thought they would go the prequel route, depicting Rapture in its heyday and giving us that firsthand perspective on everything going totally to shit. We could have witnessed a slightly more populated city, too, which would have upped the technology ante.

Brett: Yeah, prequel would revolve around the initial construction and creation of Rapture.

Eric: We've heard much of that story in audio recordings already. I still hoped for a prequel, though, because I'm apparently one of the few people who were satisfied with the ending of the first game. The story is done. To continue it would just dilute it.

Charlie: So what was your very first thought upon watching this teaser trailer?

That someone at 2K doesn't share my view that the story needn't be continued. Oh, and I was also totally confused.

Joe: We were lead to believe that it is 1950-60s America outside Rapture, but that may not be true.

Brett: First thought - this is a surviving Little Sister who wants to see Rapture rebuilt, and tries to do so on a beach, which is in between her lost childhood and the real world. Hence the long scenes of sand buildings growing as the camera rolls away, which imply to me that we're going to see a new city in that same style.

Charlie: You really think we’ll play in a brand new city and not the old Rapture?

The subtitle, “Sea of Dreams,” could reference her fond memories of being a Little Sister. So yes, you would be attempting to create a new city in memory of the old. The other survivors would split into two camps - those who miss Rapture and those who would do anything to see it stopped forever. You could technically be the bad guy... not too far a twist for this series.

Charlie: My interpretation was slightly different. She’s a Little Sister with vague and idealized memories of the place she was born – the original Rapture. She doesn’t quite remember the truth of that “utopia,” so she’s driven by a desire to return and investigate. Not create a copy out of sand.

Eric: Dude, she's a Little Sister - we have no idea what will happen with them now that they're actually growing up. This could be a crazy mind city composed entirely of sand and populated with demons from her fever-dream childhood memories.

Joe: The buildings first appear smooth like rocks and only gradually acquire structural features as the camera pulls back.

Eric: Well, Rapture was a whole city. There could be huge areas we haven't seen yet.

Charlie: The beginning of BioShock said "Mid-Atlantic" and now the beginning of the teaser for BioShock 2 says "Atlantic Coast." It’s clear to me that we'll be in the same city, though probably different parts. Or transformed parts.

Joe: If you go topside, where's the cool art design and stifling claustrophobia?


Charlie: Are we taking this city in the sand too literally? Are the contents of this teaser real or maybe just a dream? After all, the title of the game is "Sea of Dreams," there's a song about dreams playing over the scene and she just made sandcastles with her mind.

Eric: Who can tell? It'd be pretty crummy to tease us with something that wasn't actually real. I had forgotten about the subtitle though.

Brett: I don't think they'd try to sell us a dream game right off the bat. People tend to view the dream thing as a copout.

Charlie: Or the "dream" theme could refer simply to her dream of finding Rapture again.

Brett: Yeah, I think "dream" is more of "vision" or "goal" in this case.

Eric: Maybe they're referring to Ryan's dream of the perfect society?

Joe: "Dream" or "nightmare"? She could have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Charlie: The sandcastles could be an unlocked plasmid power... your protagonist in the first game was just gaining powers, but a Little Sister would have been injected far earlier.

Joe: It'd be easy to explain Little Sisters getting powers from all their work harvesting Adam.

Charlie: And those powers only grow stronger as they get older.

Brett: With no Adam, they're supposed to be normal again... though I wouldn't be surprised if one had developed crazy, unrelated powers like Fontaine did, only able to control them.

Eric: I'm scared of these chicks.


  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - February 11, 2010 2:56 a.m.

    no, that's not it
  • ryan210020 - November 18, 2008 7:18 p.m.

    first off imma huge bioshock fan loved the first one beat it multiple times... my opinion for the plot of the second one is that the main character from the first one is returning with the assistance of the navy or something to destroy the city of rapture but they run into trouble... i like that one... sorta like jurassic park 2
  • 343guiltyhalo - November 7, 2008 12:52 p.m.

    I would say it is set in a different city so it doesn't matter if you completed it on the Good or Bad endings.Or you play as a army officer checking Rapture out seen as it would probably have been found after Bioshock 1 so i don't really know!!!
  • camo510 - October 25, 2008 11:27 p.m.

    I think its a prequel and that the stuffed big daddy gave her the idea to make one to protect her when her dad ... that andrew ryans guy ... makes rapture.
  • mfish27 - October 24, 2008 1:52 a.m.

    im thinking that the girl could possibly be the daughter of Andrew Ryan, looking out into the place that made home to her fathers dream. The big daddy doll replaces the teddy bear that a typical girl would have. The doll is something the girl is attatched to, therefore showing her attatchment to rapture. Building a sandcastle is a creation of the imagination, and since it is clear she is doing it with her mind, we know that it is a product of her flowing imagination as she stares out into sea. This is her dream, to revive her fathers dream and try to create the perfect utopian way of life. The butterfly emerging from a barnacle,(a barnacle being a product of something stagnant and unlively underwater) shows that Rapture will be rebuilt and the "dream" brought to life. catepillars usually emerge from a cacoon after a period of hybernation and change into lively, colorful, butterflies. This is exactly what rapture is going to do after its hybernation, turn into a colorful and lively utopia. The fact that the sandcastles were built out of dry land signifies that rapture will be reconstructed on land. who knows what will happen with the new leader and her "sea of dreams".
  • teapotking - October 21, 2008 10:06 p.m.

    i think that it will be like one of the interviewed guys said, and that it's a sequel set a while later after one of the little sister's you saved (you guys saved them right?), who wants rapture back. they decide to build a new rapture, and there are 2 sides, people for and against it, with this time you playing as a bad guy fighting for rapture possibly.
  • CandiedJester - October 20, 2008 11:34 p.m.

    Her head DOES twitch :o whoever said that. That was weird. It looked almost like she was a puppet for a second.
  • CandiedJester - October 20, 2008 10:45 p.m.

    Hmm. You guys got pretty out there with the whole sand city thing. lol. My theory is that this little sister grew up, and is either having memories of rapture and wating to go back a uncover her foggy past, OR (if they continue the bad ending) that she saw the way rapture changed people and what evil it brought to the world and figures the only way to end it is to go back to rapture..either to destroy it for good or find information and history and find another way to end it. Possibly risking herself turning evil like the rest in the process. Anywat, Whatever the story I con't wait for this game! ^.^
  • tunerracer - October 20, 2008 9:26 p.m.

    I think thata the girl was a litle sister and wanted to go back to rapture as she thought it was a wonderous land of technolgy and wealth. As her mind had been swiped by ADAMS, she wanted to make a new rapture but it would be above ground and u would be one of the frist people to enter it and live in it but as the sea freezes everyone wants out of rapture 2 and the fight and kill each other.....for freedom and the return of ADAMS and Plasmaid from thew surface.SO the ice covers half of rapeture and ur family is on the other side. SO the girl who is now a andult mad people big dadies to mantain order and be police men. Then after years and years that city has become a hell hole and sunk beneth the water.......then girl's daughter wants her mothers creation to rise again .....then all hell breaks lose and ppl tring to repair it get crabed in as u were tring to repair the towers and stufff by carzy people but u try to warn ppl to not go in...but they do as the story is the t u need to escape rapture once again
  • spacecase610 - October 19, 2008 10:06 p.m.

    My theory is that Rapture is raised. The girl is a little sister. All the information the outside world would have is a guy with superpowers, the little sisters, and possibly Ryan's spiel. As such, the world thinks of Rapture as a dream city (hence the title)where there is a wealth of technology for the plundering.
  • Gourdmaster - October 19, 2008 8:20 p.m.

    maybe it doesn't mean anything and its just a clever device to draw your attention and get you talking
  • Mushimoto - October 19, 2008 7:41 p.m.

    I can see both a prequel and a sequel happening in the game. there is no date in the cut scene of the location. The girl could be the daughter or the mother of the little sisters. Seeking revenge or reliving an eariler memory or both. The city in the sand is a metaphor of your thoughts of a city in the making and the main character, you, is Ryan wanting to make it happen.
  • LukasPukas - October 19, 2008 5:13 a.m.

    All of the comments so far assume that there is only one Rapture. Surely there could be many more, could we not move to another environment along the same theme?
  • Gamechief - October 19, 2008 3:19 a.m.

    I hate the idea of the sequel. The 2 endings of no. 1 were good enough for me. I just can't see how a sequel could work. I loved the old rapture and the story of it. A prequel would be the only way 2 go but it looks like i will be disappointed.
  • octagons - October 19, 2008 1:14 a.m.

    she is probably a little sister who does not rember rapture and wants to go back to find answers about her missing childhood.
  • darksaint0523 - October 18, 2008 6:18 a.m.

    Hmmm...the girl appears to have the body of a teenager, my guess is 15-16. (...If you look close she twitches and tilts her head to the right just before the 'sand castle' city sprouts up...) I'm guesssing that the game takes place about ten years after the first; regardless of the ending you play out the world would have found out about Rapture: either from a submarine crew spotting debri and getting attacked or a group of survivors who had escaped with a story to tell of their adventures. So someone would have thought "wow! those Plasmids sound realy cool; I want them". I think the game is centered around the fallout of an attempt to plunder and make use of the genetics technology in rapture.
  • EvilZeus - October 17, 2008 11:04 p.m.

    id like to strike my earlier comment from this board, and change it to a theory that because of the older "little" sister and the 'barnacles,' although i think they are inconclusive and just there to add flare. as for the sand city, can i mention that they looked vaguely inappropriate, u know what i mean. The city is prolly gonna be a version of rapture that has been partially enswathed by mud and stuff and you just kill stuff in it like the first. dont like bioshock gameplay though. The End.
  • sage62 - October 17, 2008 9:17 p.m.

    hmmmm, I believe there are many things it could mean and I belive this is why it's called a teaser, it gives you so much that can be interprited but no hints as for what to interpret, so far I am leaning more towards Rapture coming to the surface, a reversal of what happened with Atlantis, as the water is drained from the logo and a butterfly energes, which could represent new life as Rapture comes to the surface and if possibly given new life, Judging from the little girl it is safe to assume that if it is a sequel it goes with the good ending, but then that leaves something to be addressed, what is one supposed to do? Perhaps a particularly clever Splicer took over the place and is now bent on spreading his influence to the world, explaining why Rapture would be brought to the surface if that were to happen, I don't like the dream idea since I have always felt that something like that is a slap in the face, basically telling you "congratulations! you won, but you didn't actually accomplish anything since it was all a dream" I don't mind if a game has a sequence that is a dream as that can be an interesting journey through the subconscious, but having the entire game as a dream is bad, especially since the first games narratives were so great, it would just feel so weak, anyway you look at it, there isn't enough to go off of in the teaser so until they release a more deatailed trailer this will be an unanswerable question that will tear at many including me until it is answered
  • bron1417 - October 17, 2008 8:36 p.m.

    i really have no clue what to think i cant even begin to imagine what a story would be like i might have an idea later though.
  • NullG7 - October 17, 2008 8:01 p.m.

    1) It could be the littel sisters with thme polished out there memories of Rapture the hell hole in the sea and began to remember the time when it was Rapture the shining utopia of the sea and use the old city to try to rebiuld it but soon after the project is complete and New Rapture is repoululated pepole will forget the history and look to the futer but the futer may contain the mistakes of the past "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it"

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