Cloud Chamber Studios, the developer behind the upcoming Bioshock 4, is made up of several veterans who previously worked on the Bioshock series.
By Jonathan Yelenic
Published May 08, 2021
For fans of the?BioShock games, the upcoming?BioShock 4?will certainly be a sight for sore eyes after a long hiatus following 2013’s?BioShock Infinite.?However, while the series may be making a comeback,?developer Irrational Games and?BioShock creator Ken Levine won’t be backing it this time around.
Some may view this as a sign of trouble for the upcoming title, but the?game still appears to be in some capable hands.?Cloud Chamber, the newly-founded studio behind?BioShock 4, is staffed with industry veterans, some of whom were pivotal in the development of all three BioShock?games.
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Cloud Chamber has several BioShock series alumni that are helping to put together the latest installment.?Returning to the franchise?are Hoagy de la Plante, Scott Sinclair, and Jonathan Pelling, who have each?contributed greatly to the series.
Hoagy de la Plante previously worked on?BioShock 1?and?2?as Acting Environment Lead and Lead Environment Artist, respectively. For BioShock 4,?he will be serving as Creative Director.?In Breaking The Mold,?the original?BioShock’s?official artbook, Ken Levine described de la Plante as instrumental to creating the game’s most complex level — Arcadia. Levine wrote that de la Plante took?a convoluted idea that should’ve been deemed “un-makeable” and defied the odds by simply making it.
Sinclair?was the Art Director for?both?BioShock?and?Infinite,?and will be occupying?the same role for the new installment. In the aforementioned artbook, Levine stated Sinclair’s art “[set] the tone” for BioShock,?and that “without [him], there is no BioShock?style.” Looking back at his work on the series, it’s evident why Sinclair received such high praise; the series’ art direction is perhaps one of its?most striking elements.
Similar to Sinclair, Pelling, BioShock 4’s?Design Director also contributed to both?BioShock?and?Infinite,?working?as a designer on the former. For?the latter,?Pelling served as Creative Director for 2K Australia’s design team, who assisted with?Infinite’s?development.
Above all else, perhaps the most integral part of a?BioShock?title is its setting. On a technical level, it’s an opportunity to showcase some visual spectacles, and it also means for?some stellar environmental storytelling. The warped values of?Rapture and Columbia?are communicated?through architecture and propaganda scattered?throughout each game, allowing players to view firsthand the circumstances that led to the downfall of each city.
The returning?BioShock?staff seems to have a great deal of expertise in the art and environmental design fields, which bodes well for the new game’s setting. It remains to be seen whether?BioShock returns to Rapture, Columbia, or sets off for a whole new destination, but if previous?BioShock?games are any indicator, it’s going to be a sight to marvel at, regardless of the choice.?However,?even if?BioShock 4?does bring back a familiar location, it?could still differ from past entries in one key way.
According to a recent job listing, the next?BioShock?might feature an open world, which?would be a first for the series. Previous games featured explorable areas and?opportunities to backtrack, but they were mostly just series of levels tied together by loading screens. Granted,?BioShock?used its linearity to?its advantage; players generally moved through the games quickly, allowing for the story to flow at a steady pace.
But an open world might just be what the series needs to evolve further. Sure, it might disrupt the beat-to-beat structure of the plot, but a focus on exploration within an intriguing world could?allow?BioShock 4?to have some of the most interesting environmental storytelling in the series, especially if it can take a few cues from the influential open world of?The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.?It remains to be seen if this big?change?will help or hurt the series, but it’s at least a little relieving?to know that?BioShock 4 is in the careful hands of some of the?architects?behind the original games.
BioShock 4?is currently in development.
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About The Author
(56 Articles Published)
Jon has been gaming since he first played Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES. Since then, his favorite series have grown to include Super Mario (obviously), Metal Gear, Resident Evil, and Yakuza. In his spare time, Jon likes to watch sci-fi, read comics, and watch the Cleveland Browns.
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