2K announces there’s a ‘BioShock’ game in development with a new studio helming the project
Apparently, a new BioShock title had been in development for years. That one was canceled, and never announced. However 2K Games has officially announced a new studio has taken on the task, with the title years away.
A new BioShock game is in the works, publisher 2K has confirmed.
The project will be in development for the next “several” years, 2K said in a statement today, with development centred at the publisher’s newly-named Cloud Chamber studio.
Cloud Chamber is headed up by Kelley Gilmore, formerly of 2K’s XCOM and Civ studio Firaxis, with offices in both San Francisco and Montreal.
“We founded Cloud Chamber to create yet-to-be-discovered worlds – and their stories within – that push the boundaries of what is possible in the video game medium,” Gilmore said. “Our team believes in the beauty and strength of diversity, in both the makeup of the studio and the nature of its thinking.
“We are a deeply experienced group of game makers, including many responsible for BioShock’s principal creation, advancement and longstanding notoriety, and honoured to be part of the 2K family as stewards of this iconic franchise.”
It’s not the first we’ve heard of the project. In 2018, a Kotaku report into the development of Mafia 3 mentioned 2K had quietly begun work on a new BioShock game, codenamed Parkside.
Cloud Chamber’s San Francisco office appears to be the remnants of 2K Marin – which 2K said back in 2014 was now responsible for the future of BioShock after the closure of creator Ken Levine’s studio Irrational Games.
This morning, video game publisher 2K announced that it had formed a new studio to work on a brand new BioShock game, the fourth in the popular sci-fi series. It won’t be out for “several years,” the publisher said. What 2K didn’t say is that this project has already been in the works since at least 2015, although it’s been rebooted since then.
The truth is that BioShock 4, code-named Parkside, has existed for years, according to four people familiar with the project. Long before today’s announcement that a new company called Cloud Chamber will develop the next BioShock, 2K had contracted an outside studio to do it. In 2015, Parkside was entering development at Certain Affinity, the Austin, Texas-based studio best known for helping out on huge shooters like Halo and Call of Duty.
This was a big opportunity for Certain Affinity, which was founded in 2006 by ex-Bungie developer Max Hoberman and had mostly subsisted on contract work for external publishers. By the end of 2016, however, 2K had pulled the project out of Austin and decided to take the next BioShock in-house, rebooting it in the process. (2K did not immediately respond to a request for comment this morning.)
It’s not clear why Certain Affinity’s version of Parkside was canceled—we’ve heard different versions of the story from different people—but by 2017, 2K had moved it to Novato, California, where the publisher’s corporate offices are based. In the coming months, 2K started quietly recruiting staff, including some who had worked on Mafia III at Hangar 13 next door.
This Parkside team stayed small as their new BioShock entered early pre-production. The team remained quiet, even after a Kotaku report revealed its existence in April 2018. And today, two years after the studio formed, 2K has finally announced its existence (along with a sister studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada).
In a press release this morning, 2K said that Cloud Chamber “has started to work on the next iteration of the globally acclaimed BioShock franchise”—presumably the publisher forgot to hit send on the press release back in 2017.
BioShock games are smart, ambitious shooters that take narrative seriously, which is perhaps why all of them have gone through such hellish development cycles. The first BioShock went through a big reboot and brutal crunch at developer Irrational Games. The second BioShock, which was made by a studio called 2K Marin, also put its developers through tough crunch before they moved on to the ill-fated XCOM: The Bureau. This led to 2K quietly shutting down its Marin studio (which the publisher has never acknowledged). The third game, BioShock Infinite shipped in 2013 following years of cuts and reboots. Irrational, the studio behind BioShocks 1 and 3, shut down a year later. Here’s hoping BioShock 4 has better luck.