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While Irrational Games may have been dissolved, with studio founder Ken Levine starting Ghost Story Games to work on smaller projects, that doesn't mean the end of Bioshock. Publisher 2K Games has announced the formation of a new studio, Cloud Chamber, to work on the next generation of Bioshock games.
Based in two offices, one in California and the other Montreal, Cloud Chambers has already started work on a new Bioshock game. Through the press release we were sent makes clear that it "will be in development for the next several years".
Going through the job ads up for the new studio, we can glean a few details about the new game. Naturally, these may change, especially if the game is early in development, but the senior systems designer posting asks for "experience with open world games", which suggests a significant shift from previous Bioshock games. While they had open combat spaces, they were largely linear games.
Meanwhile, the lead combat/AI designer role confirms the game is a first-person shooter. That was unlikely to have changed from the earlier games, but who knows - the idea for a third-person Bioshock may well have been thrown around. At multiple points in the job posting, the ad makes clear the team are making a reactive game world, a rich combat system that lets you define a play style, and that the team want to foster emergent gameplay: "We want you to help us breathe life into a new and fantastical world. Together, we will set the stage for a stunning narrative and systems-driven experience. [...] You love the idea of player expression, and get excited by emergent design and experiences."
The studio is headed up by Kelley Gilmore, who has spent two decades working in the industry and previously worked at Firaxis on the XCOM reboots and Civilization games. She's joined by a number of developers who previously worked on Bioshock, too, such as creative director Hoagy de la Plante, art director Scott Sinclaire, and design director Jonathan Pelling. Speaking to MCV, Gilmore adds that "Our team also consists of game development veterans from franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Star Wars, Battlefield and Walking Dead. I'm confident that the depth and variety of game development experience at Cloud Chamber will lead to another unforgettable Bioshock experience."
In a sign of welcome change, Gilmore is the first woman to lead a 2K development studio, it also appears that is a strong push to build a diverse team. "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 says in the press release announcing the studio. "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 honored to be part of the 2K family as stewards of this iconic franchise."
Beyond saying that a new Bioshock game is in development, the announcement doesn't reveal any details about the game. For instance, what time period it will be set, how much it will follow the model laid down in the first Bioshock and then cemented in Bioshock Infinite, or if it will be a sequel or a reboot of the series.
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