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Bioshock Franchise Pack

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Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Returning to Rapture is now a lot less expensive, thanks to the folks at Humble Bundle. The latest bundle offers a slate of 2K Games, headlined by the BioShock series. Players will have the option to allocate their funds among 2K Games, Humble Bundle, and the Action Against Hunger and American Red Cross charities.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 7">steam sale day 7







We've now been living and breathing the Steam Summer Sale for a week, losing sleep for every flash sale, antsy with anticipation every time the new deals tick over. We're feverish from the savings, but it would be madness to stop saving now. Today's deals fuel our appetite for strategy, shooting, and launching valiant little green men into space on absurdly oversized rockets.



Don t forget to check out GOG s summer deals, too.



Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal.

5 - The Banner Saga

50% off: $12.49 / 9.49 - Steam store page

One of the biggest artistic achievements in gaming this year. We love The Banner Saga s hand-drawn characters and how they animate on the battlefield, but we especially enjoy the way its detailed, Nordic landscapes parallax as your caravan of warriors and survivors march on. The Austin Wintory score is a cherry on the top.

4 - Kerbal Space Program

40% off: $16.19 / 11.99 - Steam store page

We ve murdered a lot of aliens in games, but only in KSP have we stranded little green guys in planetary orbit due to our grossly incompetent management of a budding space program. The Early Access rocket physics simulator is one of the best games still under development, and already has a large community of engineers sharing stories of harrowing space missions, ship designs, and mods. KSP has even made its way into classrooms.



Read Ian s five-part Kerbal Space Program chronicle to see how he learned rocket-building basics and launched a mission to the M n.

3 - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

50% off: $7.49 / 5.99 - Steam store page

The best competitive FPS on PC owes a lot to its skill-based matchmaking format. At any skill level, five-on-five Counter-Strike narrows the range of tactical choices available to you and the time you have to make them, creating a wonderfully concentrated competitive mode. Otherwise, CS:GO is mainly a vehicle for microtransactions: beware the allure of $400 virtual knives.

2 - Tomb Raider

75% off: $4.99 / 3.74 - Steam store page Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST

Lara Croft returns in a gorgeous action game heavily inspired by Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. This younger, rebooted Lara doesn't have her predecessor's confidence or predilection for interesting puzzles the only tombs in this game are disappointingly short and simple but the shooting is by far the best in the series. Exploring Tomb Raider's island and crafting survival gear is also fun, as Lara is a nimble climber and each area is packed with interesting treasures to hunt down. For a challenge, forgo the assault rifle and grenade launcher for Lara's incredibly satisfying (and silent!) bow.

1 - BioShock Triple Pack

83% off: $10.19 / 6.79 - Steam store page

If you haven t explored the ruins of Rapture, you re in for a treat. BioShock s world is a revelation, an under-the-sea society that s crumbled under its own weight, and exploring what remains of it and shooting its crazy inhabitants in the face with fireballs is a delight. BioShock 2 goes even further, changing your perspective and adding a surprising amount of depth with its own story. Irrational s swansong, BioShock Infinite, may still be polarizing, but Columbia is just as beautiful and terrifying as Rapture, and well worth exploring. All three are included here in a bundle that s too cheap to pass up.



Other great deals today

Remember that games not categorized as Daily Deals or Flash Sales may be reduced further later in the sale.



Bastion (40% off) $8.99 / 6.59

Killing Floor (50% off) $9.99 / 7.49

Mirror's Edge (75% off) $4.99 / 2.49

Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition (66% off) $6.79 / 5.09
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

With Irrational 20,000 leagues under and Ken Levine off doing his own, significantly smaller thing at 2K, you might think BioShock dead in the water. You would, however, be wrong. Following on from Levine’s original comment that he was leaving the series in 2K’s hands, Take-Two Big Daddy Strauss Zelnick has confirmed at a recent analyst conference that the oft-divisive series will carry on and once-thought-dead BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin will do the honors.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Take-Two CEO points to a future for the BioShock series">Bioshock Infinite 4k 12





When Irrational Games closed earlier this year many assumed it would mark the end of the BioShock series. While critically adored, 2013 s BioShock Infinite did not attract the astronomical sales figures video game publishers expect nowadays. But according to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, a future for the series has not been ruled out. In fact, during an address at the Cowen and Company analyst conference last week, attended by Gamespot, he explicitly stated that the future of the series lay in the hands of 2K Marin.

"We haven't given any colour on how you should think about yet except we do believe it's beloved. We think it's important certainly something that we're focused on; something 2K Marin will be responsible for shepherding going forward.

I think there's a lot of upside in that franchise," Zelnick continued. "It hasn't necessarily been realised yet. And the question for the future, assuming we decide to answer the question, would be 'How do you stay true to that creatively?'; 'How do you do something exciting?'; and 'How do you do expand the market?'. That would be the natural drill. We're starting from a good point on it. And certainly it's been a great piece of business for us; it's been a profitable piece of business."

Zelnick also commented on Take-Two s strongest performing IPs: Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto and Borderlands. While there s still no news on whether Rockstar will release PC editions of Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto 5, Zelnick did say that both were permanent franchises: evidence enough that a Red Dead Redemption sequel will appear one of these days.

He also took an opportunity to engage in one of the video game world s favourite pastimes: sledging Duke Nukem Forever. Noting that Take-Two s success rate is unusually high due to their careful approach to nurturing IPs, Zelnick admitted that Duke Nukem Forever was a mistake.

"We have a really high hit ratio. It's probably not realistic to believe it could be much higher than it is, he said.

We've had precious few flops. And at least, of the few I can think of - and I can think of a few, sadly - at least one of them was just a misguided decision on my part, which was Duke Nukem.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Sometimes you want to charge guns, swords, and words a-blazin into a game world and tame the land until Iron Maiden writes a song about you. Other times, you just want to heft your heavy eyelids, sip a light tea, and gently sail through friendly old places made new again. You’ve got a long day ahead of you, but you don’t have to venture out into the cruel sadlands of life just yet. Remember better days. Here, let me help with videos of the original BioShock and Deus Ex: Human Revolution re-realized in Unreal Engine 4. They’re quite a sight.

… [visit site to read more]

Shacknews - Steve Watts
Word of a BioShock movie adaptation is starting to bubble up yet again. This time, the impetus is from Sony Pictures, which has registered three new domains related to the adaptation. This appears to be an effort to lock down the names, though, so once again we may not see anything come of it.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

SOMA didn’t scare the scuba suit off me, but I did find a creeping sort of potential in its soaked-to-the-bone corridors. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2 this ain’t. Or at least, it’s not aiming to be. Currently, it still feels a lot like a slower-paced, less-monster-packed Amnesia in a different (though still very traditionally survival-horror-y) setting, but Frictional creative director Thomas Grip has big plans. I spoke with him about how he hopes to evolve the game, inevitable comparisons to the Big Daddy of gaming’s small undersea pond, BioShock, why simple monster AI is better than more sophisticated options, the mundanity of death, and how SOMA’s been pretty profoundly influenced by indie mega-hits like Dear Esther and Gone Home.>

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

BioShock Infinite’s DLC, BioShock Infinite and BioShock 1 concludes with this second, longer, stealthier half of last November’s return to Rapture. It’s out now. >

You’ll hear no politics from me, though by God it’s tempting to correlate Burial At Sea Part 2′s status as a swansong for two BioShock universes with the recent, shock closure of Irrational. Whatever else there is to both tales, at least this concluding DLC for BioShock Infinite reverses the sense of decline we’ve seen since the original BioShock. Despite a multitude of sins it does leapfrog both Infinite and its own, irritatingly slight if visually flabbergasting Part 1. It also includes the single most unpleasant – and frankly needless with it – moment I’ve ever experienced in a videogame. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Irrational Games: a fond farewell">Shodan







Last week Ken Levine announced that Irrational Games as we know it is coming to an end. Most of the team are to be laid off as the studio that gave us System Shock 2, SWAT 4, Freedom Force and Bioshock shuts its doors. The world knows them as the Bioshock developers, but for PC players, they've offered much more. We gather to reflect on the end of a great studio and celebrate their output.



Tim Clark

Group senior editor



Having experienced several redundancies firsthand, I feel beholden to say that it will be a hugely traumatic time for those involved and that our first thoughts should be with them. Equally, having been there, I know that those sort of public expressions of sympathy, however well meaning, ultimately feel hollow and don t help you make the rent. But completely selfishly, as someone who plays and writes about videogames, who loved the original BioShock and with minor caveats also loved Infinite, I feel a sadness that we won t be any more visiting worlds cut from Irrational s cloth.



Whatever your issues with those games themes and mechanics, in terms of pure art design there are few destinations in the canon as startling and memorable as Rapture s watery mausoleum and Columbia s star-spangled inferno. If you believe, as I at least partially do, Kieron Gillen s idea that games writing makes us travel journalists reporting from imaginary places, then it s hard not to (selfishly) see the closure of Irrational as also being the destruction of worlds we ll now never get to explore.



Sam Roberts

Editor, PC Gamer UK



I think BioShock popularised the first-person shooter/RPG hybrid, non-cutscene storytelling and moral choices in games that, to me, is Irrational s legacy, getting developers to rethink the presentation of story or the depth of their combat systems. System Shock 2 introduced much of what made BioShock special, but for many of those millions of players entering Rapture, this was an entirely new phenomenon that broadened their perception of what interactive narrative could achieve.



Infinite continued that, for me, and like BioShock explored the kind of mature subject matter that is rarely touched upon by triple-A games. That Infinite was contentious is fine with me it s big, beautiful and incomprehensible, but worth talking about in a way that games so rarely are.



The people at Irrational have changed immeasurably over the years, of course, but what a legacy to have every one of its seven titles be lauded by players and the press. That moniker will always stand for quality. If you re mourning the studio, I recommend listening to the Irrational podcasts, which offer a fascinating cross-section of a studio loaded with talented people it s a real sadness that this culture no longer exists, and I wish the very best to those affected by the closure.







Tom Senior

Web editor



"I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it," Ken Levine wrote last Tuesday. Whether or not the Irrational name lives on in Levine's new small new endeavour seems moot. This will be the end of Irrational's output as we know it. Console players will know Irrational as the BioShock developers, but we knew them first as the team behind System Shock 2 and SWAT 4. Their first game a cyberpunk horror set in a drifting space hulk, complete with a manic rogue AI. Their last a blitz through a collapsing society in a floating city. In between they made a great co-op friend-tasering sim called SWAT 4, and a superb superhero adventure Freedom Force. And Tribes Vengeance. Man. It s painful to lose a studio with the imagination and boldness to build those worlds.



It's a sad fact that studios are downsized, moved and disbanded all the time, but Levine's message, in which he seems to take personal responsibility for the studio's downsizing, has made this a slightly unusual case. Overzealous corners of the internet jumped on the wording of the post in minutes. The idea of a great studio meeting its demise at the hands of an auteur gone mad is seductively simple, and travels well in 140 characters.



The real story is likely a more familiar one. The huge costs of blockbuster development continue to grow, and Infinite languished in development for many years. In the high-level staff changes, rumours of scrapped multiplayer modes and regular delays, there were hints at a fraught development process. In that scenario even millions of sales can deliver below-estimate profits. A few years back, 2K Marin were smushed into 2K Australia. Like any publisher, Take Two are happy to reform their brace of studios. But with Irrational breaking up, who will take over the Shock series?



It won't be Ken Levine. He's heading up a team of 15 to work on "highly replayable" games that are "narrative-driven." Perhaps he's taking notes from the success of former Irrational and 2K Marin designer Steve Gaynor and, formerly of 2K Marin, Karla Zimonja. With Johnnemann Nordhagen they founded the Fullbright Company, who turned around their narrative-driven debut game, Gone Home, in less than two years to critical success.



If market forces have put an end to Irrational, then the studio has suffered the same fate as Thief and System Shock developers, Looking Glass Studios. The parallels between the two stretch beyond their shared staff members. The design ethos that built System Shock has filtered into the BioShock games, and there's tremendous variety to the output of both studios. Irrational's demise is a blow, but those design ideas, and the flair and skill that went into the construction of the floating city of Columbia will continue to coarse through the industry, as the talent of Looking Glass and Ion Storm did in the 2000s. I'll remember them for the clinical blue-white corridors of the Von Braun, the disturbing scenes at the Fairfax residence in SWAT 4, and those tense first steps into Bioshock's lighthouse. We'll surely see flashes of Irrational's brilliance in many games to come.



Wes Fenlon

Features Editor



BioShock was a masterful maze of abandoned homes and once-thriving businesses, with the remnants of former lives told through scattered items and bodies and audio logs. It had personality, even when it was haunting. But nothing else in the game could compare to Fort Frolic, the weirdest, creepiest, funniest place in Rapture. It's easily my favorite level in BioShock, and one of the most evocative video game levels I've ever played. Sander Cohen's artistic presence permeates every corner of Fort Frolic he made that part of Rapture his canvas, and he painted it with madness.



Later in the game, the showdown with Andrew Ryan is BioShock's big thematic reveal. It says something very direct about how we play games, and player choice, and the dissonance between our thoughts and actions. But Fort Frolic has a subtle, perfect moment of dissonance of its own, when The Nutcracker's Waltz of the Flowers begins playing and Cohen's horribly disfigured, beautifully acrobatic Splicer ballerinas come for your life. I was in awe, and completely freaked, as I ran from the Splicers, the music crescendoed, and Cohen yelled "Smile! Smile!" in the background.



The dissonance between the Waltz's beauty and the game's horror that's the moment from BioShock that's going to stick with me forever, and it's on a shortlist of never-forget gaming memories for me. It's a shame that everyone at Irrational who collaborated to make that moment possible artists and animators and writers and sound designers won't have a chance to make another one together.





Phil Savage

Staff writer



It feels callous to look to the future when so many of the studio's staff will now be looking to secure their present. The thing I hope for is that, as Irrational's former employees move on to new things, the ideas and ambition that the studio strived to achieve will germinate throughout the industry. A lot of studios are going to be hiring some phenomenal talent, and I suspect a lot of new indie teams are about to appear as well. Both are an exciting prospect, because, while few development teams could boast the budget of late-era Irrational, the design-led philosophy has already paid dividends for smaller, more focused games.



It's telling that two of PC Gamer's favourite games of last year Gone Home and Card Hunter had former Irrational staff among their teams. One provided an engaging, character-led narrative through atmosphere and exploration, while the other deftly weaved two genres into a inventive and satisfying hybrid.



There's been plenty of speculation about whether the type of games Irrational make have a future. Really, it depends on whether you associate them with sprawling spectacle, or systemic diversity. I'd argue that Irrational's strength from System Shock 2 through to BioShock Infinite has been in the latter, and in the way their systems filtered through to the story and presentation. Those lessons can be applied whatever sized game someone's making.



Whether from Levine, his former staff, or other developers who are inspired by their games, Irrational's legacy will be felt for a long time to come.



Cory Banks

Managing Editor



I want to be angry about Irrational Games. I want someone to blame. I could be furious at Ken Levine, the studio s creative director and head honcho, who authored the press release revealing that Irrational as you know it was going away. How dare he fire 90 percent of the studio s staff, just so he can make smaller games? Because surely it was just that simple, right?



Or maybe I blame Take-Two Interactive. It s been speculated that BioShock Infinite, Irrational s final game, took so long to make and had such a troubled development period that the game s $4 million in sales isn t enough profit for the bigwigs. Maybe, says the Internet, Take-Two decided to pull the plug on the beloved studio, and kept Levine around because he s one of the few "name" developers left. Because that's what corporations do, right?



Maybe I just blame the dying Triple-A videogame, or retail shops that charge too much for games and drive customers away, or any number of other variables. Would that make me feel better?



No.



The fact that Irrational Games is gone at least as we know it is sad, as is the fact that so many talented developers, engineers, producers, quality assurance testers, and other staff now face the uncertainty of knowing where their next paycheck is coming from. And I want to yell and scream and turn on Caps Lock and launch my fury out into the ether. But it won t help.



What does help, at least for me, is believing that Levine and Take-Two are doing everything they say to help the team that made BioShock Infinite find new jobs. So does remembering that talented people can move on and continue to make their art. And what will ease the immediate pain is going back to play the games that made me love Irrational in the first place: System Shock 2, Freedom Force, SWAT 4, BioShock. Instead of raging against the machines for transgressions I neither know to be true or even understand, I choose to remember and enjoy the games that will be Irrational's legacy. It's not the act of a revolutionary, but it's the best I've got.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Irrational Games “winding down,” Ken Levine starting smaller team within Take-Two">Levine







Today, Ken Levine announced that Irrational Games will be winding down as we know it after it releases the last piece of DLC for BioShock Infinite. Levine will be starting a smaller, "more entrepreneurial" endeavor at Take-Two, which also worked with him on the BioShock games. Unfortunately, this means Irrational will let go of all but 15 employees.



Levine co-founded Irrational Games seventeen years ago with Jon Chey and Rob Fermier. The studio has developed BioShock, BioShock Infinite, Freedom Force, SWAT 4, and others.



"Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one. And working with the incredible team at Irrational Games is indeed the best job I've ever had," Levine said in a message on Irrational's official site. "While I m deeply proud of what we've accomplished together, my passion has turned to making a different kind of game than we've done before. To meet the challenge ahead, I need to refocus my energy on a smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers. In many ways, it will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience."



Levine said that in time he will announce a new endeavor, which will aim to make narrative-driven games for "core" gamers that reward multiple playthroughs, that focus on direct relationship with fans, and dedicated to delivering digital content exclusively.



The laid off members of Irrational will receive financial support, access to the office to put together their portfolios, and offered opportunities within Take-Two.



Levine also said that Irrational will do its best to update the site with an FAQ.
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