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“Day 4. I’ve looked everywhere, but I can’t find anything to eat or a clue to get me off the ship. Just… more audiologs! They’re everywhere! For some reason I keep listening to every minute of every one thinking there’ll be some useful information but… they’re just filler! Filler that’s driving me to madness!”> – South Park: The Stick Of Truth
It’s hard to argue. They’re kinda dumb. But I’m still fond of this stupid little trope.
Rapture is still one of my favourite video game places, and I’m quite keen to return to it all fancied-up. Following a string of leaks, publishers 2K today announced BioShock: The Collection [official site]. It’s coming our way in September with all three BioShock games and their singleplayer DLC plus a video series with words from sweet Ken Levine. Most notably, the first two are being revamped – though 2K say Binfinite is pretty enough already. It is quite pretty, that’s true. Here, catch a few glimpses at the nice improved Rapture in this announcement trailer:
BioShock: The Collection is the deeply uninspiring name for a bundle of all the previous BioShock games that for some reason 2K are still refusing to acknowledge. It’s now been rated by bodies around the world, including the ESRB, and yet 2K still remain schtum. Which is weird. Anyway, it’ll contain all three games, and in case you’ve forgotten, “Cutscenes also depict intense acts of violence,” and the c-word makes appearances. All games should be announced by the ESRB! It’ll potentially have had a little brush up and tidy, to look prettier on the young people’s modern consoles, but that’s not yet confirmed. Right, I’ve somehow included all the news about this above the jump, so join me for some fascinating sea-life facts below. BioShock is set in the sea, and that’s my excuse.
And now on Vague, Possibly-Nothing News Hour, it’s the apparent leak of something called The BioShock Collection, which appears to comprise BioShock 1, BioShock 2 and BioShock: Infinite Art Budget. Which isn’t super-interesting in itself, given we’ve all been able to pick up said bundle or the components thereof for absurdly low prices in various Steam sales. What is> twisting my Plasmids, man, is that the leak claims this pack is coming out for Xbone and PS4 in addition to PC. Which might meant that we’re in for a – oh lord, save me from the buzzwords – next-gen spit’n’polish of the series.
Expansion packs were once a core part of playing PC games, but they can often feel less essential in a world of constant updates and microtransactions. Original game Alec, expansions Adam and Graham, and brief DLC Alice gathered to discuss their favourite game expansions and why they still think the model works.
A few months ago I published up my impressions of an early build of The Flame in the Flood [official site], a sort of roguelike/white water rafting mash-up set in the backwaters of a drowned but contemporary America, and made by ex-Irrational, Harmonix, and Bungie devs. Which was jolly stupid of me, given the only other people who could play it at that point where those who’d backed its Kickstarter. Fortunately, it’s now on Steam Early Access, which means you can buy it, which means I positively demand that you read my earlier article on it first.
Ken Levine has moved onto other projects, and Irrational essentially no longer exists, but publishers 2K have declared that the BioShock series will continue nonetheless. Good, I’m glad: the games so far have had downs as well as ups to say the least, but they have, to a one, attempted to do things that other big-budget shooters do not. It’d be a terrible shame if that was lost and the floor ceded to yet more military-inspired prepostero-realism. I’m also fascinated to see what a BioShock game that wasn’t led by someone who has, for better or worse, become something of a figurehead for game stories and high concepts would look like. Would they become more free to explore their own worlds, less hampered by the need to meet expectations of Big Ideas and Ultimate Answers?
There are things I’d like the next game to try. There are things I desperately pray it doesn’t do. These are just a few of each. Would you kindly take a look? (Contains some spoilers for BioShock 1 & Infinite).