BioShock 4: everything we know about the new game and new studio behind it

(Image credit: 2K Games)

After years beneath a murky pool of rumor and speculation, BioShock 4 emerged in 2019 just long enough for 2K to confirm its development at newly-formed studio Cloud Chamber. It then disappeared once more, and we haven't heard anything since. We're in a wasteland devoid of details, but as far as we know, BioShock 4 is still in development.

Of course, fans are more than happy to fill the void of information with plenty of wild conjecture about the next BioShock game. Job postings and supposed leaks have spun into elaborate theories about BioShock 4's scope and setting, with no way to prove or disprove anything. Everything could be true and probably very little is, but we can't know which is which until sometime in 2023. Hopefully.

Until concrete information about the next BioShock emerges, here’s everything we’ve scraped together about what the game might be, who’s working on it, and when it could be released.

Is there a release date for BioShock 4?

It's too early to even spitball a potential release window, unfortunately. While we can hope it's entered full production already, we don't actually know what stage the game is in without any concrete information.

Leaks suggest Bioshock 4's setting is 1960's Antarctica

Youtuber Colin Moriarty has given us our first tidbits of any substance on his podcast Sacred Symbols, saying: "It takes place in a 1960s Antarctic city called Borealis. [The game's] codenamed 'Parkside'… I’ve been told that the development team has incredible latitude to get it right."

Like any rumor, we should take this with a big dose of tempered expectations—but it's hard to argue with how exciting the visuals here could be. Visions of arctic research stations and vintage scientific equipment dance through heads.

2K formed a new studio to work on BioShock 4

Although rumors about the next BioShock game had been circulating for about a year prior, we finally got confirmation of its existence when publisher 2K announced the formation of the new studio, Cloud Chamber. 

2K describes the new studio, led by Kelley Gilmore, as "a collective of storytellers eager to push the frontlines of interactive entertainment by making unique, entertaining and thoughtful experiences that engage the world."

One thing we definitely know is that Ken Levine, creative director from BioShock 1 and Infinite, won't be involved. Levine shut down Irrational Games after wrapping up BioShock Infinite and has since launched new, smaller studio Ghost Story Games (also under 2K) to work on an unannounced project. 

Will BioShock 4 still be a shooter? 

(Image credit: 2K)

Definitely. When announcing that BioShock 4 is in the works, 2K said it can't wait to see where the new studio Cloud Chamber takes its "powerful narrative and iconic, first-person shooter gameplay" in the future. 

BioShock may be in new hands, which does inevitably mean some change, but it sounds like Cloud Chamber will be marching along with a focus on what made the previous games popular. 

How long has BioShock 4 been in development?

According to a Kotaku report, this isn't the first iteration of BioShock 4. Apparently it was originally in development at Certain Affinity under the codename Parkside in 2015. That version of BioShock 4 was cancelled sometime in 2016. The current version of BioShock 4 has been in development, Kotaku says, since 2017. 

Fortunately, that's plenty of time for the studio to have gotten a head start on the new game. Although Cloud Chamber's existence was only announced in 2019, it sounds like the team has been quietly working on BioShock 4 for some time.

Do we know anything about BioShock 4's story? 

(Image credit: 2K)

BioShock Infinite's final DLC, Burial at Sea, wrapped up some loose ends, which makes it a bit hard to speculate on what the next game will be like. It seems unlikely that BioShock 4 will be a direct sequel to Infinite. 

We'd speculate that BioShock 4 might distance itself from Infinite a bit by exploring new characters and new locations. Given the infinite lighthouses leading to alternate worlds in Infinite's Sea of Doors, perhaps we'll end up visiting another reality entirely. Oh, and Cloud Chamber's website has a lighthouse centered pretty prominently near the top of the page, which reads like a clue to us. There's always a lighthouse, etc.

We can at least rest easy knowing that where and whenever BioShock 4's story takes place, the story itself will be an important part of the experience. "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," says Cloud Chamber's global studio head Kelley Gilmore.

The phrase "yet-to-be-discovered worlds" does suggest that BioShock 4 will be headed somewhere entirely new rather than back to Rapture. 

There's a BioShock movie in production

While we wait with not-at-all-frenzied patience for BioShock 4 news, we might get something to watch along the way, at least. Since screen adaptations of games have advanced to being kind of alright now and then, an exec at Netflix must have shrugged and said "yeah, alright" to the wild-eyed fans who've been demanding a BioShock movie since the first game's release in 2007.

Director Francis Lawrence, at the diving-helm of the project after having worked on the upcoming Slumberland for Netflix and other projects like the Hunger Games, has confirmed that the movie is currently being written by Michael Green, writer for Blade Runner 2049. In an interview with Collider, Lawrence called BioShock "one of the best games ever created"—hopefully, that enthusiasm will translate into movie quality.

When will we hear more about BioShock 4? 

Given how tight-lipped 2K and Cloud Chamber have been so far, it could be a while before we hear more about the next BioShock. We didn't hear any mention of BioShock 4 during the various digital showcases of 2020 and 2021. Perhaps we'll hear more in 2022.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.