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BioShock is a first-person shooter video game, developed by 2K Boston/2K Australia—previously known as Irrational Games—designed by Ken Levine. It was released for the Windows operating system and Xbox 360 video game console on August 21, 2007, in North America, and three days later in Europe and Australia. A PlayStation 3 version of the game, which was developed by 2K Marin, was released internationally on October 17, 2008 and in North America on October 21, 2008 with some additional features.The game was also released for the Mac OS X operating system on October 7, 2009. A version of the game for mobile platforms is currently being developed by IG Fun. A sequel, BioShock 2, is scheduled for release on February 9, 2010.

Set in an alternate history 1960, the game places the player in the role of a plane crash survivor named Jack, who must explore the underwater city of Rapture, and survive attacks by the mutated beings and mechanical drones that populate it. The game incorporates elements found in role-playing and survival games, and is described by the developers and Levine as a "spiritual successor" to their previous titles in the System Shock series.

The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews, being particularly well-reviewed in the mainstream press, which praised its "morality-based" storyline, immersive environment and Ayn Rand-inspired dystopian back-story.

Gameplay

BioShock is a first-person shooter with role-playing game customization and stealth elements, and is similar to System Shock 2. The player takes the role of Jack, who aims to fight his way through Rapture, using weapons and plasmids in order to complete objectives. At times, the player may opt to use stealth tactics to avoid detection by security cameras and automated turrets. While exploring Rapture, the player collects money, which can be used at various vending machines to gain ammunition, health, and additional equipment, or can be used to improve Jack's current weapons. The player also comes across spare parts that can be used at "U-Invent" machines to create new weapons or usable items. Cameras, turrets, and vending machines can all be hacked to the player's advantage, such as turning on enemy foes or purchasing items at a discount. Hacking requires the player to complete a mini-game similar to Pipe Dream in a limited amount of time. The player is given a "research camera" early in the game, allowing Jack to take photographs of enemies to help analyze them, with better quality photographs providing more beneficial analysis. After performing enough analysis of an enemy, the player is granted increased damage, gene tonics, and other bonuses when facing that type of enemy in future battles. Glass-walled "Vita-Chambers" can also be found throughout the game, which the player does not use directly. Instead, should Jack die, his body is reconstituted at the nearest one, retaining all of his possessions, but only a portion of his full health. In a patch for the game, the player has the option to disable the use of these Vita-Chambers, such that if Jack dies, the player will need to restart from a saved game.

The player can collect and assign a number of plasmids and gene tonics which grant Jack the ability to unleash special attacks or confer passive benefits such as improved health or hacking skills. "Active" plasmids—those that are triggered by the player such as most offensive plasmids— require an amount of the EVE serum to be used in a manner similar to magic points; EVE can be replenished via syringes. These plasmids also alter the player's appearance to reflect "sacrificing one's humanity". "Tonics" are passive plasmids and require no EVE to gain their benefit; the player can only equip a limited number of plasmids and tonics at any time. The game encourages the use of creative combination of plasmids, weapons, and the use of the environment.

A Big Daddy defends a Little Sister from two Splicers, while the player watches.
Plasmids can be collected at certain points around the city, but most often are purchased by the player at "Gatherer's Gardens" using the ADAM mutagen they have collected from Little Sisters. In order to collect the ADAM, the player must first defeat the "Big Daddy"—genetically enhanced humans grafted to an armored diving suit—that accompanies and guards each Little Sister. After this, the player has a moral choice: either to kill the Little Sister to harvest a great deal of ADAM, or to save the Little Sister and gain a smaller amount, though for every three sisters spared a gift of a large amount of ADAM is given to the player. While both choices have their advantages, this element of conflicting morals has an impact on the storyline, and, among other things, on the difficulty of the game itself.

Synopsis

Setting

BioShock is set during 1960, in Rapture, a fictional underwater dystopian/anti-utopian city. The history of Rapture is learned by the player through audio recordings as he explores the city. Rapture was envisioned by the Randian business magnate Andrew Ryan, who wanted to create a laissez-faire state to escape increasingly oppressive political, economic, and religious authority on land. The city was secretly built in 1946 on a mid-Atlanticmarker seabed, utilizing submarine volcanoes to provide geothermal power. Scientific progress flourished in Rapture, leading to rapid developments in engineering and biotechnology thanks in part to the brilliant scientists that Ryan brought to the city. One such advancement was ADAM, stem cells harvested from a previously unknown species of sea slug, which were discovered by Dr. Bridgette Tenenbaum to have the ability to regenerate damaged tissue and rewrite the human genome. Tenenbaum joined with businessman and mobster Frank Fontaine to create the plasmid industry, which offered superhuman physical enhancements to its customers. Tenenbaum found that ADAM could be mass-produced by implanting the slugs in the stomachs of young girls ("Little Sisters"), taken from orphanages founded by Fontaine.

As time passed, the gap between rich and poor increased. Frank Fontaine established charity organizations to support the underclass (something antithetical to Ryan's philosophy). Ironically, his motives were far from benign; his ultimate goal was to use his charity organizations to manipulate the underclass. He also established a smuggling operation to supply citizens with forbidden items from the surface, such as religious material. These, along with his control of the plasmid industry, made him immensely powerful. He tried to overthrow Ryan, but the revolt was violently crushed and Fontaine was reportedly killed. Ryan seized control of Fontaine's plasmid business. Within a few months, a new figure named Atlas rose as the leader of the disgruntled lower class. On New Year's Eve of 1959, Atlas and his ADAM-infused followers began a new revolt against Ryan that spread throughout Rapture. Ryan in turn began splicing his own forces, and his paranoia had reached such a level he was hanging dozens of people, mostly innocent, in Rapture's main square. In order to solve ADAM shortages, the Little Sisters were mentally conditioned to wander the city and extract ADAM from the dead, recycling it into raw ADAM in their bellies after swallowing it. "Big Daddies", enhanced and mentally sterilized humans in armored diving suits, were created by Dr. Suchong, the scientist behind many plasmids, to protect the Little Sisters in their work.

A drawback of ADAM is that a user must take regular infusions or suffer mental and physical degeneration. As the war disrupted production and supply, every ADAM user in the city eventually went violently insane. By the time the player arrives, only a handful of non-mutated humans survive in barricaded hideouts.

Story

The underwater city of Rapture
At the start of the game, Jack (the player protagonist) is a passenger on a plane that goes down in the Atlantic Ocean in 1960, after ordered society in Rapture has collapsed. After surfacing, Jack finds himself the only survivor of the crash, and swims to a nearby towering lighthouse on an island, where he finds a bathysphere which he uses to descend into the ocean and enter the city of Rapture. An Irishman, Atlas, via the service radio found in the bathysphere, assists Jack in making his way to safety, while Ryan, believing Jack to be an agent of a surface nation, uses Rapture's automated systems and his pheromone-controlled Splicers against him. Atlas tells Jack that the only way he can survive is to use the abilities granted by plasmids, and that he must kill the Little Sisters to extract their ADAM. Overhearing Atlas' words, Dr. Tenenbaum intercepts Jack, and urges him to save the Little Sisters instead, giving him a plasmid that will displace the embedded sea slugs in each Sister. Atlas says his wife and child have been hiding on a submarine and directs Jack towards it. Just as Jack and Atlas reach the bay where it is located, Ryan has it destroyed; an enraged Atlas asks Jack to kill Ryan.

Eventually, Jack confronts Ryan in his office, where the latter is casually playing golf. Ryan reveals a truth that he has pieced together. Jack was actually born in Rapture a mere two years ago, genetically modified to mature rapidly. He is Ryan's illegitimate son by an affair with Jasmine Jolene, a dancer. Ryan further reveals that, after purchasing Jack's embryo, Frank Fontaine designed him to obey orders that are preceded or followed by the specific phrase "Would you kindly..." Jack was then sent to the surface when the war started to put him beyond Ryan's reach. When the conflict between Fontaine and Ryan reached a stalemate, Jack was sent instructions to board a flight with a package and to use its contents, a revolver, to hijack and crash the plane near the lighthouse; enabling him to return to Rapture as a tool of Fontaine. Because Jack was Ryan's son, he could freely use Rapture's bathysphere network, which had been locked out to everyone except those within Ryan's "genetic ballpark". Finally, Ryan has Jack kill him, wanting to die on his own terms. With Ryan's death, Jack realizes too late that Atlas has also been using the trigger phrase to control him. Atlas reveals himself as Fontaine, who faked his death to throw Ryan off his trail and take control of the city, leaving Jack at the mercy of the reactivated security systems. Dr. Tenenbaum and her Little Sisters help Jack escape through the vent system, where he falls and loses consciousness.

When Jack awakens, Dr. Tenenbaum has already deactivated some of his conditioned responses (such as the trigger phrase itself) and assists him in breaking the remaining ones, among them one that would have eventually stopped his heart. When it becomes clear to Fontaine that he is losing control of Jack, Fontaine points out the peculiar fact that Tenenbaum has survived both World War II as a Holocaust victim and the battle in Rapture, insinuating that she has a secret agenda of her own. With the help of the Little Sisters, Jack is able to track down Fontaine. Fontaine, having been cornered, injects himself with vast amounts of ADAM and becomes an inhuman monster. Jack battles Fontaine, eventually prevailing and allowing the Little Sisters to subdue and extract the ADAM from Fontaine, killing him.

Three endings are possible depending on how the player interacted with the Little Sisters, all narrated by Dr. Tenenbaum. If the player rescued all of the Little Sisters (therefore saving their lives), the ending shows five Little Sisters returning to the surface with Jack and living full lives under his care, including their graduating from college, getting married, and having children; it ends on a heart-warming tone, with an elderly Jack surrounded on his deathbed by all five of the adult Little Sisters.

If the player harvested (and therefore killed) all of the Little Sisters, the game ends with Jack turning on the Sisters after defeating Fontaine, presumably killing them all and taking their ADAM. Tenenbaum narrates what occurred, condemning Jack and his actions, voice thick with anger and contempt. Later in the second ending, a ballistic missile submarine carrying a nuclear missile comes across the wreckage of the plane and is suddenly surrounded by bathyspheres containing Splicers. The Splicers kill all hands aboard the submarine and take control of it. If the player saved some of the Little Sisters, but killed a fair few as well, the ending is visually identical to the second one, though the tone of Tenenbaum's voice is a sad one, as opposed to angry.

Development

Original story

Originally, BioShock had a storyline which was significantly different from that of the released version: the main character was a "cult deprogrammer"—a person charged with rescuing someone from a cult, and mentally and psychologically readjusting that person to a normal life. For example, Ken Levine cites an example of what a cult deprogrammer does: "[There are] people who hired people to [for example] deprogram their daughter who had been in a lesbian relationship. They kidnap her and reprogram her, and it was a really dark person, and that was the [kind of] character that you were." This story would have been more political in nature, with the character hired by a Senator. By the time development on BioShock was officially revealed in 2004, the story and setting had changed significantly. The game now took place in an abandoned World War II-era underground laboratory which had recently been unearthed by 21st century scientists. The genetic experiments within the labs had gradually formed themselves into an ecosystem centered around three "castes" of creatures, referred to as "drones," "soldiers," and "predators." This "AI ecology" would eventually form the basis for the "Little Sister," "Big Daddy," and "Splicer" dynamic seen in the completed game.

While the gameplay with this story was similar to what resulted in the released version of the game, the story underwent changes, consistent with what Levine says was then-Irrational Games' guiding principle of putting game design first. Levine also noted that "it was never my intention to do two endings for the game. It sort of came very late and it was something that was requested by somebody up the food chain from me."

In response to an interview question from the gaming website IGN about what influenced the game's story and setting, Levine said, "I have my useless liberal arts degree, so I've read stuff from Ayn Rand and George Orwell, and all the sort of utopian and dystopian writings of the 20th century, which I've found really fascinating." Levine has also mentioned an interest in "stem cell research and the moral issues that go around [it]." In regard to artistic influences, Levine cited the books Nineteen Eighty-Four and Logan's Run, representing societies that have "really interesting ideas screwed up by the fact that we're people."

According to the developers, BioShock is a spiritual successor to the System Shock games, and was produced by former developers of that series. Levine claims his team had been thinking about making another game in the same vein since they produced System Shock 2. In his narration of a video initially screened for the press at E3 2006, Levine pointed out many similarities between the games. There are several comparable gameplay elements: plasmids in BioShock supplied by "EVE hypos" serve the same function as "Psionic Abilities" supplied by "PSI hypos" in System Shock 2; the player needs to deal with security cameras, machine gun turrets, and hostile robotic drones, and has the ability to hack them in both games; ammunition conservation is stressed as "a key gameplay feature"; and audio tape recordings fulfil the same storytelling role that e-mail logs did in the System Shock games. The "ghosts" (phantom images that replay tragic incidents in the places they occurred) from System Shock 2 also exist in BioShock, as do modifiable weapons with multiple ammunition types and researching enemies for increased damage. Additionally, Atlas guides the player along by radio, in much the same way Janice Polito does in System Shock 2, with each having a similar twist mid-game. Both games also give the player more than one method of completing tasks, allowing for emergent gameplay.

Game engine

BioShock uses a highly modified version of the Unreal Engine 2.5 technology used by previous Irrational Games titles including SWAT 4 and SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate. In an interview at E3 in May 2006, Levine announced that Unreal Engine 3.0 features would also be integrated, and he emphasized the enhanced water effects: "We've hired a water programmer and water artist, just for this game, and they're kicking ass and you've never seen water like this." This graphical enhancement has been lauded by critics, with GameSpot saying, "Whether it's standing water on the floor or sea water rushing in after an explosion, it will blow you away every time you see it." The Windows version of BioShock can utilize Direct3D 10 features and content, if the system meets the hardware and software requirements, but it will also run on DirectX 9, if these requirements are not met, or if the video options are changed. There are a few differences in image quality between the two APIs, such as additional water reflections and soft particle effects, but they are subtle from the player's perspective. BioShock also uses Havok Physics, an engine that allows for an enhancement of in-game physics, and the integration of ragdoll physics, and allows for more lifelike movement by elements of the environment.

Chris Kline, lead programmer of BioShock, deemed BioShock as "heavily multithreaded" as it has the following elements running separately:

  • Simulation Update (1 thread)
  • UI update (1 thread)
  • Rendering (1 thread)
  • Physics (3 threads on Xenon, at least one on PC)
  • Audio state update (1 thread)
  • Audio processing (1 thread)
  • Texture streaming (1 thread)
  • File streaming (1 thread)


Demo

A demo was released on Xbox Live Marketplace on August 12, 2007, and the PC demo was officially released on August 20, 2007, and announced during Larry Hryb's (Major Nelson) interview with Ken Levine on his podcast. The demo contains the first 4–5 minutes of the game and includes a cinematic opening sequence that established the setting and initial plot lines, and the tutorial phase of the game. The demo also contained some differences from the release version such as an extra plasmid and weapons, alongside an earlier security system presence. These were introduced to give players access to several features of the full game. In nine days, the BioShock demo outperformed every other demo release on Xbox Live and became the fastest demo to reach one million downloads. The Steam demo was released on August 20, the day before the Steam release, and the PlayStation 3 demo was released on the PlayStation Store on October 2, 2008.

Updates

On September 6, 2007, the Xbox 360 version of BioShock received an update: "Improves general game stability, especially when loading autosaves. It also tweaks the way enemies use health stations and fixes a slight audio glitch during menu loading." Users were prompted to download the automatic update when they next started the game. The update has, however, been criticized for introducing several problems to the game, including occasional freezes, bad framerates, and even audio-related issues. The problem seems to be with the game's caching, and can be corrected by the user.

On December 4, 2007, a patch for the Windows version, and a title update and free downloadable content for the Xbox 360 version were released. In addition to correcting bugs in the software, the patch/new content introduces a horizontal field-of-view option, new Plasmids, an option to disable Vita Chambers, and an additional achievement in the Xbox 360 version for completing the game without using any Vita Chambers on Hard mode ("Brass Balls," 100 points). Vita Chambers don´t need to be disabled to earn the achievement, and quick saves can still be used.

On September 9, 2009, a new update was released that allowed the player to enhance graphics, change settings and limit the amount of language, blood and gore and sexual content in a game.

An update for the PS3 version was released on the 13 of November to fix some small graphical problems and rare occasions where users experienced a hang and were forced to reset the console. This update also incorporated the 'Challenge Room' and 'New Game Plus' features.

Other versions

In an August 2007 interview, when asked about the possibility of a PlayStation 3 version of BioShock, Ken Levine had stated only that there was "no PS3 development going on" at the time; however, on May 28, 2008, 2K Games confirmed that a PlayStation 3 version of the game was in development by 2K Marin, and it was released on October 17, 2008. Jordan Thomas was the director for the PlayStation 3 version. While there are no graphical improvements to the game over the original Xbox 360 version, the PlayStation 3 version offers the widescreen option called "horizontal plus", introduced via a patch in the 360 version, while cutscene videos are of a much higher resolution than in the DVD version. Additional add-on content will also be released exclusively for the PS3 version. One addition is "Survivor Mode," in which the enemies have been made tougher, and Vita-Chambers provide less of a health boost when used, making the player become creative in approaching foes and to rely more on the less-used plasmids in the game. BioShock also supports PS3 Trophies and PlayStation Home. A demo version was released on the PlayStation Store on October 2, 2008.

On February 12, 2008, IG Fun announced that they had secured the rights to develop and publish a mobile phone version of BioShock. IG Fun CEO Sean Malatesta promised "to offer a whole new gaming experience and unmatched excitement amongst mobile gamers the world over."

Sequels

In response to the game's high sales and critical acclaim, Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick revealed in a conference call to analysts that the company now considered the game as part of a franchise. He also speculated on any follow-ups mimicking the development cycle of Grand Theft Auto, with a new release expected every two to three years. 2K's president Christoph Hartmann stated that BioShock could have five sequels, comparing the franchise to the Star Wars movies.

On March 11, 2008, Take Two Interactive officially announced that BioShock 2 is being developed by 2K Marin. In an August 2008 interview, Ken Levine mentioned that 2K Boston was not involved in the game's sequel because they wanted to "swing for the fences" and try to come up with something "very, very different". BioShock 3 has also been announced, with its release likely to coincide with the BioShock film. The first information about BioShock s immediate sequel came in a teaser on the PlayStation 3 version of the game revealing that the second game was to be titled BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams, though the subtitle has since been dropped. This teaser used The Pied Pipers' version of "Dream" in much the same way that the first BioShock s soundtrack used Great American Songbook tunes. A 2K developer stated that the game "is part of a prequel and at the same time is a sequel." BioShock 2 is planned to be released for Windows PC, Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3 worldwide on February 9, 2010.

Reception

BioShock has received wide critical acclaim: mainstream press reviews have praised the immersive qualities of the game and its political dimension. The Boston Globe described it as "a beautiful, brutal, and disquieting computer game ... one of the best in years," and compared the game to Whittaker Chambers's 1957 riposte to Atlas Shrugged, Big Sister Is Watching You. Wired also mentioned the Ayn Rand connection in a report on the game which featured a brief interview with Levine. The Chicago Sun-Times review said, "I never once thought anyone would be able to create an engaging and entertaining video game around the fiction and philosophy of Ayn Rand, but that is essentially what 2K Games has done ... the rare, mature video game that succeeds in making you think while you play."

The Los Angeles Times review concluded, "Sure, it's fun to play, looks spectacular and is easy to control. But it also does something no other game has done to date: It really makes you feel." The New York Times reviewer described it as: "intelligent, gorgeous, occasionally frightening" and added, "Anchored by its provocative, morality-based story line, sumptuous art direction and superb voice acting, BioShock can also hold its head high among the best games ever made."

At Game Rankings, BioShock holds an average review score of 95.4% for the Xbox 360, making it the third highest rated Xbox 360 game released to date, behind The Orange Box and Grand Theft Auto IV. In the PC ratings it achieved 95.2%, making it the third highest rated PC game released to date, behind Half-Life 2 and The Orange Box and the sixteenth highest ranked game of all time. Also, BioShock has a rating of 96 on Metacritic, making it their Best Xbox 360 Game of 2007. GameSpy praised BioShock's "inescapable atmosphere," and Official Xbox Magazine lauded its "inconceivably great plot" and "stunning soundtrack and audio effects." The gameplay and combat system have been praised for being smooth and open-ended, and elements of the graphics, such as the water, were praised for their quality. It has been noted that the combination of the game's elements "straddles so many entertainment art forms so expertly that it's the best demonstration yet how flexible this medium can be. It's no longer just another shooter wrapped up in a pretty game engine, but a story that exists and unfolds inside the most convincing and elaborate and artistic game world ever conceived."

Reviewers did highlight a few negative issues in BioShock, however. The recovery system involving "Vita-Chambers," which revive a defeated player at half-life, but do not alter the enemies' health, makes it possible to wear down enemies through sheer perseverance, and was criticised as one of the biggest flaws in the gameplay. IGN noted that both the controls and graphics of the Xbox 360 version are inferior to those of the PC version, in that switching between weapons or plasmids is easier using the PC's mouse than the 360's radial menu, as well as the graphics being slightly better with higher resolutions. The game has been touted as a hybrid first person shooter role-playing game, but two reviewers found advances from comparable games lacking, both in the protagonist and in the challenges he faces. Some reviewers also found the combat behavior of the splicers lacking in diversity (and their A.I. behavior not very well done), and the moral choice too much "black and white" to be really interesting. Some reviewers and essayists such as Jonathan Blow also found that the "moral choice" the game offered to the player (saving or harvesting the little sisters) was flawed because it had no real impact on the game, which ultimately leads the player to think that the sisters were just mechanics of no real importance.

Awards

At E3 2006, BioShock was given several "Game of the Show" awards from various online gaming sites, including GameSpot, IGN, GameSpy and GameTrailers's Trailer of the Year. BioShock received an award for Best Xbox 360 Game at the 2007 Leipzig Games Convention. After the game's release, the 2007 Spike TV Awards selected BioShock as Best Game, Best Xbox 360 Game, and Best Original Score, and nominated it for four awards: Best Shooter, Best Graphics, Best PC Game, Best Soundtrack. and the game also won the 2007 BAFTA "Best Game" award. X-Play also selected it as "Game of the Year," "Best Original Soundtrack," "Best Writing/Story," and "Best Art Direction."

At IGN's "Best of 2007" BioShock was nominated for Game of The Year 2007, and won the award for PC Game of the Year, Best Artistic Design, and Best Use of Sound. GameSpy chose it as the third best game of the year, and gave BioShock the awards for Best Sound, Story and Art Direction. GameSpot awarded the game for Best Story, while GamePro gave BioShock the Best Story, Xbox 360 and Best Single-Player Shooter awards. BioShock won the "Best Visual Art," "Best Writing," and "Best Audio" awards at the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards. Guinness World Records awarded the game a record for "Most Popular Xbox Live Demo" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. BioShock is ranked first on Game Informer’s list of The Top 10 Video Game Openings.

Sales

The Xbox 360 version was the third best-selling game of August 2007, with 490,900 copies. The Wall Street Journal reported that shares in Take-Two "soared nearly 20%" in the week following overwhelmingly favorable early reviews of the game. Take-Two announced that, as of June 5, 2008, over 2.2 million copies of BioShock have been shipped. In a June 10, 2008 interview, Roy Taylor, Nvidiamarker's VP of Content Business Development, stated that the PC version has sold over one million copies.

Technical and DRM issues

Since BioShock was released, several issues have been found, with most uncovered in the Windows version. In both the BioShock demo and release version, it was observed that the field of view (FOV) used in widescreen was set such that it appeared that there was less visible in the display compared to the 4:3 format, as well as in effect zooming in the player's view resulting in some cases of disorientation and nausea (particularly for people playing close to the screen, as with most PC setups), conflicting with original reports from a developer on how widescreen would have been handled. This was a design decision made during development. In patch 1.1, released on December 4, 2007, the "Horizontal FOV Lock" option was added to the Options menu, which when switched off allows widescreen users a wider field of view, without cutting anything off the image vertically.



BioShock for Windows (both the retail version and that available through Steam) utilizes SecuROM copy protection software, and requires internet activation to complete installation. This was reportedly responsible for the cancellation of a midnight release in Australia on August 23, 2007, due to 2K Games servers being unavailable, as the game would be unplayable until they were back online. Through SecuROM, users were originally limited to two activations of the game. Users found that even if they uninstalled the game prior to reinstallation, they were still required to call SecuROM to re-activate the game. The issue was worsened by the fact that an incorrect telephone number had been included in the printed manual, as well as essentially forcing customers outside the United States to make expensive international calls to the US. In response, 2K Games and SecuROM increased the number of activations to five before requiring the user to call again. However, as no information had been provided by 2K on the existence of these measures prior to the game going on sale, or on the retail box of the game itself, many remain dissatisfied. Users also found that it was necessary to activate the game for each user on the same machine, which was criticized by some as an attempt to limit customers' fair use rights. 2K Games has denied that this was the intent of the limitation.

Two months after the initial release, 2K attempted to alleviate customer complaints by developing a special pre-uninstallation utility to refund activation slots to the user. This tool however does not address situations where the game has been installed on a PC which uses more than one user account as it only works once per PC (unlike activations which are counted per user-account), nor is it able to revoke an activation if the installation has become unusable, for example by hard disk failure, effectively rendering such activations permanently lost. 2K Games has specifically mentioned each of these issues in the revoke tool FAQ, and have stated that until software solutions are found for such situations they will handle any further requests for additional activations past the five-activation limit on a case-by-case basis.

As of June 19, 2008, 2K Games has removed the activation limit, allowing users to install the game an unlimited number of times. However online activation remains mandatory. The deactivation of the system was promised by Ken Levine in August, 2007, after retail sales of the PC version of the game were no longer an issue.

Alerts from virus scanners and malware detectors, which can be triggered by SecuROM software, led to some debate about whether a rootkit was being installed; this was denied by 2K Games. However, an uninstallation of BioShock does not remove the files installed by SecuROM or the registry keys used, and some of these files are impossible to delete in a conventional way.

BioShock was also criticized for not supporting pixel shader 2.0b video cards (such as the Radeon X800/X850), which were considered high-end graphics cards in 2004–2005, and accounted for about 24% of surveyed hardware collected through Valve's Steam platform at the time of BioShock's release. User efforts to create a pixel shader 2.0-compatible version of the software have met with some success, but 2K Games has issued no statements regarding possible pixel shader 2.0 support being added by an official patch.

Versions and other media

Limited Collector’s edition

Following the creation of a fan petition for a special edition, Take-Two stated that they would publish a special edition of BioShock only if the petition received 5,000 signatures; this number of signatures was reached after just five hours. Subsequently, a poll was posted on the Cult of Rapture community website (operated by 2K Games) in which visitors could vote on what features they would most like to see in a special edition; the company stated that developers would take this poll into serious consideration. To determine what artwork would be used for the Limited Edition cover, 2K games ran a contest, with the winning entry provided by Crystal Clear Art's Owner and Graphic Designer Adam Meyer.

On April 23, 2007, the Cult of Rapture website confirmed that the Limited Collector's Edition would include a Big Daddy figurine (many of which were damaged; a replacement initiative is in place), a "Making Of" DVD, and a soundtrack CD. Before the special edition was released, the proposed soundtrack CD was replaced with The Rapture EP.

Art book

BioShock: Breaking the Mold, a book containing artwork from the game, was released by 2K Games on August 13, 2007. It is available in both low and high resolution, in PDF format from 2K Games's official website. Until October 1, 2007, 2K Games was sending a printed version of the book to the owners of the collector's edition whose Big Daddy figurines had been broken, as compensation for the time it took to replace them. On October 31, 2008, the winners of "Breaking the Mold: Developers Edition Artbook Cover Contest" were announced on cultofrapture.com.

Soundtrack

2K Games released an orchestral score soundtrack on their official homepage on August 24, 2007. Available in MP3 format, the score—composed by Garry Schyman—contains 12 of the 22 tracks from the game. The Limited Edition version of the game came with the The Rapture EP remixes by Moby and Oscar The Punk. The three remixed tracks on the CD include "Beyond the Sea," "God Bless the Child" and "Wild Little Sisters"; the original recordings of these songs are in the game.

In BioShock, the player encounters phonographs that play music from the 1940s and 1950s as background music. In total, 30 licensed songs can be heard throughout the game.

Film

Industry rumors after the game's release suggested a film adaptation of the game would be made, utilizing similar green screen filming techniques as in the movie 300 to recreate the environments of Rapture. On May 9, 2008, Take Two announced a deal with Universal Studios to produce a BioShock movie, to be directed by Gore Verbinski and written by John Logan. The film was expected to be released in 2010, but was put on hold due to budget concerns. On August 24, 2009 it was revealed that Verbinski had dropped out of the project due to the studio's decision to film overseas to keep the budget under control. Verbinski reportedly feels this would have hindered his work on Rango. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is in talks to direct with Verbinski as producer.

References

  1. "The Top Ten Video Game Openings and was awarded "Game of The Year". Game Informer 187 (November 2008): 38.




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