The BioShock trilogy has primarily been defined by its gorgeous worlds (i.e., Rapture and Columbia), so it isn’t a surprise that the developer for the fourth installment, Cloud Chamber Games, is doubling down on the world building and looking beyond the franchise’s FPS roots. Job listings discovered by industry insider MauroNL (via VG247) suggest that BioShock 4 will take a page out of games like Fallout 4 with an open world and leverage a complex dialogue system to deliver its narrative.
The application page for Lead Systems Designer seems to lend a lot of credence to the open-world theory, as it specifically calls for someone who has experience with developing an “emergent sandbox world.”
“Our ideal candidate has an innate sense of how game systems connect and enhance one another in an emergent sandbox world, as well as for the player-facing signs and feedback that are required for an intuitive player experience,” Cloud Chamber Games wrote.
Meanwhile, the Senior Voice Designer page confirms that BioShock 4 will be a “narratively driven project” that will feature some sort of intricate dialog system.
“We would like you to help design the dialogue systems, asset pipeline, and tools for the project,” a listing reads. “Using the Audio and Creative Directors’ vision as a guide, you will help deliver world class voice design for the next BioShock. This is an ambitious, narratively-driven project full of character and personality. Think of the possibilities!”
Last but not least is a listing for Game AI Programmer that suggests BioShock 4 will take place in a heavily populated setting comprising numerous NPCs and/or enemy combatants.
“Someone to push further the development of our AI Systems in a strong narrative and systemic game,” Cloud Chamber requested. “We have high ambitions for tying AI and storytelling together and it will be your responsibility to crystalize that ambition around several AI systems. You will be in close collaboration with Design leadership to flesh out the designs and finalize the implementations for an urban crowd system and the systemic tribal ecology of a sometimes hostile AI.”
Ken Levine, the mastermind behind the original BioShock (2007) and BioShock Infinite (2013) isn’t involved in the fourth installment in any kind of official capacity, but Cloud Chamber lead Kelley Gilmore has promised that her team understands what fans want from a BioShock game. She has also confirmed that the game will be developed by some of the franchise’s veterans.
“We’re excited to have some BioShock DNA in our roots,” Gilmore said in an interview with GamesRadar. “Several members of our team played key roles in other BioShock titles and are now leading development at Cloud Chamber, including Hoagy de la Plante (Creative Director), Scott Sinclair (Art Director) and Jonathan Pelling (Design Director).”
“Our team also has game development veterans from high profile franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Star Wars, Battlefield and Walking Dead. As part of our recruiting efforts, we’re looking for people from many different backgrounds and experiences. I’m confident that the depth and variety of game development experience at Cloud Chamber will lead to another unforgettable BioShock experience.”
& progression and Game balance and economy". This could indicate a more open ended level design, similar to the hub based 'open world' in Bioshock 1&2 rather than the more linear approach of Bioshock Infinite. The developer is also trying to make strides in terms of AI..— MauroNL (@MauroNL3) December 9, 2020