Despite being announced more than four years ago, back in December 2019, we barely know anything about BioShock 4, and have next to nothing that's been officially confirmed. This is a shame given it's one of the most interesting and highly acclaimed series of all time - and it's been more than a decade since the last game was released.
We do know that 2K Games are publishing it and it's being developed by a new studio called Cloud Chamber. Away from that, we're clutching at straws in terms of where the game might be set, how it might play, what platforms it is going to release on, and so on.
It would be easy to say that we 'expect' to hear something soon, but given that four-year gap since the announcement, and the fact that it really is one of the most highly-anticipated upcoming games that's known to be in development, we really do hope that we get something concrete soon.
However, while we wait for more info on BioShock 4, here's everything that's been revealed about the game so far, including some rumors about its development so far. Once new details come to light, this page will be updated.
BioShock 4: cut to the chase
- What is it? The fourth entry in 2K Games' retrofuturistic game series
- When can I play it? TBC
- What can I play it on? TBC (PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC are likely)
- Who is making it? Cloud Chamber Studios (a 2K Games studio)
BioShock 4 platforms
While we're certainly excited for the next BioShock game, we don't actually know when we'll get our hands on it. In a tweet officially announcing a new BioShock game back in 2019, publisher 2K Games stated that work had begun on the next iteration of the BioShock franchise. Here, it confirmed that the game would be in development "for the next several years".
That may not have been the most welcome news, but it did give us an idea about what platforms BioShock 4 would eventually release on. Now that we're deep into the generation of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S - and, by extension, further away from the Xbox One and PS4, we would strongly predict that, given the ongoing wait for the game as well, BioShock 4 will be a current-gen exclusive and not cross-generational. Even if the game was still slated for a 2024 release, engineering it so it could be experienced on the last-gen of consoles seems unlikely - and might even hold back any ambition.
BioShock 4 gameplay
Now, when looking at or thinking about BioShock 4 gameplay and setting details we are diving head first into a lot of speculation and clutching at straws. However, there have been some clues that we could investigate (read: 'cling to') to try and inform ourselves a little on both factors.
First, to potential BioShock 4 gameplay. The original official 2K press release from 2019 (no longer live or available) and announcements made alongside it that revealed the next BioShock game was in development did seem to indicate that it would be first-person again. 2K President David Ismailer said alongside that ”We can’t wait to see where its [BioShock's] powerful narrative and iconic, first-person shooter gameplay head in the future with our new studio team at Cloud Chamber leading the charge.” This rather implies that the first-person nature is likely to continue.
BioShock 4 setting
The settings of BioShock games are always incredibly important aspects. Ever since players first locked eyes on the underground city of Rapture, BioShock games' settings have mesmerized, while also became a core part of each game's story and narrative.
In terms of possible BioShock 4 setting details, there was a lot of rumor floating around at the end of 2021 stating that the fourth game would take us back to a familiar time period. The crux of the rumors was that BioShock 4 would be set in the 1960s and in an Antarctic city called 'Borealis' - and that its story would connect the previous games in the series. While these claims did align with several publications' own sources at the time, there has been no official confirmation or word on them.
Going back a bit further in 2021, there was a strong belief that BioShock 4 would be going open-world due to details stated in some job ads at the time that all pointed toward the design of a bust, crowd-filled, expansive open-world setting. Again, there was and has been no official comment on that.
BioShock 4 developer
As we know, the studio making BioShock 4 is Cloud Chamber - but who exactly is leading development and has their hands on the tiller?
Well, we know a few people involved - and we've addressed the Ken Levin-shaped question below too. Leading the studio is Kelley Gilmore, a veteran developer, formerly of Firaxis Games. However, with other folks involved who have experience with the BioShock series working on the game too, there is genuine "BioShock DNA" within the development team as Gilmore confirmed in an interview with our sister site GamesRadar+.
Ken Levine Involvement
Given he is the series creator and the name that is most closely associated with the BioShock games, a lot of folks have been asking the question of whether Ken Levine is involved in BioShock 4.
The short, clear answer to this is: no. The series creator is no longer associated with the games or IP-owner 2K, so will not be involved with BioShock 4 at all. In fact, Ken Levine has started his own studio now and is busy making his next game, Judas.
BioShock 4 news
Some internet rumors claim that BioShock 4 is in development hell
We should point out straightaway that this is very speculative and strong in its reliance on rumors - we are not totally sure the reports are accurate, but will tentatively include them here for context. The crux of the rumors is that the game has been rebooted repeatedly and has been through multiple changes in dev leadership. The rumors also referred to the game as 'BioShock Isolation'. To reiterate, however, these are just rumours.
Ghost of Tsushima narrative lead joins BioShock 4
Far Cry 4 and Ghost of Tsushima narrative lead Liz Albl announced on Twitter (opens in new tab) that she would be making the jump to 2K Games’ Cloud Chamber studio as part of the BioShock 4 story crew. This is the latest we've heard in terms of the game's development process.
More job listings suggest the next BioShock will be open-world
In a piece of juicy gossip supplied by a new round of job listings, it appears that Cloud Chamber will be taking BioShock in a different direction this time out, with the developer actively searching for someone "who can weave impactful, character-driven stories in an open world setting."
Another job listing also points to the upcoming BioShock implementing an "urban crowd system" with a "systemic tribal ecology" backed by a "sometimes hostile AI". It's said the person who ultimately gets the job will need to "push the envelope of what is possible with interactive crowd systems".
After years of stories about Universal trying and failing to bring a BioShock movie to life, we do know that Netflix now has a live-action movie in the works. We know that Francis Lawrence (Slumberland) is the director and screenwriter Michael Green (Logan, Blade Runner 2049) is also involved. Beyond this, however, we know very little - especially about anything that would potentially tie it to BioShock 4 somehow.
Our guess is that there won't be much of a connection on the whole, with both BioShock 4 and the movie standing as separate entities.
While we wait for more details on BioShock 4, take a look at what games are on the horizon in our guide to the upcoming games for the rest of 2023.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.