BioShock 4: everything we know about the new BioShock

Bioshock 4 - BioShock 2 key art
(Image credit: 2K Games)
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BioShock 4 has officially been announced, though that may not be the title of the game when it finally launches. For now, that's what we're calling the next mainline BioShock game, which is in the works over at Cloud Chamber, a studio created by 2K back in 2019.

There's still a lot we don't know about the next BioShock title, from a possible release window to a setting for the game. As you likely know, setting is an important part of any BioShock title, with the first two games taking place in the underwater city of Rapture, and BioShock Infinite taking to the skies with Columbia. Whatever follows has a lot to live up to, that's for sure. Hopefully we will hear more soon, as the game has reportedly been in development for a while.

For now, here's everything we do know about BioShock 4, including who's working on it, and some reports and rumors that could hint at the direction the next game is going in. As new information is revealed, this page will be updated. Read on for the latest news on BioShock 4.

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)

BioShock 4 release date and platforms

Bioshock lighthouse centered in the ocean between the undersea city of Rapture and the cloud city of Columbia

(Image credit: 2K)

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 (opens in new tab) 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. With the PS5 and Xbox Series X now available, we'll almost certainly be seeing a new BioShock releasing on these platforms (and probably on PC too). Whether the title arrives on last-generation consoles like Xbox One and PS4 is less certain; it depends on when the sequel releases.

An Nvidia GeForce Now leak from September 2021 suggested that we could see the game launch in 2022. While we've seen many games on this particular leaked list get confirmed, we're now well into 2022. Since an official announcement has yet to come, it could've potentially been delayed internally, but that's entirely speculative.

Back in February 2022, a report from the Twitter account OopsLeaks suggested that the game could be experiencing some problems in its development.

Reportedly, the game has seen “development issues” and the “company lost about 40 employees, including leads.” OopsLeaks then states that 2K is not satisfied with the project’s results and pace. However, judging by T2’s recent financial report, the game is still planned to be released by the end of 2024.” 2K and Cloud Chamber Games didn't comment on this, so it should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

BioShock 4 news and rumors

Bioshock Securis brand door in city of Rapture

(Image credit: 2K)

Below, we've rounded up all the biggest rumors and news surrounding BioShock 4.

BioShock 4 could be called BioShock Isolation
Twitter user @Oopsleaks (opens in new tab) has suggested that BioShock 4 could actually be named BioShock Isolation. Reporting the news back in November 2021, the known leaker suggests this'll be set in an "isolated dystopian city," using Unreal Engine 5. Reportedly, an announcement was planned for Q1 2022 but for whatever reason, that's since been delayed.

See more

Setting leak?
A leak might have just revealed the planned setting for BioShock 4, courtesy of Colin Moriarty in a Sacred Symbols (opens in new tab) video (via VGC (opens in new tab)). According to this, BioShock 4 takes players to a fictional city in the Antarctic in the 1960s. This is a setting that both VGC and Eurogamer (opens in new tab) have corroborated, citing anonymous sources. 

Setting the game in the 1960s would bring it in line with the timeline of BioShock 1 and 2, which take place in the underwater city of Rapture. Moriarty went on to say that the new city setting could be called Borealis and that the game will narratively connect to previous entries in the series.

“It takes place in a 1960s Antarctic city called Borealis,” Moriarty said. “[The game is] codenamed ‘Parkside’… I’ve been told that the development team has incredible latitude to get it right. That seems and sounds right to me.” Moriarty went on to say, "Internally, the game is very secret and apparently totally locked up. Apparently the inclination there is that they understand full well that this game will be compared to what [original BioShock creator] Ken Levine does. And by the way, [Take-Two] is also publishing Levine’s next game."

Moriarty said that the game is apparently targeting a 2022 release but, of course, this report remains a rumor until anything is confirmed by the game’s publisher or developer. If the game really is targeting a 2022 release, however, there isn't really much time left for an announcement and release cycle.

Nvidia GeForce Now leak
There was a major leak from the Nvidia GeForce Now (game streaming service) database in September 2021 and it included a listing for “BioShock 2022”, which could be related to the BioShock game announced in 2019, known for now as BioShock 4. 

Since the leak took place, 343 Industries has stepped forward to say that a listing for Halo 5 on PC was incorrect and that the game will not come to the platform. Which is as good a sign as any that many of the games that appeared on the list (or any release dates tied to them) aren't actually correct.

Unreal Engine 5
A job listing at Cloud Chamber games, developers of BioShock 4, suggests the team could be developing the game using Epic’s Unreal Engine 5. In the ad for a Senior Gameplay Programmer (opens in new tab) it states that the candidate will “work within Unreal Engine 5 adapting existing systems and building new technology in order to fulfil the project’s technical needs and creative goals.”

If BioShock 4 is being developed using Epic’s latest, next-gen engine it bodes well for how the game will look as Epic’s recent demo footage of the engine in use on PS5 and Xbox Series X was very impressive. 

A possible PS5 exclusive?
A rumour (via ComicBook (opens in new tab)) that Sony could be pursuing BioShock 4 as a PS5 exclusive in some capacity has been posted. 

On an episode of the Xbox Era podcast (opens in new tab), host Nick “Shpeshal_Ed” Baker said that he has heard from unnamed sources that Sony is going after BioShock 4 as a PlayStation exclusive. According to Baker, he wasn't given many details about the current situation and couldn’t say for certain whether any deal being made would make the game an outright exclusive or a timed exclusive, though he did say he would assume the latter.  

Of course, this remains nothing more than a rumor at the moment and, even if Sony is in talks for exclusivity, there’s no certainty that any deal would be made. 

BioShock 2 Rivet Gun from first-person perspective

(Image credit: 2K Games)

More job listings suggest the next BioShock will be open-world
In yet another piece of juicy gossip supplied by a new round of job listings (opens in new tab), 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".

Clues given by more job listings point to a new setting
When you’re short of formal announcements about a game, sometimes there are things to be gleaned from its job listings. That’s proven to be the case with BioShock 4, as some Cloud Chamber Games job listings spotted by Twitter user MauroNL (opens in new tab)  (via IGN (opens in new tab)) suggest that the game won’t be set in Rapture or Columbia, the settings for previous games in the series. 

As pointed out by MauroNL  “Several job listings ask: ‘we want you to help us breathe life into a new and fantastical world.’, which suggests the game having a new setting and not a return to Rapture or Columbia. ‘Together, we will set the stage for a stunning narrative and systems-driven experience’.”

While this clearly isn’t a confirmation on where the game is – or isn’t – set, it certainly does suggest that BioShock 4 will take us somewhere new, which wouldn’t be an unwelcome change and would allow Cloud Chamber Games to really make its mark on the BioShock universe. 

BioShock Infinite city of Columbia rooftop view in first-person

(Image credit: 2K Games)

Job listings
Cloud Chamber Studios is working on the next BioShock title and some job listings (via GamesRadar (opens in new tab)) the studio has posted can give us small insights into BioShock 4, or at least what the development team is working to bring to the game. 

One listing for a Senior AI Engineer (opens in new tab) mentions "high ambitions" for tying AI and storytelling together in this "strongly narrative and systemic game". The game will have "several AI systems" for this person to work on including an "urban crowd system and the systemic tribal ecology of a sometimes hostile AI".

Another listing for a Lead Combat/AI Designer (opens in new tab) tells prospective applicants they'll be working on developing "an FPS combat paradigm that is accessible, satisfying, and allows for a high degree of player expression and experimentation within a highly reactive world" and that they will have to think "beyond direct conflict, accommodate various play-styles and design encounters that can be resolved through player ingenuity."

It's not a huge amount to go on but it does suggest an ambitious approach is being taken with BioShock 4 and that the game will continue, and potentially even enhance, the flexible approach taken by previous installments. 

In the works for years
According to a report by Kotaku (opens in new tab), a new BioShock has quietly been in the works for years.

"What 2K didn’t say is that this project has already been in the works since at least 2015, although it’s been rebooted since then," writes Kotaku's Jason Schreier.

BioShock 4: what we want to see

BioShock 2 combat

(Image credit: 2K Games)

Return to Rapture
While it was nice to venture out of the underwater city of Rapture in BioShock: Infinite, it didn't quite feel the same. Sure there were some nostalgic scenes and the Burial at Sea DLC let us pop in once again, but we want to return properly this time. 

Perhaps BioShock 4 could see us returning to a new Rapture, one that society has tried to reclaim and spruce up following the events of the previous games. If not, then we would love another wonderfully atmospheric city in a similar vein.

Big Daddies and Little Sisters
Sure, they're a bit creepy but we love them. More importantly, they're a big part of why many of us love BioShock but weren't really big players in BioShock: Infinite. We hope to see them return in the next one. 

Explore the lore more
While it can sometimes be confusing, BioShock's lore and narrative is intriguing and we love the webs that have been weaved across the previous games. We're hoping 2K strive to build more on it, perhaps throwing in some more twists.

New Vigors
A big part of what makes BioShock so much fun are the Vigors you can play around with. While it would be great to see the return of our favorites, we want some new Vigors to try out and combine.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

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.

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