Bioshock and Bioshock 2 took place in an underwater city. populated by genetic mutations and robotic-humans who protected Little Sisters. The new Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite, takes place in a city in the clouds, and likely won't contain diving-suited Big Daddies or Little Sisters. So, what, exactly, makes it a Bioshock game? Ken Levine, the mastermind behind Biochock (but not Bioshock 2) explains:
"Here’s why we believe this is a BioShock game: it’s set in a world that’s ridiculous and fantastical and over the top, but still connected to the human experience very much. It feels like it could be a real place. The second thing is that you have this suite of powers so that you drive how you play the game, as much as you can. And you can really see that in the demo – you’ve got the weapon in one hand and the powers in the other hand, and you really decide how you fight the battles. And also the world of Columbia, that feels connected – there’s a real human endeavor going on there."
He goes on to say:
"Everything else – the location, Big Daddies, Little Sisters, all those things that seem so iconic – that is underneath what I mentioned in the hierarchy, in terms of what’s important to make BioShock game. I think it was never just about Rapture. It’s about a certain dynamic that we wanted to continue to explore. And if we had made something that had those components and wasn’t a BioShock game, I think people would be asking us, well, why isn’t this called BioShock? It feels so similar. And that’s our mission – to make something that feels familiar but which is different at the same time."
Personally, I don't care what the new Levine game is called. I've honestly had enough of Big Daddies, Little Sisters and soggy gameplay. It seems, if you read between the lines, so has Levine. Anyway, the rest of the interview is totally fascinating as well, delving into the philosophy behind the game, and the differences in gameplay between Infinite and the two games that preceded it. Check it out: