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Why return to Rapture?

Opinion: Why BioShock 2 should sink somewhere different...

Take-Two recently confirmed that a sequel to 2007 game of the year contender BioShock is hot in development at 2K Marin - a new studio set up especially for the follow-up. But after the near perfect shooter experience that was our first submerse into Rapture, isn't it time for a change of scenery for BioShock?

Rapture is definitely one of the greatest ever triumphs in gaming environments. The moody dystopian corridors, submerged ball rooms and horribly unsettling 1930s art deco are refreshingly unique for a first-person shooter (and there isn't a space marine in sight), and we absolutely loved exploring the damp corridors and mentalist-filled dentist offices.

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But the thing is, we don't really know if we want to go back. Rapture's story has pretty much been cleaned up through both the events of the first BioShock and the rich back story laid out in recordings and memos scattered around the city.

If the sequel were to return to the underwater dystopia, surely all it'd succeed in doing is cheapening the events of the original game, like Blair Witch 2 starring Angelina Jolie as the all-singing, all-dancing Witch.

It might sound a bit of an OTT subject to throw 700 words in an article at, but BioShock was one of those entertainment events that struck such a chord with us we want the sequel to be absolutely perfect (and hopefully not pull a Deus Ex: Invisible War on us).

Of course there are still plenty of areas of the fallen city we didn't get around to seeing (like all those big skyscrapers glimpsed in the game's opening sequence), and we'd never doubt that the game's masterminds to come up with endless more amounts of spooky architecture.

But no mater how hard they scribble and design, it'll never be the same as the first time we stepped out of the submergence pod into the dripping city station. We want to see something new.

The finale doesn't exactly set up an exciting return to the Ryan-less Rapture anyway, so common sense and popular rumour suggests that prequel territory is where 2K Marin will go, which in our opinion is just as shaky.

For a start the same concerns we have for a direct follow-up are there; Rapture's sparkle would've dampened and the magician's magic tricks would be posted up on the wall for all to see.

It'd also be a bit boring if the start-up Utopia was full of happy faces and friendly plastic surgeons, instead of lots of ugly mutants to shotgun into the back wall. Depending on how 2K angles the story, an ample amount of enemies would either cheapen the events of the first game or make BioShock 2 feel exactly like the first game anyway.

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For BioShock 2 to top the original we need something even more surprising, even bolder, and even more radically different than the underwater confines of the original were from the generic FPS battlegrounds of every other game.

What'd make us incredibly happy bunnies is a totally new time and setting that carried across the themes of the original Bioshock - and with almost two more years of development to go, we know 2K's got the cooking time to pull it off.

Look at what Ubisoft has done with its excellent-looking follow up to Far Cry. It's taken the themes and core gameplay ideals of the Jungle-set original and moved it to a totally diverse and visually intriguing new environment.

Even Bioshock itself is a spiritual sequel to cult classic shooter System Shock - a game which carried just as much feeling of isolation and post-judgement day as its 2007 cousin.

We'd be incredibly pessimistic not to trust the BioShock boys to make the follow-up just as absorbing and artistically thrilling as the first game - and we're sure they'll prove us wrong. But 2K, if you're listening - take the Big Daddy out of the ocean, we want to go swing our wrenches somewhere else.

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