Bioshock’s Art Deco Style & Atmosphere Remain Timeless 16 Years Later

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Rapture Was An Incredible Setting!

Story Highlights
  • Bioshock’s groundbreaking fusion of RPG and FPS elements, along with its iconic Art Deco style, solidifies its status as a timeless masterpiece.
  • The game’s influence resonates in titles like Prey and Dishonored from Arkane Studios, showcasing Bioshock’s enduring impact on contemporary video game design.
  • With anticipation building for Bioshock 4, rumored to introduce an open-world structure, the series continues to offer new promises.

If there were a Mount Rushmore for the greatest FPS games, Bioshock would undoubtedly secure a prominent spot. Merging the best elements of both the RPG and FPS genres, Bioshock was nothing short of perfection.

What truly set Bioshock apart from the competition 16 years ago was its distinctive aesthetic. While the game’s main idea revolved heavily around philosophy and was based on objectivism, it also stood as a visual masterpiece, boasting a never-before-seen art style in a video game that helped translate the narrative.

Much of the credit is owed to Scott Sinclair, the art director of the first game, whose work seamlessly encapsulated Art Deco, an artistic movement that emerged in the early 20th century, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s.

Why it matters: Bioshock marked a breakthrough for modern-day shooters, influencing video game development with its art style that drew inspiration from real-life Art Deco. Its impact resonates across countless other contemporary video games.

History Of Art Deco

Bioshock
Rapture From Bioshock

Art Deco, a symbol of luxury and opulence in the early 20th century, gained prominence and was named after the 1952 exhibition in Paris, Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.

Art Deco typically featured sleek materials and zigzag shapes representing modernity. Bioshock, however, takes this style to new heights. The game is set in a futuristic dystopian era in the 1960s in Rapture, an underwater city that features Art Deco blended with steampunk elements, creating a unique atmosphere.

Rapture’s futuristic setting combines Victorian aesthetics with advanced technology, including Big Daddies—genetically modified human-robot hybrids sporting tin armor, creating a unique atmosphere.

One could say that Bioshock draws inspiration from 1927’s Metropolis, a film set in a dystopian era, quite reminiscent of the city of Rapture in many ways. Metropolis is one of the groundbreaking films in cinemas that is timeless to this date and features some of the most incredible visuals whose trace we can see in modern-day cinema and even video games.

Bioshock
Bioshock Infinite Art

How Bioshock Has Inspired Modern Video Games

Fifteen years later, Bioshock remains a testament to perfection and has aged like fine wine. The game was groundbreaking in many aspects, inspiring countless modern-day masterpieces.

Among the developers influenced by Irrational Games’ work on Bioshock, Arkane stands out as perhaps the most obvious. From the art style to the narratives, Arkane Games carries every bit of Bioshock’s DNA.

Consider Prey, for instance, the closest experience one can get to Bioshock. Heavily influenced by System Shock 2, a game Bioshock used as a blueprint, Prey is set in an abandoned space station experiencing an outbreak of alien species. It skillfully blends psychological horror and science fiction elements.

Dishonored, another creation by Arkane, features world-building and narratives on par with Bioshock’s excellence. We Happy Few and Atomic Hearts are also noteworthy titles influenced by Bioshock’s legacy.

The impact of Bioshock on these games is unmistakable, showcasing its enduring influence on the gaming industry.

Bioshock
Big Daddy From Bioshock

Future Of Bioshock Games

Bioshock hasn’t seen a new entry in over a decade, with the last title, Bioshock Infinite, being released in 2013. This game was more of a spin-off and featured a completely different story compared to the mainline BioShock games.

However, a new Bioshock game is on the horizon. Bioshock 4’s development was confirmed back in 2019, with lead development being undertaken by Cloud Chamber Studios.

According to job listings, the game is suggested to take an open-world approach, developed on Unreal Engine 5.

Bioshock 4 could be the most distinct game in the series, with leaks suggesting an Antarctic setting in the 1960s. Other leaks hint that the game will be titled Bioshock Isolation, with a setting in an isolated dystopian city.

The game is allegedly targeting a 2028 release date window due to supposed development issues, but I hope to see this release bringing the IP back into mainstream attention for its many excellent qualities.

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