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GVMERS looks back at Bioshock:
The Rise and Fall of BioShock
Akin to the great musical artists and films of our time, certain video game releases have instituted a culture shift, establishing a clear demarcation line dividing the art created before its existence and after. Wolfenstein 3D earned its place among such a prestigious list, having fathered the modern first-person shooter in 1992. The 2001 launch of Grand Theft Auto 3 similarly shifted popular culture, birthing the open-world genre whose potential knows no limits. BioShock from Boston-based developer Irrational Games drew yet another indelible line in August 2007, its immersive gameplay, gripping atmosphere, and pioneering use of inventive storytelling devices elevating first-person shooters on countless fronts.
The original BioShock constituted Irrational's attempt at bringing the hallmarks of the critically acclaimed yet commercially unimpressive System Shock to mainstream audiences. It accomplished as much by coloring outside the lines of market expectations. Over the course of the series, however, adapting to said expectations deeply affected the core of the brand.
Development woes affected all three entries as well, often driving a wedge between members of the creative team. That series creator Ken Levine was supposedly difficult to work with only exacerbated the tension. Internal and public-facing issues aside, many would argue BioShock never shied away from challenging the status quo, all while raising the bar. But for Irrational's publisher, a contingent of fans, and even some developers, that bar could never quite reach high enough. This is the rise and fall of BioShock.