When Irrational Games’ Ken Levine took to the stage at Sony’s 2011 E3 conference to announce the development of a brand new Bioshock game on PlayStation Vita you could clearly hear the assembled audience of journalists wet themselves with excitement. And yet since that announcement almost a year ago we have yet to hear or see anything of arguably the Vita’s most anticipated title.
In recent months we have heard rumours that Irrational Games, who are currently neck deep in the development of Bioshock Infinite on PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360, were looking at the possibility of passing on developmental duties of Bioshock Vita to another studio.While some may gasp at the idea, we would do well to remember that Bioshock 2 was made by another developer and that turned out pretty well.
Assuming that Bioshock Vita is still in production, and that it will be out in the near future, we have compiled some of features that we would hope to see in it.
Replicate The Console Experience:
First things first, considering the power of the PlayStation Vita we would expect this game to be very close, in terms of gameplay and execution, to the console title. That is, we expect it to be a first person shooter. This is easily achievable if they make use of the Vita’s dual analogue sticks to replicate the console experience. We don’t need Irrational (or whoever winds up making the game) to make a Bioshock-inspired spin off title that doesn’t even resemble any of the Bioshock games (we’ve had nightmares about a Bioshock Kart game in the past).
One thing the Vita really doesn’t need is another port of an existing game. Yes, we all loved Rayman Origins and Mortal Kombat on the Vita, and although they were technically new games, there just wasn’t enough new content included to make them truly feel like they were worth the asking retail price, especially for those of us that already owned them on the consoles! We don’t need to play Bioshock, Bioshock 2, or even Bioshock Infinite in the palm of our hands (especially when we’ve already played those three games in the past!), give us something new.
Cross Platform Compatibility
A feature that has been touted by Sony on a number of occasions is the potential for cross compatibility between the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita. Now we aren’t suggesting that we should be able to start playing our game on the PS3, copy our save to the Vita, and continue playing the same game on the go (although that would be a fantastic idea), what we would rather see is a link between the two titles. Say, for instance, for every level you complete in the Vita game you earn some extra equipment in the PlayStation 3 title. Ok, so maybe that suggestion is a little pedestrian, and maybe Irrational could come up with something much more inventive in the final product, but the point still stands that we would expect them to make use of this great feature.
Bring Back The Pipes Mini Game
One of the most disappointing changes to Bioshock 2 was the removal of the hacking minigame. For those unaware in the original Bioshock whenever you hacked a device or door you had to complete a simple puzzle that involved connecting up the flow of water from one main pipe to another. This served as an addictive extra that also acted as a welcome change of pace. If they add touch controls to the whole affair then that would be even better.
Do Not Return To Rapture
While it would be tempting to return to Rapture, the underwater city from Bioshock one and two, Irrational would be better off producing a game that is either completely separate from the original storyline, or have it tie in with the Bioshock Infinite world. I’m not at all opposed to the idea of producing a side story that compliments either game, it’s just that Rapture has been the focus of two games, and Irrational have already moved on to the floating city of Columbia in Bioshock Infinite – to go back underwater may feel like a step backwards. In an ideal world this game would be more like the Minerva’s Den DLC for Bioshock 2, taking place away from the events of the main console game, making it as new user friendly as possible.
Make Use of the Vita’s Exclusive Functions
When releasing a game on the PlayStation Vita it really should make use of the console’s tech without feeling too gimmicky. A good example of this is Uncharted Golden Abyss – they managed to use almost every Vita function in such that it never felt like an arbitrary gimmick. Of course we aren’t suggesting that they just throw in generic tilt or tilt functionality just for the sake of doing so, as that would ultimately cheapen the experience. What we really want are Vita features that add to the experience. Imagine this – when presented with a captured Little Sister, and faced with the choice of either rescuing her or harvesting her, you could use the Vita’s touch screens to help make your decision – stroke the rear touch screen to comfort and save the child, or harshly poke the front touch screen to harvest her. How about using the Vita’s screenshot function as a way of analysing your enemies. Every Bioshock game to date has used an in-game camera to take images or footage of your enemies mid-battle to gain valuable knowledge. The Vita has a built in camera, so use it!
These are just a few of our ideas for where we think the PlayStation Vita version of Bioshock could go. No details have been officially confirmed yet, and for all we know some of these ideas (or none of them at all) could be making their way into the final product.
Feel free to share your ideas with us and the world at large in the comments section below. You never know who might be reading this.
- Luke Mears