The new job listing, first reported by PCGamesN, is specifically targeted at applicants “who can weave impactful, character-driven stories in an open-world setting.” The senior writer will also assist in crafting “primary and secondary mission content,” suggesting this new BioShock will allow players to veer off the main path throughout the game. The role will be charged with assisting in the “creation and execution of the core story including the writing of dialogue and other narrative elements as directed.”
Side content isn’t necessarily a revolutionary concept for the BioShock franchise, which has deep roots in the typically open-ended immersive sim genre. Even the more straightforward BioShock Infinite has several missable side quests in order to encourage exploration, such as the hidden button that opens up the backroom of a bar known as the Salty Oyster.
All that said, a few buzzwords such as “open-world” and “secondary mission content” can mean a lot of different things depending on the game, and the scope and style of a game can easily evolve over the course of a years-long project. BioShock 4, which was announced by publisher 2K in December 2019, appears to still be very much in those early stages. Kelley Gilmore, a game development veteran of 20 years on titles like XCOM and Sid Meier’s Civilization, is directing the new project. Gilmore previously told IGN that original BioShock creator Ken Levine is not associated with the project in any way.
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However, a number of BioShock vets are still attached for the sequel. Hoagy de la Plante (BioShock 1 and 2) is serving as creative director, original art director Scott Sinclair is reprising his role, and BioShock Infinite art team creative director Jonathan Pelling is working as design director. Despite that history, the new BioShock may not take place in the undersea Rapture or skybound Columbia.
In any case, if you’re a game writer with at least two shipped projects under your belt, apply away.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/big daddy for IGN. Would you kindly follow him on Twitter?