×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The canceled BioShock game you never got to play

Long before Nightdive Studio started the System Shock reboot — and OtherSide Entertainment began work on System Shock 3 — Ken Levine wrote and directed a spiritual successor to the legendary System Shock franchise known as BioShock. The game charmed critics and players and was ushered into the hall of video game royalty. BioShock received numerous sequels and was ported to virtually every subsequent gaming console save handhelds (the iOS and Switch versions notwithstanding).

Despite its success, gamers never saw the full BioShock narrative as Levine envisioned. He wanted to expand the franchise's story — and backstory — but couldn't fulfill all of his dreams. Levine started work on a BioShock game that was eventually canceled and lost to the briny depths of history. Fans never got to play the title (and probably never will unless it is recycled for BioShock 4), but they can still get a taste of what it would have been like.

BioShock Vita

Though BioShock was not ported to handheld platforms such as the failed PlayStation Vita, Ken Levine wanted Vita owners to experience the underwater, art deco hellscape of Rapture. However, the pocket-sized console wasn't up to the task of playing BioShock, so Levine had an idea: create a new BioShock game for the Vita.

During E3 2011, Levine discussed BioShock Infinite, and finished his presentation by teasing a "pet project" that would be "set in the BioShock universe." Then, he pulled out his PS Vita to indicate it would launch on the handheld. That game never materialized, and audiences didn't learn how it would have played until 2014. Levine lamented the title's fate on Twitter, stating it would have been "a ff tactics style game set in pre-fall rapture. turn based."

A Final Fantasy Tactics-esque strategy game would have been quite the departure from the hybrid FPS/RPG action BioShock is known for. Plus, the title would have provided a sizable glimpse into the city of Rapture during its heyday. How far did Irrational Games get into the title's development before cancellation? According to IGN, "BioShock Vita" never got off the ground. The game died in what Levine called the "paper design stage."