Destined to be one of the best video games in years, Irrational Games BioShock for the PC & Xbox 360, arrives this August. A spiritual successor to the brilliant space based System Shock series, BioShock instead takes place in a North Atlantic based underwater city with decidedly Atlantean undertones.
A man named Andrew Ryan, a former Soviet citizen, built the city in 1946, and the society was envisioned as the ultimate capitalistic and individualist paradise, with the elite achieving for themselves, rather than for the whole. Protected by a network of giant sea walls and consisting of a cluster of enormous skyscraper-shaped hive towers, Rapture was designed to be entirely self-supporting, with all of its electricity, food production, water purification and defense systems powered by volcanic vents at the bottom of the ocean.
At one point Rapture’s population numbered several thousand at its peak during the early 1950s, composed of those people Ryan viewed as the best examples of mankind. A large and tiered economy grew among the people, with different quality products catering to different levels of the society.
The grand Art Deco architecture is at once futuristic and archaic, but as you step into Rapture, you find the city a shell of itself. The walls are crumbling and the ocean is seeping in. The hallways are littered with corpses, those who were once the best and brightest of the world above are now mutated and mad, roaming the corridors and waiting to ambush you at every turn.
The end result is a fusion of Art Deco, futurism & steampunk that coalesce to create a highly memorable setting. Publisher 2K Games Cult of Rapture site is releasing a series of art progressions on a monthly basis that highlight the conceptual evolution.
One art progression depicts the device, a gene bank (formerly Plasmi-Quick), used to alter and enhance the character’s abilities. The symbol alone reveals a lot about Rapture’s former inhabitants with its Aryan styled figure adorned by a DNA double helix at a time before it had been discovered.