Sea of Dreams.

The (dead) cat is out of the underwater city it seems, the first teaser trailer for BioShock 2 (Possible full title BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams), available as bonus content on the Playstation 3 release of BioShock, has found its way online; as such things always do. I’ve mentioned BioShock numerous times on this site, often in a critical or overly analytical manner, so I feel something needs to be cleared up, I really like BioShock, I own both the Limited Edition Xbox 360 release and the Steam release and have completed both.

Suffice to say I was interested in watching the trailer, and after watching it I can say that already I am impressed by the direction 2K Marin appear to be taking. I say appear because it is difficult to gauge much from the trailer itself, regardless those barely ninety five seconds were enough to cause my brain to explode with ideas of a potential direction for BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams (A rare example of a subtitle I actually like), so for your amusement I have provided them here. It will be interesting to revisit this post in a few years time when I have finally played BioShock 2 and see exactly how wrong I was.

Some were expecting a prequel and given the apparent age of the Little Sister that doesn’t seem to be the case. There’s a lot of clever and subtle imagery in the trailer. I particularly liked the touch of the butterfly on the logo; new life returning to a long abandoned Rapture.

I’m not sure how likely it is  that you actually play a Little Sister but the idea has a lot of potential. The full extent of the indoctrination program for the Little Sisters was only touched on in BioShock, there remains the possibility that some degree of genetic manipulation took place and now Tenenbaum or some other force is calling the Little Sisters back. If the first game was about choice then could the sequel be about perception, the Little Sisters returning to Rapture still seeing it as the place they grew up?

Imagine what the world looks like to a Little Sister? Imagine Rapture appearing to as a much more inviting place than it really is. A place where they were important and were accompanied  by a devoted protector. There could be a lot of manipulation of how the environment looks, maybe something like Haze attempted, mental filters that make Rapture look far more safe and secure than the reality.  Maybe something would happen as you progress that serves to strip away that façade and you start to see it for what it really is and not the childhood fantasy version.

Presented that way you would go to the places that appeared to be accessible and ignore those that your senses told you were blocked. That could work really well if there was a moment akin to the death of Andrew Ryan, maybe the death of Tenenbaum, where the scales fall from your eyes and you see the world as it really is. Areas that appeared pristine are really broken and decaying. Passages that appeared sealed off are actually open and the entire world of Rapture changes, opens up, before your eyes as you realise the extent of your delusion.

In the first game you generally visited only the scientific and artistic heart of Rapture, with maybe a few hints to what it was actually like to live there. With a focus on Little Sisters it would make sense to return to more recreational and residential areas, the parks and playgrounds of Rapture. A return to your childhood home, but where you still see everything through those childish eyes, at least for the first few hours.

You could witness Rapture at its zenith and its nadir in the space of a single game and 2K Marin could avoid the potential problems of trying to explicitly represent the city’s fall.