2K President Christoph Hartmann says BioShock could get as many as five sequels, but promised not to cash in on the franchise by “turning it into The Matrix.”
A sequel to the hit FPS was a foregone conclusion, and the PlayStation 3 version of the game, released more than a year after it came out on the Xbox 360 and PC, actually contained the first-ever promotional trailer for the follow-up, entitled BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams. But in an interview with MCV, Hartmann said BioShock 2 might be just the beginning of a long series of games, and implied that 2K would handle the franchise differently – and better – than many other publishers.
“Some of the mega-franchises we talk about only lasted ten years because companies took five years to ship a game,” he said. “Look at Duke Nukem. It’s been a great franchise for 20 years, because it seems like it’s been in development for 20 years.”
“For Bioshock, because it’s so story driven, the question obviously arises: how long can you do it without turning into The Matrix?” he continued. “The first Matrix was great, the second one was weird and the third one, you thought: ‘Who [making this] is on crack and who isn’t?’ But then again, look at Star Wars. It’s a fight between good and evil, just like BioShock. If we spin it the right way and get the right twist of innovation, we can make six parts of it, as Star Wars did.”
The Star Wars movies may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect franchise, but his point is clear enough and his commitment to the quality of the series is welcome. “We have to be careful not to cash in,” he said. “I won’t name the company, but there was a great racing game years ago. They brought it back year-on-year. If you look at the scores, it’s hard to believe what they’ve done to it. It’s upsetting, actually.”
The appeal of more BioShock is obvious, but how the team at 2K Marin gets around the game’s rather final ending will go a long way toward determining my interest in its future. I also thought BioShock was supposed to be about more than just a fight between good and evil, but maybe I’m just being pretentious. BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams is currently slated for release in fall 2009.