In a post on the Cult of Rapture website, Elizabeth Tobey of 2K Games addressed the concerns of widescreen gamers with an explanation of how, and why, widescreen was implemented in the game. She begins by clarifying that widescreen is the optimal mode for playing the game, and that the vast majority of BioShock's development was done on and for widescreen. The apparent cropping of the display to accommodate native widescreen resolutions is actually a concession to standard display owners, to ensure the same gameplay experience for owners of both display types.
"Instead of cropping the FOV [field of view] for 4:3 displays and making all 4:3 owners mad in doing so, we slightly extended the vertical FOV for standard def mode: We never wanted to have black bars on people's displays," she said. "This does mean that people playing on a standard def display see slightly more vertical space, but, this does not significantly alter the game-play experience and, we felt it best served our goal of keeping the game experience as close as possible to the original design and art vision on both types of displays.
"Reports of the widescreen FOV being a crop of the 4:3 FOV are completely false."
While it remains to be seen how the community will react to this information, 2K is aware that not everyone will be satisfied with the design. "We will be looking into options for allowing users to adjust FOV settings manually," Tobey said, but added that such changes do not happen quickly. More details are available at the Cult of Rapture website.