Original BioShock Announced for iPhone/iPad, Coming This Summer

Somewhere beyond the sea...

If the only thing stopping you from experiencing last-gen classic BioShock was the lack of a portable option, you're about to have one less excuse. Publisher 2K announced today that BioShock is coming to iOS.

But in a hands-on session with an early build of the game, it seems to be a remarkably faithful port of the original. Obvious concessions had to be made to fit the game on less-powerful hardware, so there's a noticeable dip in quality in the game's textures, lighting and shadows, and sound compared to the original. Yet even with the downgrades, it's still an impressive mobile accomplishment.

The touch-screen adaption of the controls, surprisingly, works well for navigating the game's underwater world and switching between weapons and powers. But, at least after the short play session I spent with this build, it's not quite fine-tuned enough for combat on the harder difficulties. Movement on the left side of the screen works fine -- wherever you place your thumb, a virtual analgo stick appears, which ensures that you won't unexpectedly stop moving just because your hand placement adjusted. But having both shooting and aiming tied to the right side of the screen requires you to trade-off between aiming and firing while you strafe arond enemies. It's manageable with a single enemy on screen, but it feels a little frustrating when your juggling multiple foes.

But, almost as if they anticipated the complaints, 2K also showed off the game running with the MOGA Hero Power controller. The controller, which comes with the familiar arrangement of analog sticks, triggers, and buttons, immediately upgrades the experience to on par with the console experience, at least in terms of controls. However, playing with the controller highlighted the fact that jumping has been removed from the game; not an important omission, but still a noticeable change. Otherwise, the game is unchanged from previous iterations except that iOS Game Center rewards take the place of Trophies/Achievements and players will have access to a digital art book from a previous special edition of the console game.

While the version of the game I played was running on an iPad, the game will also be available on the iPhone. However, cloud saving for the game will not be available, so progress across the two iOS versions will remain separate. 2K also noted that BioShock will only run on the following: iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad 4, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 5. Also, as is typical for ports, this version is not being built by original developer Irrational, which announced that it would be "winding down" earlier this year. Instead, development duties have fallen on 2K China.

A firm price and release date for the game has not yet been set, but 2K says that it will be a "premium-priced mobile game" that's set to come out "later this summer." Despite the overall accuracy of the port, the somewhat muffled sound design and inferior graphics make this hard to get too excited for, especially when the PC version of the game frequently goes on sale for $5, and a bundle with BioShock 2 and Infinite typically runs for around $10 during sale periods. But if PC isn't an option, or you're just looking for a nostalgic fix that pushes the current limits of what phones and tablets can do, BioShock as a game still holds up to the 9.0 review score GameSpot gave it seven years ago.

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justinhaywald

Justin Haywald

Senior Editor, Earthbound fan, and snazzy dresser.
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145 comments
Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Moga Hero Power?  They played the game on a Moga Hero Power controller???  That's an Android controller...does that mean I'll be able to use my Android controller for the game then?  Because I REALLY REALLY should be able to.  I don't understand why Android and iOS have to require DIFFERENT game controllers.  They're frickin bluetooth controllers.  Let me use the one I already have, I don't need to buy another one!

fejerm
fejerm

"You can't expect it to look as it on PC"

khmm. Shield Tablet, khm...

WIth Tegra k1 Bioshock could run with much stable fps, better reflections, dynamic shadows enabled and higher resolution textures...

arun209
arun209

@fejerm Tegra devices could handle this game without breaking a sweat, look at half life 2 and portal, my shield portable runs it like a beast.

fejerm
fejerm

"You can't expect it to look as good as on PC"

khm...Shield Tablet...khmm...

Tegra K1 could run this game with much more stable framerate and much higher graphics settings. 


MHzBurglar
MHzBurglar

@fejerm

Problem is, it's not going to even be available on Android so the you won't be able to play it on the Shield.


This game is an abomination. (The port, that is.  Not the original.)

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

I could imagine Apple users playing Bioshock


Ipad user:  "This is too hard!  I'm going back to Angry Birds!"

Shango4
Shango4

I might as well buy a Ipod 5th generation than a ps vita.

bigrod69
bigrod69

Interesting. Hundreds of millions of iOS 7 devices out there which should get a huge bump with the iPhone 6. So if you generate even a small hit on the platform you'll easily recoup the cost - after all it's just a port. I'd say its somewhere around 100% that they'll make some money off this.


As for Android you have a 1000 different devices running at 100 different resolutions, so doing ports when you're pushing the hardware is pretty difficult I'm guessing. Assuming the iOS 7 release is a success they'll get to it I'm sure.

volted01
volted01

Vita vita vita.. *cough* WHAT ABOUT ANDROID?

cornbredx
cornbredx

Who is this being made for? Seriously, what's the target audience for something like this?

I mean, I love Bioshock, but I don't see what this is accomplishing- putting it on a touchscreen in general (not complaining just because it's mobile as they are getting to the point with mobile where that doesn't entirely matter).

Why would you want a mobile game that plays better with a controller? 

I don't know. Maybe so they can release it on Ouya or something.

I find this a legitimately odd thing. Even when I consider that it must be some sort of cash in... somehow.

oldtobie
oldtobie

@cornbredx It is just that... a cash-in.  Thousands will be bored, browsing the app store on their surprisingly useless iPads when they'll see a familiar title that they simply can't ignore.  It will cost very little to get the game ported to mobiles, so there's not a lot to lose and plenty to gain.

xantufrog
xantufrog moderator

I find it hard to believe the controls are good - I know the article says they are... hey, if it works, it works! I just can't quite picture a way for touchscreen controls to rise to the FPS occasion

rmiller365
rmiller365

Every hardcore gamer ever:

"Touch screen controls? Eeeeeeewwwww.."

runslikewind
runslikewind

wtf wheres my vita version i was promised ....

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Everyone here seems to want this on vita. I didn't know that many ppl actually had one

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

@Metallicwolf29  There's got to be at least 3-4 million of us by now. The vita with it's dual thumbsticks, and proper shoulder buttons does a good job with fps.

DiamondDM13
DiamondDM13

@canuckbiker @Metallicwolf29 There's actually about 7 million Vita's sold. And I really wish this would come to Vita instead of iOS. This is meant to be played with proper controls. They removed jumping? What the... This really needs to come to Vita. Only problem that needs a solution is mapping the Weapon/Plasmid Wheels...

MHzBurglar
MHzBurglar

@Metallicwolf29

I don't even have a Vita and I want this on Vita.  It's a much better fit than Apple garbage.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Portable bioshock. Where have I heard this before? Looks at vita.

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Play metal gear solid and then come back and tell me about great story

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

If you truly believe that I feel sorry for you. It showed me just how amazing a games storyline could be.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

@Metallicwolf29  I have. I'd need a years worth of LSD to sort through that convoluted storyline.

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Lol I found bioshock more confusing. And infinite was the matrix revolution of the series

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

@Metallicwolf29  I love the heavy political implications, and class/culture warfare, so I guess it just speaks to me. Metal Gear is great for hard stealth action, but I could not keep that storyline straight for the life of me. Each their own I guess.

presauk
presauk

@canuckbiker @Metallicwolf29 Personally I found that metal gear solid 1 and metal gear solid 3 had great storylines with characters I could sympathize with on both sides of the conflict and a plot that was acceptable. 2 was fun mechanically (for the most part) but I could not put up with what passes for the plot and the rogues gallery of this game lacked the charm of those in 1 and 3. Metal Gear Solid 4 which I haven't played looked fun enough to play but the plot just gets even more convoluted and really what's that deal with nanomachines being used to explain how


***********SPOILERS************************************************************Liquid Snake possessed revolver ocelot. Shouldn't Liquid's nanomachines have been fried as a result of exposure to radiation during the shadow moses incident?

**************Spoilers*********************************************** 


Bioshock 1 and infinite both have plots that honestly do not even come close to MGS2/4 for being confusing/ludricous. They certainly aren't straight forward as MGS1/3 but at least they don't have those twists worthy of M. Night Shamylan found in MGS2/4.   

xdude85
xdude85

Nobody is going to play this.

soltar
soltar

Talk about major disappointment.  Was hoping for a trilogy released on PS4/XOne.

Evdne971
Evdne971

I know right.

I don't own anything sony, but I'd prefer to release on vita.

It could easily run it.

benleslie5
benleslie5 moderator

Curious to know how good it'll be on iOS/Tablets? I kind of think that it could have been better on the PS Vita

presauk
presauk

@Metallicwolf29  It also says that outside of a dedicated controller you can't strafe and shoot at the same time making confrontations with multiple enemies difficult (I can only imagine how frustrating it would make fights against big daddies). Not to mention that jumping is no longer possible and the game is very clearly graphically inferior to it's counterpart which was released 7 years ago. I'd say it would be more appropriate to say the game works as opposed to saying that it works well but I feel like even that is paying it too much of a compliment.  

gajbutler
gajbutler

Cannot wait to see how it can look on the Nvisia Shield tablet with that K1 chip that is a bit more powerful than the 360 and PS3.

MHzBurglar
MHzBurglar

@gajbutler

Problem is (aside from this being another crappy mobile port), it's iOS only, so it's not on any of the good mobile devices either.  That includes the Android-based NVidia Shield.

woomar
woomar

What is wrong with them ? porting this amazing game to a device that is not even considered a "gaming device" , even though i don't own them but why didn't they port it to 3DS or Vita ? at least these are gaming devices .


That is their vision when they said they didn't forget Bioshock series ,,, all I am seeing from this move is they want money.

NotCeo
NotCeo

@skyguy_6153 Most likely because the Vita has a tiny user-base, making a Bioshock port just a money pit.

gajbutler
gajbutler

@skyguy_6153 The Vita has a PowerVR chip that is dated now, the latest Android Phones and the latest iPad. iPhone just own it in performance. 

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

There is something infinitely (pardon the inadvertent pun) wrong when you can get Bioshock 1, 2 and perhaps even Infinite combined for less money on PC than just the first one on iOS.

They are going nuts for this at Touch Arcade, though.

MHzBurglar
MHzBurglar

@NotCeo @rawkstar007

I really can't see it being under $10 (though they could surprise me.)  But if you catch the right Steam sale, the PC versions can definitely be purchased together (at least 1+2) for less than that.


Even the console versions can be found cheap nowadays if you buy used...

xcollector
xcollector

So publishers don't want to take risks on new traditional IPs but they are willing to try out any stupid idea on mobile touch devices? 2K deserves to fail for this stupid idea and I won't feel sorry for them when they do.

NotCeo
NotCeo

@xcollector Porting an existing game to a mobile platform with a larger user base than every modern console and portable combined isn't exactly the same as developing a new product for next gen consoles.

MHzBurglar
MHzBurglar

@NotCeo @xcollector

But it makes no sense for the target audience of the platform not the platform's control scheme.  Bioshock is a core game for people who want an immersive experience that requires precise control.  It's also a mature game and not meant for little kids.


They're porting it to a platform whose primary audience is a) causal gamers who want to kill time while on the toilet and b) little kids who want simple, colourful, crappy knock-off games.  Neither one of those demographics is looking for an immersive story or a game whose play sessions last more than a few minutes.  The children demographic will either be uninterested in a "scary" game or many of their their parents won't want them playing it.  And the touch controls will bury this game; trying to move, aim, etc with a smudgy, innacurate screen while a Big Daddy drills a hole in your stomach sounds like a frustrating and unrewarding gaming experience.


There's aiming for a large install base, and then there's knowing your target market.