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.

Justin Haywald is a senior editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @JustinHaywald

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

162 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...

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. 


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.

xantufrog
xantufrog

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

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

xdude85
xdude85

Nobody is going to play this.

soltar
soltar

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

console_war_vet
console_war_vet

Crap...this was what their Bioshock teaser was about? I've never been more disappointed.

3dmatrixgamer
3dmatrixgamer

mobile and tablet seems to be a future of hardcore gaming.

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

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.

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.)

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.

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

@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.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

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

Evdne971
Evdne971

I know right.

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

It could easily run it.

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...

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

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

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Na it really is overrated. If your first console was a 360 or ps3 than you might think this game was amazing

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.  

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

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

geosurface
geosurface

@Metallicwolf29 Or maybe if you've been a PC and console gamer since the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64, loved System Shock series (which Bioshock is a spiritual successor to) and just generally loved Bioshock because it had an interesting setting, story, combat, gameplay mechanics, etc.


I've never played it on console.


Why do you think someone would only find it amazing because that was their first console?

natanmir
natanmir

@Metallicwolf29 not really. i didn't play Bishock before i saw youtube flooded with bioshock references. so i bought the game and played, and fell in LOVE! with the series!

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

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

oldtobie
oldtobie

@geosurface @Metallicwolf29 I played it a few months ago on PC, and the port was so bad that it was extremely hard for me to enjoy it.  The mouse controls were so bad, even after several hours of .ini tweaks and Googling, but I did like the setting and story.  I just can't agree with combat or gameplay mechanics.

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.

geosurface
geosurface

@oldtobie @geosurface @Metallicwolf29 I wouldn't really call it a port since it was first and foremost and originally a game for PC. As were its predecessors.


But, obviously I'm aware that multiplatform development has often resulted in poorer quality in the PC version than if it had been the only version. That's been a source of much despair for us PC gamers.


I actually ended up playing most of the Bioshock games with a 360 controller for Windows, that worked very well and you get the better graphics while having the controller, best of both worlds. Nowadays I only use mouse and keyboard for online competitive shooters.

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.