Giant Bomb News

36 Comments

How BioShock Should Have Ended

A proposal for a better way to conclude your run through Rapture, courtesy of PC Gamer's Tom Francis.

Maybe there was a better way...
With video footage and coverage of BioShock 2 starting to hit the airwaves, now seems like a good time to think back on what made the first game special. I think many will agree what didn't make the first game special was the last segment of the game, after you've met Andrew Ryan and discovered the pivotal plot twist and must then plod around Rapture in Big Daddy boots for longer than seems necessary.

PC Gamer UK writer Tom Francis has spent more time thinking about those events than most of us, and he's posted his ideas for the kind of ending such an otherwise fine game truly deserved. The summary of his alternate ending is up over on his blog. There's some clever stuff in here; Francis manages to preserve the Big Daddy conversion, while turning mechanics like the Vita Chambers around and using them against you. 

Tenenbaum manages to reach you on the radio for the first time since you entered Ryan’s office. Having heard about your command phrase, she asks if you would kindly DROP THE GODDAMN RADIO then meet her at her nearby hideout... Tenenbaum impresses on you that Fontaine is nearly unstoppable now that his genetic key is tied to Rapture, since Vita Chambers now work for him rather than you.

I like how this version of events makes the ocean more of an active threat than the sinister but more or less benign force it ended up being as the game was written. There's also what I would consider a more poignant and certainly more immediate moral choice than the mechanical Little Sister save/harvest option in the existing game, and some delicious irony in the last few moments. 

Granted, hindsight is always 20/20, but this is a neat thought exercise if nothing else. Francis and some eager commenters have a good dialogue going at the bottom of the page dissecting his ideas and the way BioShock turned out, so if you have an interest in game writing and design--or if you're just looking for more BioShock to ponder until the sequel hits--I recommend you check it out.
Brad Shoemaker on Google+
36 Comments
Posted by Brad
Maybe there was a better way...
With video footage and coverage of BioShock 2 starting to hit the airwaves, now seems like a good time to think back on what made the first game special. I think many will agree what didn't make the first game special was the last segment of the game, after you've met Andrew Ryan and discovered the pivotal plot twist and must then plod around Rapture in Big Daddy boots for longer than seems necessary.

PC Gamer UK writer Tom Francis has spent more time thinking about those events than most of us, and he's posted his ideas for the kind of ending such an otherwise fine game truly deserved. The summary of his alternate ending is up over on his blog. There's some clever stuff in here; Francis manages to preserve the Big Daddy conversion, while turning mechanics like the Vita Chambers around and using them against you. 

Tenenbaum manages to reach you on the radio for the first time since you entered Ryan’s office. Having heard about your command phrase, she asks if you would kindly DROP THE GODDAMN RADIO then meet her at her nearby hideout... Tenenbaum impresses on you that Fontaine is nearly unstoppable now that his genetic key is tied to Rapture, since Vita Chambers now work for him rather than you.

I like how this version of events makes the ocean more of an active threat than the sinister but more or less benign force it ended up being as the game was written. There's also what I would consider a more poignant and certainly more immediate moral choice than the mechanical Little Sister save/harvest option in the existing game, and some delicious irony in the last few moments. 

Granted, hindsight is always 20/20, but this is a neat thought exercise if nothing else. Francis and some eager commenters have a good dialogue going at the bottom of the page dissecting his ideas and the way BioShock turned out, so if you have an interest in game writing and design--or if you're just looking for more BioShock to ponder until the sequel hits--I recommend you check it out.
Staff
Posted by bjorno

Ayn Rand is a terrorist.

Posted by JJOR64

I wonder who the main bad guy will be in this one.

Posted by gosukiller

I liked how Bioshock ended, but I guess you can always improve on an old story. The creative use of Vita Chambers did speak to me tho, I always found it strange how I could throw myself against my enemies countless of times untill they died of boredom.

Posted by BiggerBomb

The story was great until it copped out with "mind control" as the plot twist. After that, it all went down hill.

Posted by natetodamax

I thought your genetic key had to be tied to Andrew Ryan in order to use the Vita-Chamber? Jack is Andrew's son, which is why he could use them

Posted by Civraz

A pretty interesting read, imo.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Huh, that is some interesting stuff. The fact that he still had a radio on after finding out that phrase really was a bit dumb, and there are some interesting points the writer makes there.

Posted by Everyones_A_Critic

Good stuf. Why is it that Bioshock and Fallout 3 can deliver a great story up until the end, where it falls flat? Oh well, at least Fallout is ditching its lame-ass ending.

Posted by Steve_C

I like the idea of fontaine drowning before comically respawning just to drown some more, with the process repeating ad infinitum.
Maybe you would still see him drowning 10 years later in bioshock 2, looking super pissed.

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

that's, well, a heck of a lot better than the real endings.

Posted by Brackynews

I found becoming the Big Daddy one of the most disturbing events in the game, and I chose to play it ponderously.  Imagining the dozens of hopeless "volunteers" that had been through the conversion center before... picturing broken men's faces under the helmets.  Made to believe that the best interests of Rapture were being served by enabling these biomatter collectors to pillage the dead...

I agree the helmet view sucked, but damn it was creepy.

Posted by welly

yes.

Posted by HatKing

I got to admit the ending was easily the worst part of the entire game and if there is a ratio to awesomeness of game versus lameness of ending surely BioShock is the most extreme example.

Edited by Quacktastic

How long could they keep the game interesting without the radio?

Posted by SunKing

The problem with the big daddy segment is that it involves the most tedious of tasks: handholding and escorting the friendly AI from danger. I have never coming across a game where this type of gameplay is fun.

Posted by FallopianTube

i loved the hell out of bioshock, but the ending described in this article is soooooooo much better.

Posted by theMcNasty

His ending is beautiful.  Especially his end cut scene.

"End scene: You, as a Big Daddy, standing motionless as the water rises time-lapse fast, everything zipping in motion-blur streaks around you. As soon as our view is underwater, everything goes silent and slow. The body of a little sister drifts slowly past behind you, its back to us. When all is still, Fontaine suddenly scrambles into view, thrashing spasmically, screaming bubbles, clutching his throat, red in the face. After some violent jerks, he lies completely still. A few seconds pass, then a light flicks on in the background. We cut to a close-up of it: after a beat, the Vita Chamber doors slide open and Fontaine bursts out again, screaming bubbles louder and louder as he thrashes towards us, and his terrified face almost fills the frame before we cut to black. Fin!"

Edited by ImperiousRix

I hated the ending of Bioshock, especially if you harvested ONE FUCKING LITTLE SISTER.
I mean, I was trying to walk a fine line, save three girls, harvest one, but then I learn that I fucked myself after the first one I harvested.
Great "choice" there, Ken Levine.

Posted by Aaron_G

That is a WAY better ending. 

Posted by cjmhockey

Very interesting. Didn't mind the ending to Bioshock, but this would have been a better ending.

Posted by Fade2Gray

I must admit, that is a truly epic ending he came up with. Time to scrap Bioshock 2 and refocus on a special edition/remake of Bioshock 1 with the new ending!

Posted by FoxMulder

Bioshock would have been so much better if the shooting mechanics worked better.  They felt way too clunky and the shooting just didnt feel all that great.   Also the bit about the end dragging on.  I'll probably just rent the 2nd one.

Posted by Tarakun

Dude yes. The ending was my biggest problem with that game. 2K should add this as DLC or something. $5 for the real ending of Bioshock? I would buy it.

Posted by MeatSim

I like this idea the game would Have been actual challenge for once at that point of the game if it happened like that.

Posted by mrsmiley

Thanks for posting this, Brad. Great read. I'm amazed at all the awesome random stuff you guys find and bring to the public.

Posted by dagas

At first I thought "oh just another dude who thinks games would be better if he made them." but that ending actually seem a loot better than the actual ending of the game.

Posted by strangeling

I can't read this yet, I haven't played through Bioshock.  Guess I'll bookmark it for future reference.

Posted by DrRandle

I just wish there was no more Hacking.

Posted by IncredibleBulk92

I read this a while ago, it was a much better ending than Irrational's was.  It would have been nice if he'd managed to keep the Sander Cohen apartment in there somewhere because that was pretty cool.  Then again it's not like he has actually cut anything.

If only I was talented/bothered enough to make a mod of this.  It would be very interesting to see.

Posted by JonSolo

Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention, Brad. Great post and it's definitely an interesting exercise. Bioshock, great game though it was, would have been vastly improved story-wise by Tom's ending. Whilst reading the latest Brainy Gamer post, I couldn't help but think this story dovetails nicely. Fallout 3 is being hacked by the developers (ie. DLC) to be more "open-ended" in response to the fans.

Posted by Illmatic

That was actually one incredible idea for an ending.

If I may add, I've also had ideas for what the sequel was going to be. Rather than a hard sequel, I was expecting a prequel where you play as the inspector of Rapture hunting down Fontaine during the whole breaking down of Rapture. Not only do we get a backstory on Rapture itself but a backstory on Fontaine as well.

Posted by Bilawal

Interesting concept, but the fact I never died in Bioshock and that I found out about the vita chamber after I completed it, bioshock was easy, and by the time I played on very hard, I was good and careful at the game; making sure I never died. I'm not the only one who prob didn't die, they should have forced you to die earlier or something if they did, but it's a really good ending.

Posted by MassiveRiot

i read the blog and I am digging it, this would of been way better for BioShock, but regardless it is still an awesome game.

Posted by cyrax

I like his ideas. Thanks for the link Brad.

Posted by Media_Master

Haven't played Bioshock yet....