The last post we published on Games Aren’t Numbers talked about the need for developers to release popular titles from older generations of consoles on mobile devices. It discussed how Playstation 2 games like Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto 3 found a new life on smartphones and how the struggling Nintendo would benefit from similar action.
However, we never expected that just weeks later the video game developer 2K would commit to the ambitious feat of bringing the recent Xbox and PS3 smash-hit BioShock to iOS. After all, while adapting Playstation 2 or Nintendo 64 releases for mobile platforms should be fairly straightforward, the concept of making something as visually and technically complex as Bioshock compatible for iPhones and iPads seems almost impossible.
For those unaware of the game, BioShock is regarded as one of the high points of the Xbox 360 and PS3 eras. A first-person shooter set in the underwater world of Rapture, the game has been celebrated for the immense detail of its graphics as the player explores the sunken wreckage of the game’s world. Similarly, praise has been heaped on the amazing mechanics that let you scavenge, shoot and use futuristic powers as you encounter the game’s villains. That’s not to mention the gripping story that contains one of the gaming medium’s biggest twists.
2K are hoping to bring BioShock to iOS devices in a ‘true recreation’ of the award-winning game. But can it really work?
On a purely surface level, BioShock is unlike any other game you can install on your iPhone. It’s not something you can tune into for 10 minutes on the way to work; it is an epic experience that requires the devotion of large chunks of your time. And what of the controls? The combat mechanics were complex enough for Xbox 360 and PS3 users who had to utilise every button to take on the game’s foes. It’s difficult to think how 2K will make it playable on a 5 inch touch screen.
However, these challenges seem positively simple compared to the technical complexities of bringing Bioshock to iOS. Smartphones and iPads are surely not going to be able to handle the sheer level of detail the game requires. The data capacity on smartphones simply cannot come close to that of a console. Lagging, low-quality graphics and enormous loading times will likely ruin the experience.
2K have a huge challenge on their hands as they hope to bring their first-person shooter classic to a new audience of game players. There will be some gigantic hurdles to overcome along the way if they hope to succeed. But can they really pull it off? We will find out when the game hits iOS platforms later this year.