Publisher 2K announced the founding of a new first-party game development studio, Cloud Chamber. The press release also confirms that the studio is working on the next, as yet untitled game in the BioShock series, “which will be in development for the next several years.”
Kelly Gilmore (Firaxis Games) is the Global Studio Head for Cloud Chamber, and the first woman in 2K’s history to lead a development studio. She’s shipped over 40 games in her two decade plus career, including Sid Meier’s Civilization and XCOM franchise entries at Firaxis Games, another 2K internal studio.
“We founded Cloud Chamber to create yet-to-be-discovered worlds – and their stories within – that push the boundaries of what is possible in the video game medium,” said Gilmore. “Our team believes in the beauty and strength of diversity, in both the makeup of the studio and the nature of its thinking. We are a deeply experienced group of game makers, including many responsible for BioShock’s principal creation, advancement and longstanding notoriety, and honored to be part of the 2K family as stewards of this iconic franchise.”
Cloud Chamber is made up of two development teams, one in 2K’s headquarters in San Francisco, and the other in Montréal, Quebec, the publisher’s first ever Canadian office.
The original BioShock (itself a spiritual successor to System Shock) released in 2007 as a critical and commercial success, paving the way for the immersive shooter genre with a heavy focus on story-telling. It was followed up by BioShock 2 (developed internally at 2K) in 2010, and BioShock Infinite (by BioShock 1 studio Irrational Games) in 2013. A remastered collection that included all three games was released in 2016 for modern consoles and PC.
BioShock series creator and Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine left after most of the company was laid off in 2014, but returned to found Ghost Story Games in 2017 with 2K, with a focus on smaller games by a smaller team. That studio has yet to publicly announce a game. It’s unclear how much involvement, if any, Levine will have with Cloud Chamber and the next BioShock game.
Can My Kid Play is a series of helpful guides for parents that dive further into the ratings and content of video games. We do not pass judgement, instead providing insight and information so parents can make their own informed decisions.
What is Borderlands 3?
Borderlands 3 is an RPG-shooter. Players choose one of four Vault Hunter characters and embark on a campaign to recover vault key fragments to open a vault before the villains. The action takes them across several alien worlds, meeting lots of eccentric friendly characters and zany enemy factions, but the focus is always on the loot. Vault Hunters constantly acquire new and better randomized guns with lots of different styles, abilities, and stats.
The gameplay supports up to four players online or two players locally via splitscreen.
What platforms is it available on?
Borderlands 3 is available on PC (Epic Games Store), Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
What is the ESRB Rating?
Borderlands 3 is rated M for Mature with the following content descriptors: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, and Strong Language.
What is the overall tone of the story?
Borderlands 3 introduces yet another foursome of eager Vault Hunters as playable characters, though players will run into, and complete missions for previous series characters like Lilith, Tannis, Moxxi, and Ellie. Players are tasked with exploring various regions and worlds, killing beasts and bad guys and helping solve problems, such as liberating a planet from a hostile corporate takeover.
Despite the violence there’s a very clear dividing line between the good guys and bad guys. It’s all very action-packed and full of snarky jokes, though the story occasionally dip into the dramatic, including the deaths of major characters.
What is the level of violence?
Borderlands’ cartoony art style can be a bit deceptive. On the one hand the action looks like a comic book come to life. On the other, it’s still pretty violent, with enemies exploding left and right with a decent amount of blood and body parts. Bodies are not left behind however, but simply disappear instantly as loot pops out directly onto the floor. The violence is played more for laughs than drama.
What is the level of alcohol and/or drug use?
None. There are no options for the players to ever engage with alcohol or drugs. There’s a bar on the Sanctuary ship that players use as a base, but the only thing they can do there (besides talk to Moxxi) is play the slot machines.
What is the level of adult language?
Very adult, and a major source of the M rating. Characters frequently curse, including the f-word, as well as make the occasional suggestive comments and dirty joke.
What is the level of sexual content or themes?
One of the fan-favorite ally NPCs, Moxxi, is infamously sexualized throughout the series, in both her outfit and her dialogue. Many characters aren’t shy with making overtly sexual jokes and comments, though they’re rare outside of Moxxi.
What is the level of online interactivity?
The Borderlands series is known for its four player co-op gameplay, including two players locally via split-screen. Loot can be set to only see your own loot, so no one can steal from each other. Players can trade items and dual each other, but it must be consensual, and players can equip different emotes that their characters can perform. Voice or text chat is done entirely through the consoles or third-party programs like Discord.
What else do parents need to know about Borderlands 3?
The world of Borderlands is one of snarky violence. At least one faction is made up of bandits, who are little more than half-naked psychopaths who scream weird things while charging at you. The comic art style and jokey tone frequently disarms the bloody violence, while the world continues to revel in it.
There’s a side mission on Promethia that reflects Borderlands 3’s gleeful dark humor. The quest-giver mentions that her whole family was murdered and wants you to get revenge. Problem is, she doesn’t know which of two bandit leaders did the deed. They both brag they were responsible, and taunt you the entire time. Without ever finding proper proof, players can choose to kill either one, but at the quest-giver’s behest you can also kill both of them for a greater reward. A lot of these quests and characters are deigned to elicit laughs at their own over-the-top ridiculousness alongside with the satisfying shoot ‘n loot gameplay.
Available On: PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
There are three main pillars for the Borderlands series: co-operative multiplayer, a bombastic and goofy cast of characters, and lots and lots of randomized gun loot. Gearbox may have played it relatively safe with the highly anticipated threequel in Borderlands 3, but they absolutely nailed all the important components that make this such a beloved series.
For the first time in the long-running annual NBA 2K series, you’ll be able to play as the women athletes of the WNBA. NBA 2K20’s new WNBA mode will feature all 12 WNBA teams and more than 140 players.
“For years, fans have requested the ability to play as some of their favorite WNBA stars,” said Jeff Thomas, SVP of Development, Visual Concepts. “We’ve been working with the WNBA and their top players to modify our basketball simulation engine to replicate the WNBA on-court experience. We’re excited to roll out this new feature in NBA 2K20 because we know how important the WNBA is to the world of basketball.”
The WNBA will be available in Play Now and Season modes. Animations, play styles, and visuals have been built exclusively to accommodate women athletes and the WNBA experience. Top players like Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks forward, have been scanned into the game using motion-capture technology.
“Growing up, I always remembered watching male athletes on TV and playing as them in video games. Now, to have the WNBA be in the position we are and to have women featured prominently in NBA2K20, we are allowing young girls and boys to have female athletes as role models,” said Parker. “The 2K team has done an amazing job of making sure to not just put women into the game playing men’s basketball, but I’ve seen first-hand the hard work they’re doing to make this as real and authentic as possible to women’s basketball. I’m proud to be a part of this team paving the way for the future.”
NBA 2K20 will be released on September 6 for PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One. It’s rated E for Everyone.