It is no secret that games that eventually reach store shelves are vast departures from the form in which these games were originally conceived. Character designs, gameplay mechanics and story arcs generally go through multiple iterations before they are finalized, and a portion of the original Bioshock pitch-document clearly shows how much the 2007 blockbuster has departed from the original concept as presented in 2002.
Collin Moore, Community Manager of Irrational Games, which was known as 2K at the release of BioShock, has released the first nine pages of this pitch document, giving a unique insight into the original concept on which BioShock is based.
One of the most important aspects that differs from the final version of the game, is the fact that the story was more focused on a religious cult, and was originally intended to have a multiplayer component. Furthermore, the document clearly states that, even in it’s earliest form, the franchise was regarded as having strong potential for film or television. A movie adaptation was announced in 2008, but was still in pre-production as of January 2010.
Rather than the underwater city known as Rapture, the story would have taken place in a complex that is built by a religious cult below an island. Players would have been able to dynamically alter their character, their weapons and their environment, allowing them to customize weapons with components found throughout the game and use those to build unique weapons. In the actual game, players were limited to specific upgrades for each weapon found throughout Rapture. Furthermore, the game was intended to have a hacking-mechanic more reminicsent of System Shock 2, which allowed players to take control of security bots, rather than just deactivating them or converting them to join the cause.
A unique feature that was oringally intended to be included is the ability to control the environment. By using terminals to affect the level of oxygen, gravity, temprature and similar settings, players would have been able to provide damage boosts to weapons, or reduce the effectiveness of other objects. Examples provided include increasing oxygen to increase the blast radius of explosive weapons, ionizing air to increase electrical damage and magnetizing the floor to immobilize robots and turn grenades into objects that stick to other surfaces.
Finally, the pitch-document explains that players were originally intended to be able to modify their bodies using genotypes of other species, allowing them to inherit certain types of strengths and weaknesses.
The available pages of the document, which states that the game was originally intended to be released for PC, can be found after the jump. The eventual game was released in 2007 for the Xbox 360 and PC, with a Playstation 3 version following in 2008 and a Mac version in 2009.