Judas | BioShock designer Ken Levine’s new game looks a lot like BioShock

Judas, definitely not BioShock
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BioShock creator Ken Levine has shown off some new gameplay details for his upcoming Judas to select outlets, and the old BioShock DNA is unmistakeable.

There’s an awful lot of chat about “narrative Lego” in the various news posts swirling around about Judas, the next game from BioShock designer Ken Levine. It’s a phrase Levine first brought up about a decade ago when he first started talking publicly about his first project since 2013’s BioShock Infinite, and is shorthand for the way Judas uses discrete blocks of plot to construct a unique story for each player.

Over the past few weeks or so, Levine’s new studio, Ghost Story Games, has invited a couple of journalists from big, posh outlets to sample Judas first-hand. Both IGN's Ryan McCaffrey and The Game Awards’ Geoff Keighley have made videos in which they interview Ken Levine and play through his ambitious-sounding action-adventure.

What’s clear from the coverage (we’ve included Keighley’s video below) is that Judas is a first-person shooter that takes place in a confined, sci-fi fantasy setting – here a spaceship called the Mayflower – and features a protagonist who wields guns and also supernatural powers. When you die, you respawn again via some sort of 3D printer, and the foes include hulking robots with a distinctly retro-futuristic vibe to them.

Levine seems keen to market Judas as something more than “BioShock in space”, but looking at the footage, that’s pretty much exactly what it looks like. The lighting, setting and tone all recall that earlier classic, which is hardly a bad thing. The twist, though, seems to be the roguelike element, which sees the story change depending on what you do each time you interact with characters on each run.

Protagonist Judas is joined by a trio of characters who appear as holograms – there’s a sheriff named Tom (voiced by Troy Baker), an African princess named Nefertiti and a sweary youngster named Hope, who appears to be some sort of android. Each has their own backstory which they’ll relate to you without breaking eye contact, and each will dish out missions that will define your path through the game. Keighley compares the game’s open-endedness to the Nemesis mechanic in Shadows Of Mordor, where non-player characters would react differently to the player depending on your past actions.

“These characters remember and react to what you’re doing as a player,” Keighley says. “Sometimes, if you go on missions for one character, another character will react to that.”

It sounds intriguing, and it’s a wonder just how deep the system goes; will we be able to play one character off against the other or switch allegiances, Yojimbo style? Here’s hoping.

Judas doesn’t have a release date as yet, but the thinking seems to be that it’ll arrive in the first quarter of 2025.

Read more: BioShock | The planned movie from Netflix is still happening

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