The Complete List of Bioshock Games in Chronological & Release Order

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The Complete List of Bioshock Games in Chronological & Release Order

Bioshock is a beloved franchise whose game releases span almost a decade. While it could be just another horror-adjacent shooting game, it’s much more. The rich story across the games is a huge aspect of why the franchise is so successful. Its success has led to awards, novels, toys, and sequels to the games themselves. That said, nearly all Bioshock games have positive reviews, and fans still even argue over which game is the best. Not all Bioshock games are equal, though, and they’re not even all the same type of game. 

Bioshock Background

Like many other dystopian games, Bioshock’s setting is familiar yet warped. In Bioshock, though, you explore a world that fell apart far from its intended grace rather than the ruins after a nuclear event. The games take place mainly in an underwater dystopian world. This setting lends itself to using the iconic Big Daddy armored underwater suits the game is known for. Each game has different characters, though some recur from familiar classes, such as the genetically altered Little Sisters. The mix of story, graphics, and action gameplay put Bioshock in a class with other well-made and revered games. 

Bioshock, developed initially by Irrational Games and 2K Games, debuted in 2007 with a release limited to Xbox and PC gamers. However, it spread, and now most games, including the original, are available on many consoles. Most recently, in 2016, Bioshock: The Collection dropped, containing all the available Bioshock games and DLC in one package. There are eight Bioshock games: three main games and five smaller connected releases, some of which are DLCs.

Bioshock Games in Chronological Order

What’s the best order to play the games? Fans usually agree the games should be played in release order to make the most sense and so that later points are understood. The games didn’t release chronologically, though, and the story spans a timeline of almost 70 years. To clear up the timeline, below are all the Bioshock games in chronological order.

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Bioshock Industrial Revolution

Bioshock Industrial Revolution main menu promo

©Screenshot from Bioshock: Industrial Revolution – Original

The first game in the timeline of Bioshock is actually the strangest. It takes place starting in 1900 in the world of Bioshock InfiniteInfinite has a unique setting from the other undersea Bioshock games, which is already a departure from the norm. Developed by Lazy 8 Studios, Industrial Revolution is a puzzle game released in 2012. Those who preordered Infinite could play Revolution on a website. This separate game serves as a preview and tie-in to Infinite, where players could experience the setting and some of the new world the soon-to-be-released Inifinite would debut.

In Industrial Revolution, you play as a factory worker in Columbia, the floating city. You solve puzzles by moving gears on an assembly line. Once you successfully solve the puzzle, you can decide which of two political parties, Vox Populi or the Founders, you want to turn the product over to. These two political parties are familiar to those who’ve played Bioshock. As you progress through the game, you will level up your factory worker through skill tiers. 

Bioshock Industrial Revoltuion Tiers:

  • Laborer
  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman
  • Foreman
  • Steward
  • Chief

After completing the game, the rewards earned from your play transfer to Infinite. Therefore, this game hyped players for the new game and gave them a way to gain an advantage early in their Infinite play-through. The codes were available to all Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PC preorders. Unfortunately, all the codes have expired, and you can no longer access the game since about a year after its initial release. 

Industrial Revolution Rewards for Infinite

  • 3 Exclusive Gear pieces
  • 500 Silver Eagles
  • 5 Lockpicks

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite promo screenshot

©Screenshot from Bioshock: Infinite. – Original

Infinite takes place in 1912, a few years after the setting of Industrial Revolution. The 2013 Irrational Games and 2K Games developed project is similar to the original Bioshock game. It is the latest major game in the franchise and is available on PS3, Windows, Xbox 360, Linux, and OS X. Despite being a Bioshock title; it is not exactly a sequel or prequel to any Bioshock games except for Industrial Revolution

Bioshock Infinite takes place in Columbia, the floating city, instead of underwater in Rapture, where most of the other games occur. It is a first-person shooter with some elements of roleplaying games. The game has many aspects similar to Bioshock, but their backgrounds and explanations are different such as abilities coming from other sources. Similarly, the same political parties from Bioshock, the Founders, and Vox Populi, are fighting for control. You play as ex-detective Booker DeWitt searching for a woman named Elizabeth who’s in Columbia. While much of the game is similar, its setting outside is much more open and allows for distance combat. 

Main Characters:

  • Booker DeWitt
  • Elizabeth
  • Robert Lutece
  • Rosalind Lutece
  • Zachary Hale Comstock

Bioshock Clash in the Clouds

Bioshock Infinite gameplay promo screenshot

Clash in the Clouds is a DLC released after Infinite came out from developer Irrational Games. Initially, the game debuted in 2013 and is available for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Linux, OS X, and Nintendo Switch. It is non-canon but occurs within the world of Columbia and Bioshock Infinite. The game doesn’t have a story; instead is four playable levels of combat plus a waiting room you can explore. 

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Gameplay consists of increasingly difficult waves of enemies that you must defeat. You will use abilities and weapons just like Inifnite, but with more options. The more creative your killing of an enemy is, the more you earn. There are 60 total challenges to complete between the four map levels. In the waiting room hub, you can also explore the Columbina Archaeological Society’s museum and gift shop, where you may see some familiar faces from Infinite

Main Characters

  • Booker DeWitt
  • Elizabeth

Bioshock Burial at Sea

Bioshock Burial promo screenshot

©Screenshot from the Bioshock series. – Original

Burial at Sea is a DLC add-on to Bioshock Infinite. The game takes place the night before Rapture, the undersea city, begins its descent into dystopia. Burial at Sea, developed by Irrational Games released in two parts. The multi-character adventure is available for PlayStation 3, OS X Windows, Xbox 360, and Linux. 

The game is a first-person shooter with some roleplaying elements mixed in. The gameplay uses aspects of other Bioshock games but adds in new weapons and abilities. The plot begins with Elizabeth asking Booker to help find a girl named Sally who’s missing somewhere in Rapture. You play as Booker DeWitt from Infinite in episode one and Elizabeth from Infinite in episode 2. While Booker is more mass combat-based, Elizabeth’s episode is mostly stealth. The game uniquely helps to merge the gap between Bioshock’s setting of Rapture and Infinite’s Columbia setting.

Main Characters:

  • Booker DeWitt
  • Sally
  • Elizabeth
  • Andrew Ryan
  • Atlas
  • Sander Cohen


Bioshock promo screenshot

©Screenshot from Bioshock. – Original

Bioshock debuted in 2007 as an action-adventure first-person shooter. It has aspects and visuals of a horror game, but these only serve as part of the experience and reason for the game’s fandom. The game developed by 2K Games, Digital Extremes, and Irrational Games is often considered one of the best games ever. In the game, you explore a unique world and use various weapons and abilities to make your way past foes as you unravel the story.

Bioshock takes place in 1960 in the dystopian underwater city of Rapture. Rapture was initially to make way for a new, better way of life, according to its founder, Andrew Ryan, but that fell apart. In the game, you play as Jack, who stumbles upon Rapture from the outside world. He meets Ryan, who forces him to seek out and destroy Little Sisters. These genetically altered little girls called Little Sisters come with protectors. Their protectors, the likewise altered and armored humans called Big Daddies, serve as significant enemies in the game. Ryan aims to get ADAM, a substance that alters the body and allows for abilities. Jack instead receives a Plasmid, a serum, that can remove the ADAM from the little girls returning them to normal. 

 Main Characters:

  • Andrew Ryan 
  • Atlas
  • Birgid Tenenbaum
  • Frank Fontaine
  • Jack

Bioshock Challenge Rooms

Bioshock The Collection promo

Challenge Rooms is a non-canon and unique addition to the Bioshock universe. The Irrational Games and 2K Boston developed game debuted on PlayStation 3 in 2008 as a DLC for Bioshock. Eventually, beginning in 2013, the game expanded its availability and is now available on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch for Bioshock

Challenge Rooms is a series of three challenges using elements from Bioshock. No story or main characters exist, although regulars such as Big Daddy and Little Sister appear. Players are put into three different scenarios and must find a way to solve the puzzle or complete the challenge. 

Challenge Rooms Challenges

  • The “I” in Team (Battle a Big Daddy without weapons or Plasmids)
  • A Shocking Turn of Events (Create an electrical charge without Electro Bolt)
  • Worlds of Hurt (Defeat waves of enemies)

Bioshock 2 

Bioshock 2 promo screenshot

©Screenshot from Bioshock 2. – Original

Bioshock 2 is the second major game release and a sequel to Bioshock. It takes place about eight years after the events of the original game. The game debuted in 2010 and was initially available for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and OS X. It later expanded and became available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It is a first-person shooter that again takes place in the familiar undersea city of Rapture. 

The 2K Marin, 2K Australia, Digital Extremes, and Irrational Games developed sequel is similar to the first, with notable updates to gameplay and graphics. While the setting is Rapture, it looks different as the world has changed much in eight years. Similarly, while much of the game is familiar, the many additions to Bioshock 2 include new enemies, weapons, Gene Tonics, and Plasmids. 

In the game, you play as Subject Delta, an armored Big Daddy trying to reach Eleanor, the Little Sister you are bonded to. During the time between games, psychiatrist Sofia Lamb took power and changed how things are in Rapture. Additionally, she’s allowed Little Sisters to grow up and become Big Sisters. These high-powered, slightly older girls guard Little Sisters and kidnap girls that will turn into more. 

Main Characters:

  • Augustus Sinclair
  • Sofia Lamb
  • Elanor Lamb
  • Subject Delta

Bioshock Minerva’s Den

Bioshock 2 launch trailer screenshot

©Screenshot from the Bioshock series. – Original

Minerva’s Den is a DLC add-on to Bioshock 2. It debuted in 2010 from developer 2K Marin and was initially available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and OS X. The game later expanded availability to include Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch. Minerva’s Den is a first-person shooter similar to Bioshock and a direct extension of Bioshock 2. While much of the game is the same, there are additions to weapons, Gene Tonics, and Plasmids.  

The game’s setting is Rapture in the 1960s. Its story takes place at the same time as the events of Bioshock 2. You play as a prototype Big Daddy called Subject Sigma and therefore get to use all the weapons and abilities that come with that. This adventure sends you to explore the high-tech Minerva’s Den area of Rapture. Your goal is to help find a cure for the ADAM illness causing problems in Rapture.

Main Characters:

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  • Charles Milton Porter
  • Reed Wahl
  • Subject Sigma
  • The Thinker

Bioshock Games in Release Order 

  • Bioshock 1 (2007)
  • Bioshock Challenge Rooms (2008)
  • Bioshock 2 (2010)
  • Bioshock 2 – Minerva’s Den (2010)
  • Industrial Revolution (2012)
  • Bioshock Infinite (2013)
  • Bioshock Infinite – Clash in the Clouds (2013)
  • Bioshock Infinite – Burial at Sea (2013)
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