In preparation for BioShock 2's impending release, we've rounded up the most important aspects, ideas, and faces behind Andrew Ryan's ruined utopia. The following primer is a short refresher for fans of the original, as well as a quick crash course for gamers who missed out on Jack Ryan's initial trip to Rapture.
Spoiler Alert: If you've didn't play the original BioShock and are not too keen on having most of its important plot twists spoiled for you, you may want to take a second to hit the back button on your browser.
Shout out to the BioShock Wiki for their tireless efforts on detailing nearly every aspect of the BioShock universe.
Andrew Ryan's objectivist underwater paradise was founded on the belief that a man should be entitled to the sweat of his own brow - where "the artist would not fear the censor." Built at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean off of the coast of Iceland, Rapture was hidden safely away from the ever-watchful eyes of the "parasitic" political and religious communities, formed as an ideal utopia for the greatest scientific and creative minds of their time to have free reign over both their abilities and the fruits of their labor. Rapture was constructed as a self-sustaining metropolis, its electricity, defense, water, food, and air purification systems all maintained by Hephaestus, the city's main power production facility, and home to Andrew Ryan. The city is accessible via an elaborate submarine glass tunnel network, as well as through Rapture's bathysphere system.
Character: Andrew Ryan
Having already witnessed his home country of Russia corrupted by Communist rule and various economic hardships, Andrei Rianofski immigrated to North America in 1919 in hopes of prospering under the American dream, adopting the name Andrew Ryan in the process. The more Ryan built his legacy, the more he grew to despise the concept of socialism, viewing those that would benefit off of the labor of others as "parasites". Prompted by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in World War II, Ryan vowed to create a utopia untouched by the destructive hands of the parasites - a worker's paradise where "the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, where the great would not be constrained by the small." Ryan chose Rapture.
Character: Frank Fontaine
As tensions grew in Ryan's isolated underwater city, so did the rampant demand for surface goods. Enter Frank Fontaine, fisherman-turned-smuggler and eventual arch-enemy to Andrew Ryan. Fontaine rose to power shortly after discovering the potential in Rapture's Adam-enriched sea-slugs, soon funding Brigid Tenenbaum and Yi Suchong to conduct genetic experiments for his eventual Plasmid and Tonic development firm, Fontaine Futuristics. With the Adam craze taking Rapture by storm, Fontaine soon found himself with enough wealth and influence to rival Andrew Ryan, causing the two to become quick enemies and even prompting several attempts from Ryan to roust Fontaine from power. These attempts on Ryan's smuggling ring culminated in a bloody shoot-out in late 1958, where Fontaine faked his own death and slipped from the public eye. Fontaine would later surface as the revolutionary Atlas, and continue his crusade to dismantle Ryan's reign over Rapture from the shadows. Trapped in Rapture with Ryan in control, Fontaine was eventually forced to activate a surface-based sleeper agent engineered from Ryan's own DNA in hopes of overthrowing the tyrant once and for all.
A facade created by Frank Fontaine, Atlas was a faux Irish revolutionary devoted to toppling Andrew Ryan. After slowly garnering support among the people with his distinct "Who is Atlas?" posters, Atlas' feud with Ryan reached its peak on New Year's Eve, 1958, when Atlas/Fontaine sent an army of rowdy Splicers to crash an Andrew Ryan-funded masquerade ball. Atlas guided Jack Ryan for most of the original BioShock until, after Ryan's death, he announced his true identity and quickly became the game's new antagonist.
Character: Jack Ryan
The protagonist of the original BioShock, Jack Ryan is the illegitimate son of Andrew Ryan and mistress Jasmine Jolene. Under orders from Frank Fontaine, Jack was engineered by Doctor Yi Suchong as a sleeper agent and eventual weapon against Ryan, programmed to obey the pre-set trigger phrase "Would you kindly," without fail. Jack was smuggled out of Rapture during the Civil War, living peacefully on the surface with his memories erased until an unfortunate plane crash brought him plummeting back to Rapture to be further manipulated by Fontaine - this time under the guise of revolutionary leader Atlas.
Character: Brigid Tenenbaum
Doctor Brigid Tenenbaum discovered her love for science during her time at a German prison camp in World War II, assisting the Nazis in various experiments and earning herself the nickname "Das Wunderkind" (The Prodigy) in the process. It was 1946 when Tenenbaum, now a prestigious member of the scientific community, travelled to Rapture in hopes of expanding her focus on genetic research. Upon viewing an injured sailor bitten and healed by a sea-slug on the docks of Port Neptune, Tenenbaum discovered that Rapture's native slugs secreted an embryonic stem cell compound able to resuscitate and heal damaged cells on humans. Tenenbaum dubbed this matter "ADAM", and after joining forces with Frank Fontaine, later developed Rapture's Little Sisters to aid in the cultivation and mass-production of ADAM. As time passed, Tenenbaum eventually had a falling out with Fontaine, halting any and all genetic research. Feeling incredibly distressed with what she'd done to Rapture's Little Sisters, Tenebaum vowed to make things right any way she could, eventually assisting Jack Ryan in his escape from Rapture.
Character: Yi Suchong
Doctor Yi Suchong was a Rapture-based medical researcher responsible not only for the development of many signature Plasmids, but also for genetically engineering the original BioShock's protagonist Jack Ryan. Dr. Suchong was also the man behind Rapture's Big Daddies, linking the diving suit-clad protectors with Tenenbaum's Little Sisters in a lifelong relationship. This relationship eventually lead to Suchong's demise when, upon striking a Little Sister out of frustration, a Big Daddy pinned Dr. Suchong to his desk with his drill-arm, killing him instantly.
Characters: Little Sisters
Little Sisters were once very normal little girls, but under the supervision of Brigid Tenenbaum, they saw ADAM-rich sea-slugs implanted into their stomachs, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two. Little Sisters were created in the hopes of cultivating ADAM for Fontaine Futuristics, and eventually linked with Yi Suchong's Big Daddies through a unique pheromone system.