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1958 New Year's Eve Riots

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Masquerade poster

A poster advertising the 1959 Masquerade Ball.


The Kashmir Restaurant was the first to be attacked during the 1958 New Year's Eve Riots.

"So, it's begun?"

The 1958 New Year's Eve Riots were the beginning of the Civil War between Atlas and Andrew Ryan for control of Rapture. The attacks started an economic crash and disruptions throughout the entire city, as the panic from the violence caused citizens to withdraw their money out of the banks, and stop going to work and buying many consumer goods. Many banks folded, resulting in the closure of many businesses due to lack of patrons.[1] More citizens began to splice out of fear, creating a much more unstable populace. It was just the start of the rampaging murder and violence which brought the city to near ruin.



Rapture Map BATE2

A map of possible targets for the attack.

Atlas and a few of his followers were imprisoned in Fontaine's Department Store along with Frank Fontaine's menagerie of Splicers, accomplices and former employees. In an attempt to increase his supporters, Atlas set out to recruit those within the facility with promise of revenge and righteousness, which meant swaying the spliced masses. He was able to keep tabs on news as well as relay information or warnings via telegraph from his fellow rebels up in Rapture. It was uncertain when they were going to get out, so a mass attack in the city was planned. A date for the attack was not clear, but some suggestions were at Arcadia on Valentine's Day,  Fort Frolic on the 5th of November - Rapture's Founding.[2] The Adonis Luxury Resort, the Farmer's Market, and Pharaoh's Fortune Casino were also possible targets. Thanks to Elizabeth, they got out just in time for the New Year's Eve celebration at the famed Kashmir Restaurant. When the time came, Atlas had sent the message for his people to prepare.

Happy New Year 1959 Neon

On December 31, 1958, Atlas led a number of lower-class citizens in a series of attacks on Rapture's upper-class areas and population. The place that was hit first and hardest was the Kashmir Restaurant, which was hosting a New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball, filled with the city's affluent and influential people. An audio diary was recorded by Diane McClintock at the exact moment when the explosions and attack began: New Year's Eve Alone. Diane was attending the party at the Kashmir Restaurant, and in the middle of the diary she was injured by an explosion and cut the recording short.

During the riots, power to the Ryan Amusements park was cut, resulting in the location being cut off from rest of Rapture. This lead to the demise of many citizens caught inside the park at the time, including Nina Carnegie with a whole third grade class.[3]

New Year's Eve 1958 was also the night Sofia Lamb escaped from the Persephone Detention Facility to retrieve her daughter, Eleanor Lamb. The Adonis also threw a separate masquerade themed New Years party. While the location was a possible target for the rioters, unlawful behavior was occurring even before midnight. The bonded Subject Delta and Eleanor were on an ADAM gathering mission when they came across the corpse of a woman in her festive attire in a more secluded room just off the main party space. Moments later, the duo were attacked by a group of Splicers from the Rapture Family, under the leadership of Sofia Lamb. Eleanor was taken back by her mother, and Delta was forced into committing suicide by Sofia Lamb while he was under the influence of the Hypnotize Plasmid.[4]


New Year's Eve in Rapture - 1958-195909:06

New Year's Eve in Rapture - 1958-1959

BioShock 2's viral audio broadcast of the New Year's Eve riots, hosted by Rapture Radio.


Behind the ScenesEdit

  • In a 2007 interview, creative director Ken Levine cited the 1994 Coen Brothers film, The Hudsucker Proxy, as an inspiration for BioShock's style and design.[5] The opening and final scenes of the film take place on New Year's Eve 1958.
  • The "Rapture Masquerade Ball 1959" poster was designed by Robb Waters.[6]
    • The in-game poster still has Waters' signature on it.
  • In BioShock 2, an earlier version of the game let the player experience the New Year's Eve celebrations and the riots through the eyes of Subject Delta. The game's intro level was to be set at the Welcome Center on New Year's Eve, and would involve the Big Daddy protecting Eleanor while the riots took place, all the while guided by Sofia Lamb on radio. It was to conclude with Lamb betraying Delta and having him killed to recover her daughter. This prelude level was eventually cut and replaced with the Adonis Luxury Resort and the opening cinematic for the game. The only elements left of this removed level are the loading screen images of a pre-fall Welcome Center (based on the original map from BioShock), screenshots of a pre-fall Kashmir (seen during the installation loading screen for BioShock 2 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms),[7] concept art, and the transcript of radio messages associated with it.
    • Some aspects from the pre-fall Welcome Center were also reused for the Adonis' party area seen during the opening cinematic, resulting in it having a similar appearance to the Kashmir.
  • BioShock 2's viral audio broadcast of the New Year's Eve riots (video above) has some minor contradictions:
    • The host mentions that Professor Julie Langford, Dr. Steinman, Dr. Tenenbaum and Dr. Suchong shared a table at the restaurant, even though Brigid Tenenbaum had evidently gone into hiding prior to the New Year's Eve celebration.
    • Diane McClintock can be heard recording her audio diary New Year's Eve Alone in the broadcast. When listening to the diary in BioShock, the song "And All the While I'm Loving You" can be heard in the background, while in the broadcast the song played is "Bei Mir Bistu Shein".
    • Though not an actual contradiction, some of the female screams heard during the attack is a sound effect, named Scream B.wav, created by user FreqMan on Freesound.[8]


  1. Grace Holloway's Audio Diary: Closing the Limbo Room
  2. Felix Molloy's Audio Diary: For All Occasions
  3. Nina Carnegie's Audio Diaries: Volunteer, You, Me, and 1959 and Deterioration
  4. BioShock 2's Prologue.
  5. Brush Up for BioShock originally at; archived at
  6. Robb Waters' Portfolio
  7. Photo of the installation loading screen for BioShock 2
  8. Scream B.wav on Freesound

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