- "Every man has a choice... I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well."
- ―Andrew Ryan
Rapture (also known as the North Atlantic Project and the Rapture Colony) is a massive underwater city forged by the personal dreams of Andrew Ryan to escape from the political, social and religious anxieties of a post-World War II world. It was established on November 5, 1946 and finished in late 1951. It is located at 63° 2' N, 29° 55' W, which places it at about 433 kilometers west of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.
Rapture lies at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean, as a gleaming metropolis of massive Art Deco-styled buildings, connected by networks of reinforced glass tunnels, bathysphere transport systems, and submerged railways. It largely resembles the Manhattan borough of New York in both size as well as general appearance. The city is completely self-sustaining with its electricity, food production, water purification, and defense systems powered by the geothermal volcanic vents in Hephaestus. Fresh food and oxygen recycling are taken care of by large areas of cultivated forests and farms centralized in the Arcadia zone, as well as fish and other sea life from Neptune's Bounty.
Transportation within Rapture is provided by Rapture Metro, a connected bathysphere system, which consists of spherical pressurized capsules, in which citizens could access most areas of the city. A terminus of the Rapture Metro system is the bathysphere dock inside the remote lighthouse in the North Atlantic, which is Rapture's primary entrance to the outside world. Another mode of transportation within Rapture is the Atlantic Express, a pressurized rail system for moving a larger number of citizens (though this mode of transportation was mostly decommissioned years before). Adjacent areas of Rapture are connected through bulkhead doors. Areas within some levels are connected by glass tunnels: smaller ones for pedestrians, larger ones for tramways of a rail transit system. Rapture is intentionally isolated from the world, and the only way to access it seems to be bathyspheres which travel down from the lighthouse perched on an island above.
Rapture began as a dream of Andrew Ryan's from long before its construction. Ryan had thought about such a place at least a decade before a viable location was even picked. He had escaped Russia from the murderous tyranny of Communism, and had worked his way to become an industrial mogul in America. He had come to view 'workers' unions, left-wing collectivists, politicians selling altruism, and organized religion as parasites ruining man's life on Earth. He considered exploring the idea of a closed-off society, collecting achievers and those who believed in the empowering of the individual, and closing them off to flourish in some remote location uncontaminated by the rest of society. When the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the Second World War, and the USSR was on its own path to nuclear weapons, Ryan foresaw the inevitable death of humanity in a war ending in nuclear fire. Ryan wasted no time in contacting like-minded associates and marshaling his resources. His city, Rapture, would be built on the seafloor in the North Atlantic. One of the first trusted men involved was Sullivan, who was already under Ryan's employment. With Sullivan's experience in law enforcement, he was made chief of Rapture's security. Ryan gathered many construction experts and secured the architects Simon Wales and Daniel Wales to draft the design for many of Rapture's buildings. Needing workers to build Rapture, Ryan hired many of the most talented and skilled engineers, workmen and mechanics. Many, like Bill McDonagh, shared Ryan's ideals and saw Rapture as a new start where they could rise from mediocrity.
Beginning in late 1945 and throughout most of 1946, Ryan contracted a series of companies to begin construction at the selected location between Iceland and Greenland. Ryan and his associates secured the manufacturing materials in secret, so as to avoid unwanted attention. These resources were then transported by ships like the Olympian thousands of miles into the North Atlantic to the project site. There, the materials would be submerged to the ocean floor via a giant State-of-the-Art submersible platform, nicknamed "The Sinker." Deep sea welders and mechanics created a foundation for the city by sinking pilings and girders deep into the rock and silt. From that foundation, they built up the many buildings, slowly creating an Art Deco metropolis. "The Sinker" was permanently anchored, and by November 5, 1946, Rapture had started receiving its new residents. The major construction period continued until the end of the 1940's, with smaller projects continued in and around the city until Rapture's construction was complete by 1951.
Andrew Ryan named his city after the goal he set in mind: To create a paradise free from all the people he saw as "parasites", a place of true rapture.
In terms of its philosophical underpinnings, Rapture can best be described as a "gulch", (a term derived from Galt's Gulch in the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged)., which is a localized underground economic and social community of free-minded individuals. It differs from a commune in that it is uniquely freedom-focused and so upholds individual and property rights rather than operating by the rules of a collective community.
The original goal of Rapture was to create a capitalist society free of religious and government interference, where any citizen could achieve for his or her own gain, rather than for the altruistic fulfillment of the wants of others. The "world's best and brightest" would be granted freedom of will and choice in Rapture, unrestrained by government, religion and similar established institutions. Instead of abiding by the traditions and moral systems imposed by those institutions, values such as logic and scientific reason were to guide the inhabitants in their pursuit of achievement.
This would-be utopia had its flaws. In Rapture's purely capitalistic society, there were no social programs whatsoever, everything within the city was privately owned and came with a price. This included the city's food, health care, sanitation and even its oxygen supply. There were less restricted norms for businesses and labor, allowing unscrupulous business practices (such as overpriced vending service), but competition and customer's choice would balance the market.
This system alienated Rapture's less fortunate citizens, who when hard times came began to resent Ryan's society as cold-hearted and elitist. Andrew Ryan's hostility and paranoia of "parasites", and others exploiting Rapture's freedoms to seize power resulted in Ryan's downfall, and that of his city. Ryan issued an edict, cutting contact with the outside world, being required for the city's safety by keeping Rapture's existence secret. This enabled a man named Frank Fontaine to build a criminal empire through smuggling, and then to create and run the transforming ADAM industry. Unlike the capitalistic Ryan, the mobster could not be satisfied by mere material wealth—he wanted Rapture to be his to control completely. Fontaine, under the alias Atlas, would go on to start a civil war which brought Rapture's ruination.
Religious Beliefs and PhilosophiesEdit
In a public debate with Sofia Lamb, Ryan said that individuals had a right to religion in private, but that there was not to be any such public institutions in Rapture. The following are the major beliefs held by citizens in Rapture:
- The Rapture Family - Everyone owes each other a sense of unity and brotherhood. This was the most recent cult to have appeared in Rapture, having been created and promoted by Sofia Lamb and Simon Wales.
- The Great Chain - Belief in self-interest and free markets which unite the people in their forward progress. This is more of a philosophy than a religion, as it is a belief promoted by Andrew Ryan, who is a staunch atheist.
- Christianity - Belief in the Christian God and Christ as the savior of humanity. This is an underground religion in Rapture, as it is officially banned as an organized religion. The ban enabled smugglers to make money from smuggling many religious artifacts, and gave fuel to demented religious fanaticism (as shown by the Waders Splicer type).
- Atheism - The disbelief in a metaphysical God or spiritual beings. This is the official philosophical stance of Rapture, as imposed by Andrew Ryan.
- The Saturnine - A dark pagan cult found in Arcadia. Worshipers of this cult drink human blood as well as cups full of Plasmids (most likely raw ADAM). They also believe they have been "touched" by the ancient gods.
- Main article: Rapture Businesses
Companies that were founded in Rapture:
- Atlantic Express - Railway transportation for citizens that was decommissioned years previous and superseded by the Rapture Metro system. Founded by Prentice Mill then bought by Austen Bathysphere.
- Circus of Values - Vending machine company that sells various items (among them, ammunition used during the Rapture Civil War). Owned by Lloyd Webster.
- El Ammo Bandito - Vending machines for weapons and ammunition.
- Fontaine Futuristics - Mainly Plasmid and Tonic production facilities. Founded by Frank Fontaine before being nationalized by Ryan Industries, by order of the Rapture Central Council.
- Fontaine's - A lavish shopping center owned by Frank Fontaine, selling many of his products such as men and ladies clothes, Plasmids or home electronics. The department store buildings were converted into a prison for Fontaine's spliced followers after his death.
- Gatherer's Garden - Vending machine for genetic upgrades. This business dealt with ADAM as currency, not common money. Belongs to Ryan Industries.
- Jet-Postal - The main citywide system for distributing mail and parcels through Pneumo Tubes.
- Power to the People - Free vending machines for custom weapons upgrades. Belongs to Fontaine Futuristics.
- Rapture Central Computing - Computing and calculation data center for Rapture. Performs computations for other businesses and operates and manages automated systems of Rapture through the Thinker. Co-founded by Charles Milton Porter and Reed Wahl.
- Rapture Metro - A consolidated transportation system carrying citizens to areas of the city. Founded by Anton Kinkaide.
- Ryan Industries - Construction, utilities and product development. Founded by Andrew Ryan.
- Securis - Construction company for bulkhead doors and airlocks of the city.
- Sinclair Solutions - Provides various services to businesses and individuals, in particular Plasmid and Gene Tonic testing for other companies such as Fontaine Futuristics first, then Ryan Industries. Founded by Augustus Sinclair.
Science and TechnologyEdit
Ryan believed that scientific achievement in the world was being restricted by "petty morality," so he ensured that the inhabitants of Rapture could explore paths of inquiry previously deemed too immoral or controversial to follow. Some scientific breakthroughs were in robotics, bringing about an advanced automated security system; others were in biology, where developments advanced in the restoration of life, both in plants (the Lazarus Vector) and humans (the Vita-Chamber). There were also some technological advancements regarding items that were created before they were commercially available on the surface, such as portable audio recording devices (approx. five years earlier), automatic doors (eight years earlier at the most) and vocal biometric security.
One of the major breakthroughs achieved in Rapture was Brigid Tenenbaum's discovery of ADAM: unstable stem cells from a species of sea slug. This led to the creation of Plasmids and Gene Tonics. ADAM allowed a user to splice new genetic material into the individual's DNA, enhancing health and intellect, and giving extraordinary powers to the human body. However, ADAM was soon found to cause physical and mental disruption and damage, as more of the user's native cells were replaced by unstable stem cells. The populace's need for ADAM became an addiction, accelerated by excessive splicing, done increasingly during and after Rapture's civil war.
Beginning of the EndEdit
On December 31, 1958, there was an event - 1958 New Year's Eve Riots, when a massive working-class uprising was started by Atlas, with attacks in many upper-class locations (such as the Kashmir Restaurant). This became a civil war between Atlas and Andrew Ryan, made worse by the effects of ADAM addiction in many of the city's residents. Traditional projectile weapons were used, and were joined by combat type Plasmids, first by Atlas' splicers and later employed by Ryan supporters. The major conflict lasted about four months, with the continuing violence causing great deterioration to cohesive society and infrastucture in Rapture. In the multiplayer mode of BioShock 2, the player gets to participate in the warfare which was part of the fall of Rapture. In the end, the majority of the population either became Splicers or were killed off by them while others committed suicide or died of starvation. Thus stable society in Rapture came to an end.
Events of BioShockEdit
By 1960, Fontaine, posing as Atlas, was feeling the pressure of Ryan's legion of pheromone-controlled Splicer forces. In a last ditch effort to turn the tide in his favor, he summoned his mind-controlled assassin Jack to kill Andrew Ryan and enable Fontaine to takeover the city. After a year of ceaseless civil war, Rapture is a severely damaged underwater city teetering on the verge of collapse. Water constantly keeps leaking in every corner and Splicers roam about the passageways looting or killing those they see as a threat. As bad as it is, Rapture is still being held together by Ryan. Automated systems and the Big Daddies keep the city from falling apart.
Mistaking Jack for a CIA or KGB spy sent to report Rapture's location, Ryan sends waves of Splicers to deal with Jack, to no avail. Losing his patience, Ryan chooses to sabotage Arcadia's trees, depriving the city of oxygen, and trapping Jack in an area-wide lockdown. Jack with the help of Julie Langford manages to restore the foliage to Arcadia and continues on to Hephaestus, and Ryan's office. As Jack journeys on through Rapture unabated by the bathysphere lockdown, the Splicers, and the Security measures, Ryan slowly begins to piece together Jack's true identity. When Jack draws near, Ryan, in a final attempt to prevent Fontaine from gaining the city, activates a self-destruct system for all of Rapture. Jack manages to kill Ryan and stop the destruct sequence, and unwittingly turns over control of Rapture Central Control and the whole city, to Atlas. Fontaine reveals himself, his Atlas persona being a 'con job', and betrays Jack by ordering his execution. Jack escapes and eventually reaches a spliced up Fontaine and kills him at his towering hideout. Jack subsequently escapes to the surface in a bathysphere, and either, with the aid of a horde of Splicers, takes control of a nuclear submarine, or leaves Rapture with his rescued Little Sisters to live out his life in peace.
Events of BioShock 2Edit
In the years following the deaths of Ryan and Fontaine, the city continued to deteriorate. With the damage done to Hephaestus, Rapture is running on limited power. Big Daddies continue to do maintenance work, but several areas have become completely flooded and some buildings have crumbled down to the ocean floor.
Despite its decaying state, there is still life left in Rapture. Given the eight years since the first game, the Splicers have become even more desperate and deformed than before. Controlled by Sofia Lamb, one of few of Rapture's remaining unspliced citizens, her Rapture Family appears to be the de-facto regime in the city Delta moves through. The Family is rebuilding society according to Lamb's beliefs, but is hazardous to those who refuse "to believe". With the Family gaining control, citizens who had not fit into Ryan's Rapture received prominent positions. The Family, in an atmosphere of cultist religious fervor, embraces the goal, through human sacrifice, of imbuing Sofia's daughter Eleanor with the combined genius of Rapture's citizens to create the ultimate altruist, a "Utopian." This Utopian would eventually ascend to the surface world. To achieve this goal, the ADAM production process is restarted and children from around the world are kidnapped to be turned into Little Sisters. The previous Little Sisters had grown older and were unable to continue as ADAM producers.
In 1968, a long dead Alpha Series Big Daddy, known as Subject Delta, is revived by Eleanor, and is aided by Brigid Tenenbaum and Augustus Sinclair to release Eleanor from her mother's captivity and escape the city. During Delta's journey, several sections of Rapture get destroyed as a result of his encounters with Sofia Lamb's supporters. This includes the Adonis Luxury Resort and Siren Alley, which are both flooded, and the Persephone Detention Facility and Fontaine Futuristics Headquarters which are sunk into an ocean trench. In the end, Sinclair ends up dead, but Delta, Eleanor and Sophia Lamb manage to escape in Sinclair's submersible Lifeboat moments before Persephone, the Rapture Family headquarters, is destroyed by Sofia Lamb.
With Andrew Ryan, Frank Fontaine, and the Rapture Family gone, it is unlikely that there are many sane individuals left to rule what remains of Rapture. Much of the city remains damaged or destroyed over the course of the games and through lack of organize maintenance. There is no longer anyone left to create new Big Daddies to help maintain the livable areas. Many of the Little Sisters have been either saved or harvested, thereby removing the primary source of ADAM in the city for the ADAM craving Splicers. With many core functions destroyed and its population further reduced to the remaining Splicers, the fate of Rapture is ambiguous at best.
The last reference to Rapture in the series is given by Tenenbaum in the Minerva's Den DLC in which she states that she intends to go to the surface to work for a cure for ADAM and "end the Rapture nightmare."
- Main article: BioShock Locations
During the journey through BioShock, the player will explore the following areas of Rapture:
- Welcome Center - Home to Kashmir Restaurant and first stop for all newcomers in the city.
- Medical Pavilion - Primary grouping of medical, surgical, dental and funerary facilities.
- Neptune's Bounty - The fishing district and port in Rapture, which serves as a cover for Frank Fontaine's smuggling operation.
- Smuggler's Hideout - One of Fontaine's criminal enterprises, an abandoned tunnel network and a submarine bay.
- Arcadia - A forest, agricultural and recreational area in Rapture, with an experimental facility and supplying part of the city's oxygen and other natural resources.
- Farmer's Market - Marketplace for foods, organic produce, home of Tasha Denu's apiary and the Worley Winery.
- Fort Frolic - Arts, entertainment and shopping district, overseen by Sander Cohen.
- Hephaestus - Geothermal power generation facility, workshops and headquarters of Ryan Industries.
- Rapture Central Control - Andrew Ryan's private quarters and office, and Rapture's centralized control.
- Olympus Heights - Residential area for the high society, residents included Yi Suchong, Sander Cohen, Brigid Tenenbaum and Fontaine himself.
- Apollo Square - Transportation hub and Atlas's stronghold, also low-class apartment complexes and Dr. Suchong's Free Clinic, turned to an internment camp for Atlas supporters by Ryan.
- Point Prometheus - Rapture's tallest skyscraper, home to ADAM laboratories and a development and production center for Big Daddies and Little Sisters.
Of the three playable maps in the Challenge Rooms, two of them features original parts of Rapture mostly designed with textures and models from the main game:
- Rapture Firing Range - A specialized facility designed for firearms practice.
- Rapture's Grand Carnival - A carnival attended by citizens for festivities.
- Main article: BioShock 2 Locations
Main GameEditDuring the journey through BioShock 2, the player will explore the following areas of Rapture:
- Adonis Luxury Resort - A Plasmid/Gene Tonic therapy center for the upper-class citizens of Rapture with a Greco-Roman theme.
- Atlantic Express Depot - The main administration facility for the construction and maintenance of the Atlantic Express trains and rail network.
- Ryan Amusements - An amusement park where the children of Rapture were taught about the "evils" of the surface world and the story of Rapture's construction.
- Pauper's Drop - Home of 'down and out' and lower-class citizens. It was constructed by the workers themselves as a shantytown and later redeveloped. Previously known as Maintenance Junction 17.
- Siren Alley - Rapture's red-light district. Previously known as the Mason's Quarter.
- Dionysus Park - A free art park which Lamb created as a counterpart to Arcadia. She used it as a way to spread her ideology behind a facade of art and nature.
- Fontaine Futuristics - The headquarters of Frank Fontaine's Plasmid business operations, later seized by Ryan. Including some hidden research facilities.
- Persephone Penal Colony - A hidden penal colony used to hold Rapture's criminals and political dissidents.
Between matches the player has access to their own apartment which they are free to explore while they customize their character.
- Rapture Metro Apartments - An apartment building with it's own Bathysphere station, Sinclair Solutions provided some rooms here to it's customers during the war. Most of the building is now closed off and damaged.
Minerva's Den features a previously unseen district of Rapture set in three different parts:
- Minerva's Den - The hub for Rapture Central Computing and advanced robotics manufacturing.
- Main article: BioShock Infinite Locations
Nearing the end of the game, a small section of the Welcome Center is explorable when Elizabeth teleports herself, Booker DeWitt and the Songbird there (destroying the latter in the process). A Little Sister can be seen mourning a Bouncer Big Daddy in the background. As Elizabeth and Booker trans-dimensionally travel, it is revealed that the city of Rapture is one of the "constants" in her multiverse, bound to appear in one form or another in the continuum. In BioShock Infinite's set of timelines, it takes the form of Columbia, an early 20th century city floating in the sky.
Burial at Sea - Episode 1Edit
Burial at Sea - Episode 1 revisits Rapture, while featuring new original places before its fall:
- Market & High Street - An upper class retail promenade with a scenic view over Rapture's uptown area.
- Fontaine's - A shopping center showcasing various products of businesses owned by Frank Fontaine, including Plasmids and electronics from Fontaine Futuristics.
Burial at Sea - Episode 2Edit
Burial at Sea - Episode 2 continues the story initiated in the previous episode where it ended, while shining a light on new locations in Rapture:
- Andrew Ryan’s Preparatory Academy - An upcoming new location featuring a preparatory school under the guidance of Andrew Ryan.
- Athena's Glory - Apartment complex located in Olympus Heights.
- Cameron Suites - Mentioned on advertisements for Pharaoh's Fortune Casino and Cinema Réal.
- Med Plaza - Mentioned in public announcements for SportBoost, it proved trials for Gene Tonics.
- Water Treatment Station - Mentioned on newspapers scattered on the floor. It was shut down after some water contamination by a pathological bacteria.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- The names of a majority of the locations in Rapture are inspired by gods and locations from ancient Greek, Roman and Biblical culture.
- Although contact with the surface was forbidden, the surface bathysphere was not disabled (although still under genetic lock). Jack, Orrin Oscar Lutwidge, and Mark Meltzer were able to enter Rapture via this method.
- Much of the external architecture of Rapture was inspired by the Art Deco architecture of New York City, particularly the Rockefeller Center and the work of Hugh Ferriss, who created perspective drawing of New York buildings in the early 1900s.
- Rapture is similar to the mythical lost city of Atlantis in many respects. Both of them are underwater cities isolated from the rest of the known world, and their inhabitants were able to master technology far more advanced that what had been discovered on the surface. Both became plagued with corruption, which led to their ruin. Moreover, one of the chapters in Atlas Shrugged is called Atlantis, and the mythical city is likened to Galt's Gulch by the characters.
- The name Rapture is inspired by the Biblical concept, meaning an event in which the faithful will be taken to Heaven. In this case, the smartest and most artistic flocked to Rapture."
- As seen in Deco Devolution: The Art of BioShock 2, "Rapture is anchored- (while drilling piers, a huge cavern is discovered directly below)."
- If the co-ordinates 63° 2' N, 29° 55' W are input into Google Earth, it would return a photo of the city of Rapture from BioShock which reads "The City of Rapture."
- In BioShock Infinite, the Welcome Center that Booker and Elizabeth find themselves in is not identical to the Welcome Center at the start of BioShock. The Gatherer's Garden machine in the Bathysphere Station is completely empty, suggesting that Booker and Elizabeth arrive at some point after Jack's first arrival in BioShock.
- Further evidence of this is the obstructed doorway into the Welcome Center, which Jack must clear with the wrench, is now clear, but still shows signs of debris around it, suggesting that Jack had already been through there by clearing the passageway.
- In an ironic moment, Booker, upon realizing Rapture's location, comments on how a city at the bottom of the ocean is "ridiculous".
- Ryan went to great lengths to keep Rapture secret from the surface. But, bottles of Arcadia Merlot that contained invitation to Rapture were found on coasts around the world on August 8, 1968. Also, according to the Fact From Myth promotional video for Burial at Sea - Episode 1, other clues have been revealed to the world by the 1980s, with the discovery of a steamer trunk washed up on the New England Coast loaded with artifacts from Rapture.
- ↑ Art Deco on Wikipedia
- ↑ Ayn Rand on Wikipedia
- ↑ Atlas Shrugged on Wikipedia
- ↑ Rockefeller Center on Wikipedia
- ↑ "Unreal Engine 3 Powers Critical and Commercial Success BioShock" article by John Gaudiosi at UnrealEngine.com
- ↑ Hugh Ferriss on Wikipedia
- ↑ BioShock 2 Q & A: "It's More Personal This Time", IGN interview with Hogarth de la Plante by Michael Thomsen, IGN.com
- ↑ Atlantis on Wikipedia
- ↑ Rapture on Wikipedia
- ↑ Episode Three: What is Rapture?" BioShock Podcast on the Cult of Rapture