At its core, the first BioShock about the flaws in objectivism, particularly as it’s presented in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged novel. It’s not trying to hide that, either (see: that character named Atlas). John Galt’s utopia is Rapture, except gone wrong. What was supposed to be a perfect paradise for artists, doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs who wanted to break away from the Church and the governments above the surface was quickly destroyed by class warfare after the discovery of ADAM. It turns out the ultra-rich are always going to do what the ultra-rich do regardless of where they’re living, huh?
On that same note, Columbia also represents an ideology perceived as a utopia that quickly becomes anything but when put into practical play. A society built on the foundation of God, led by one man who thinks the rest of the world should fall in line behind America – what could go wrong? Well, if said “one man” begins to think he is God, or at least someone who thinks God looks like him and acts like him, a floating and isolated city quickly becomes a place rife with oppression, particularly for people of color.
At the heart of both BioShock, BioShock 2 (which largely continues the objectivism critique of the first), and Infinite are stories that critique these philosophies in unique sci-fi ways. It’s the commentary on real-world philosophy that’s core to the pillars of the series’ storytelling, and without that foundation, the next could risk becoming blasé, losing what makes these games interesting in the first place.