BioShock 2: Minerva's Den

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BioShock 2: Minerva's Den
Minerva's Den, Title Screen.png
Developer(s) 2K Marin
Publisher(s) 2K Games
Designer(s) Steve Gaynor
Programmer(s) Jeffrey Fisher
Artist(s) Devin St. Clair
Writer(s) Steve Gaynor
Series BioShock
Engine Unreal Engine 2.5
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

BioShock 2: Minerva's Den is a single-player downloadable content (DLC) campaign for the 2010 video game BioShock 2. The game is a single player first-person shooter in which the player takes on the role of an Alpha Series Big Daddy with the alias Sigma, who must travel through Rapture's main security station, Minerva's Den, in order to download a copy of the city's main computer which is located within.


Minerva's Den takes place in the fictional underwater city of Rapture in the year 1968, ten years after the events of Bioshock. The story does not reveal where Rapture is, nor the approximate size of the city, other than that it is enormous.


Minerva's Den follows a prototype Alpha Big Daddy referred to as Subject Sigma. Guided by Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum and Charles Milton Porter, the founder of Rapture Central Computing, Sigma makes his way to the Thinker, a supercomputer that maintains every automated system in the city. While developing the Thinker, Porter tried to give it a personality modeled on that of his late wife Pearl. His partner, Reed Wahl, found this to be a waste of time; he instead became obsessed with what he believed was the Thinker's ability to predict the future. To take total control of the Thinker, Wahl framed Porter for treason against Rapture's leader, Andrew Ryan, thus resulting in his arrest and disappearance. Through radio communication, Porter instructs Sigma to travel through Minerva's Den (where the Thinker is located) and retrieve its blueprints from Wahl so that he can rebuild it on the surface. As Sigma progresses, the environment becomes increasingly more threatening due to the Thinker's sophisticated defense system,[1] as well as interference from Wahl and his private army of Splicers. Throughout all this, Sigma's real identity remains a mystery that is not touched upon until the final moments of the game. When Sigma reaches the Thinker and completes his mission, the Thinker recognizes Sigma as Charles Milton Porter, thus revealing his true identity. It is later explained by Dr. Tenenbaum that Milton's "instructions" throughout the duration of the game were actually from the Thinker that was imitating the voice of one of its creators.[2] After Sigma kills Wahl, he and Tenenbaum return to the surface in a bathysphere; Tenenbaum is able to undo Sigma's programming and restore his original human body. Porter visits his wife's grave and leaves a letter in which he apologizes for trying to bring her back using the Thinker, and that he has finally decided to let her go.

The Thinker[edit]

The Thinker is the main computer of the city of Rapture. Known originally as Rapture Operational Data Intraparietal Network (R.O.D.I.N), it was created by Charles Milton Porter and Reed Wahl under the orders of Andrew Ryan. When the Thinker became operational, it was used to run all of Rapture's critical infrastructure and provide a system to link the city's businesses together. Over time, Porter refined the Thinker, expanding its ability to calculate and make predictions. This made it something of a popular attraction, and public tours and services were built around it. Eventually, Porter began to explore the Thinker's capabilities for replicating human feelings and thoughts, with hopes of giving his creation the personality of his deceased wife, Pearl.[3] Wahl found this development to be a waste of time, having already exploited the Thinker to enrich himself.[4] Convinced that Porter was treating the Thinker as a toy and wasting its potential, Wahl framed Porter for treason and persuaded Ryan to give him full control over it. During the game, the Thinker is used against Sigma by Wahl, predicting his actions and responding to them by setting traps, deploying automated defenses, and sending both Splicers and Big Daddies to intercept him.


True to other Bioshock titles, Minerva's Den is a first person shooter. All supplies have to be collected throughout the game, limiting the amount of ammo, health, and ADAM a player can have at one time. The player also has a limited carrying capacity, meaning that only a certain number of items can be carried at one time.

The player and NPCs have the ability to slightly change the environment around then. If a wall, ceiling, or floor is hit or shot, a hole will appear in that spot.

Many items and parts of the environment of the game are affected by physics. Smaller items can be kicked, thrown, and knocked over by the player and some of the NPCs (non-playable characters). Water dynamics also affects the player's movements, being that when underwater, the player will have longer steps and a slower fall time. Specific to Minerva's Den are the mechanics of the "Gravity Well" plasmid. It allows the player to throw an artificial black hole anywhere within a certain range, in which small items and NPCs will be sucked in until the black hole dies and expels the matter.[5]


In Minerva's Den, there are additions that differentiate it from both Bioshock and BioShock 2.

As said above, the new plasmid, "Gravity Well", was introduced. Gravity Well allows the player to throw a black hole anywhere within a certain range. Small items and NPCs then get pulled in until the black hole expels the matter. Gravity Well does not affect the player or larger objects in the area.

Minerva's Den also introduces the player to a new weapon as well, the Ion Laser. The Ion Laser shoots a continuous beam of the selected ammunition, either laser cell, thermal cell, or burst cell. The mechanics of the Ion Laser are reminiscent of the Chemical Thrower from BioShock, but with a longer range.

Electromagnetic locks were added to certain doors to act as a barrier for the player. The locks are impossible to open until the player obtains "Gravity Well", which they can use to remove the lock's power source.


  • The main protagonist of Minerva's Den is an Alpha Big Daddy who goes by his original designation, Subject Sigma. Sigma's goal is to reach the Thinker so he can copy its programs before it is destroyed by the inevitable collapse of Rapture.
  • The main antagonist is Reed Wahl. A talented engineer and programmer, Wahl helped construct the Thinker before misusing it for personal gain. His goal is to protect the Thinker from Sigma and dispose of him through any means necessary. Audio tapes throughout the story reveal that Wahl gained full control over the Thinker by manipulating Ryan into believing that Porter was plotting against him. After the latter's arrest, Wahl became addicted to ADAM to keep himself alive and developed an unhealthy psychological attachment to the Thinker.
  • Though most of the characters are new, Minerva's Den features the return of Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum from the previous two games. In addition to helping Sigma locate the Thinker, Tenenbaum also directs him to free several captive Little Sisters Wahl relies on to maintain his control over the Splicers.
  • Charles Milton Porter was the scientist responsible for the creation of the Thinker, which he built using the work and theories of his mentor, Alan Turing. Haunted by his wife Pearl's death during the Blitz, Porter began to work on the Thinker's personality subroutines, hoping to "resurrect" his wife. Porter was later framed for treason against Andrew Ryan by his corrupt partner, Reed Wahl, and was subsequently arrested. In the events of Minerva's Den, Porter guides Sigma to the Thinker through radio communications.


Minerva's Den was released on August 31, 2010 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[6] It was later released on PC on May 31, 2011, and Mac on March 29, 2012.

With the closure of the Games for Windows Live Marketplace in August 2013, BioShock 2 was subsequently patched in October 2013 to remove Games for Windows Live in favor of Steamworks support for matchmaking. In addition, Minerva's Den was released for free for players who owned BioShock 2 before the patch.[7][8]


Minerva's Den was praised by many outlets for its engaging narrative,[9][10][11] and holds a Metacritic score of 82 indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12] Minerva's Den is often regarded among critics as one of the best DLC expansions of all time.[13][14][15]


  1. ^ "The Thinker (Object) - Giant Bomb". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  2. ^ "BioShock Characters - Giant Bomb". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  3. ^ Cameron, Phill (2013-01-20). "Bioshock 2 - Minerva's Den retrospective". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  4. ^ "Reed Wahl (Character) - Giant Bomb". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  5. ^ "Black Hole Facts - Interesting Facts about Black Holes". Space Facts. 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  6. ^ David Hinkle. "BioShock 2 'Minerva's Den' DLC hits PS3, 360 Aug. 31 for $10". Joystiq.
  7. ^ "Microsoft Closing Games for Windows Live Marketplace". IGN.
  8. ^ Devore, Jordan (October 3, 2013). "BioShock 2 drops GFWL, adds Minerva's Den on Steam". Destructoid. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
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