Gone Home , BioShock and System Shock could all take place at different times in the same fictional universe, according to The Fullbright Company's Steve Gaynor.
Fullbright, a team founded by three former 2K staff, slipped a few little hints into Gone Home and the BioShock 2 DLC Minerva's Den that link the three worlds together as one. Gaynor revealed the 'very lightly implied' links in a recent podcast, as reported by IGN.
"In Minerva’s Den, there’s the world’s first video game, in theory, because there’s a video game down there and it was from the 50s or whatever. It’s called Spitfire. I don’t know if you found it when you played it, but it’s like a vector graphics, like an Asteroids kind of thing. It’s playable, the idea being that it was a super simple representation of a fighter plane in World War II shooting down enemy Zeros," he said.
"In Gone Home, we wanted to make Super Nintendo cartridges that we put in the game, so one of them is called Super Spitfire. And the publisher is CMP Interactive, which stands for [Minerva’s Den protagonist] Charles Milton Porter, because he survived and made it back to the surface.”
Porter then went on to start a computer company, which has been up and running for "50 years or something" since the events of Minerva's Den, Gaynor suggested, and the company he started licensed the IP to a Japanese developer.
Other "little winks" include the logo of the airline Katie uses, which is an 80's brand update of that seen on the pane which crashes at the beginning of the first BioShock.
So that's how Gone Home and BioShock are linked; but BioShock precursor System Shock also gets a look in, thanks to small nods slipped into Minerva's Den linking the two Ken Levine titles. The scientists in Rapture went on to develop technology later seen in System Shock, Gaynor said.
“The computer that’s nicknamed The Thinker [in Minerva’s Den] is nicknamed that because its designation is RODIN, spelled like the artist, and that’s why there’s a Thinker statue in the thing, and they nicknamed it The Thinker because of that,” he said.
“That stands for the Rapture Operational Data Interpreter Network, which going up to the surface would be shortened just to ODIN, the Operational Data Interpreter Network. And SHODAN stands for the Sentient Hyper Optimized Data Access Network, idea being that the acronym morphed over time.
"So, in theory, if you were to make a lot of logical leaps, all of those games have been linked together by our ridiculous retconning," he added.
"In a completely unenforceable way, theoretically, we have caused all of these universes to coexist.”
Gaynor said future Fullbright games are likely to be set in the same universe as Gone Home, because it's essentially the real world - and therefore also have spurious links to the Shock universes.
As these world links haven't been ratified by Irrational Games or Ken Levine, creator of BioShock and System Shock, they can't be considered canon, and as Gone Home is an independent title, they likely never will be. Still, even as Fullbright's fanfiction or headcanon, it's a pretty cool theory.