2K Games, the publisher of BioShock - 2007's award-winning undersea horror FPS - has announced a date for the release of the sequel - it's 9 February 2010. Pre-orders are now available from certain retailers, too.

The sequel will be released on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and will "form the perfect blend of explosive first-person shooter combat, compelling storytelling and intense multiplayer action". Yes - multiplayer is coming to the bottom of the sea.

The company says: "Multiplayer in BioShock 2 will provide a rich prequel experience that expands the origins of the BioShock fiction. Set during the fall of Rapture, players assume the role of a Plasmid test subject for Sinclair Solutions, a premier provider of Plasmids and Tonics in the underwater city of Rapture that was first explored in the original BioShock".

The main single-player game, however, is set 10 years after the original game. You play as one of the game's iconic Big Daddys, and rescue or harvest little girls that have been snatched by an unseen assailant.

The original game was a sterling success, taking on the mantle of spiritual successors System Shock and System Shock 2, but placing the setting under the sea instead of in an abandoned space station. It was well-received by the public, too, selling several million copies. Its sequel is much anticipated.

A film version is also planned, but is currently on hold.