Throughout 1959, a full-scale decline of Rapture took place, with many large battles occurring between the armies of Andrew Ryan and Atlas. Ryan used the opportunity of the conflict to test many of Ryan Industries' plasmids and gene tonics on citizens on the field through Sinclair Solutions, a company owned by Augustus Sinclair. Early 1959 also saw great advances in the technology of Big Daddies under Gil Alexander's influence.
As Rapture society began to fall apart Andrew Ryan attempted to maintain control by enacting harsher laws, limiting the movement of the population, locking dissenters up in Apollo Square, shutting down the Bathysphere network, and putting the death penalty in place for anyone who broke these laws. In an act of desperation Ryan even violated the greatest virtue he held dear, free will, by introducing a type of "pheromone" into the air which would allow him slight mental control over all of the splicers. Once Ryan had complete control of the city, Atlas went into hiding, and the insane splicers roamed the streets of Rapture.