I wasn't in time to catch this one (the banter posts had timed out by the time I heard about it), but it seems the Improbability Bubble is no longer canon, and the mention of it has been removed from the intro text. I asked CMJ a few things on Mastodon and got clarification that:
a) yes, this applies retroactively
b) "People are prevented from leaving the island by sharks."
(presumably monster sharks, if the Drive's influence can extend that far.)
So, well, I guess I'm curious to know: how are other people going to be roleplaying this? And while we're here, what kind of implications do you think this has for the setting? If it raises questions, this seems as good a place as any to try to figure out some answers. (It seems to me, for instance, that sharks wouldn't necessarily stop the powerful or the truly determined - so we'd be looking at a world where, at least in theory, Jokers and zombies and even robots don't just exist on the island.)
Personally, I'm likely to duck the issue in story for as long as possible - I've referenced it too many times over the years to drop it easily now, and will have to give some thought to how this would change character and plot things.
I honestly never held that the Bubble was what kept people from leaving, myself. It was always that leaving the field of Improbability would be dangerous because who knows what will happen to you/your transport/your food/etc! I always felt that fit better, considering a nigh-impenetrable barrier could have some interesting effects. But that's just me.
Now, just like with everything else here, one's personal canon can vary. CMJ doesn't tell people how to play pretend, just like players don't tell other players how to do so. Don't follow him on Mastodon, but posting his exact wording might help clear some things up?
I asked CMJ about this.
CMJ didn't tell you there is no Bubble. He pointed out that the Island text no longer talks about the Bubble. The Bubble is there if you want it to be, but then, that's how it's always been. Players have blithely ignored "canon" since the beginning of the Island, whenever they felt they could make a better story by running a variation. CMJ does not want to tie writers' hands.
As for the sharks, hey. Someone asked CMJ, he came up with a suggestion off the top of his head. If you don't like that one, go with the wall of ancient Titans, that sounds awesome. Or go ahead -- kidnap that mini imp drive and show up at a military base in Hawaii. Create a gate to an alternate Island where Murphy's Law is trying to destroy the universe, or aliens are blighting the place by devouring Improbability, or everything is being transformed to deadly paint as used by various famous artists, or the Norse gods rule, or... Since you're going to be doing this RP somewhere on the Island, you'll have to figure out some sort of rationale for why you are still here. If you pick something other than the Bubble, I'd personally recommend clearing the basic story premise with the other players before you start.
Island RP can be like tabletop gaming with a GM who sets the story framework, or it can be improv theatre with all players ready and willing to build on whatever anyone says happens, no matter how wild. The first usually winds up with a more coherent story -- and it may even have an ending! but the second can be a delightfully crazy ride.
In any case, the Island has always been up for creative interpretation. That's the whole fun of it. If players are running into friction, they need to talk more.
The Improbable Island Enquirer - Forum