It’s official, the long delayed film adaptation of the FPS shooter Bioshock is dead and buried. Having been stuck in development hell with little to no word of it for some years now this should be of no surprise, but what is interesting is that it was personally cancelled by Irrational Games’ Ken Levine.
Off to a promising start in 2008, Bioshock initially looked like it might have been a film adaptation of a video game which might have broken the curse for each and every one to flop. Along with being helmed by Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, the film was set to preserve the adult themes and dark material which had made the video game such a standout title and immersive world. Unfortunately little to no news seemed to follows this and what we did get was rarely good. The last major report being that Verbinski had been replaced on the project by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.
To everyone’s knowledge Irrational was still backing the adaptation, until Levine spoke in an interview during the BAFTA awards two days ago. More importantly he spoke about just why he had chosen to do this.
The core reason behind the project’s troubled history came down to the turnout of the comic adaptation Watchmen. Despite initially being eager to see the project work, and Verbinski being more than happy to make a hard R rated film, the luke-warm box office turnout made Universal Studios have second thoughts about supporting it. With one $130 million R rated fantastical film having under-performed, they attempted to renegotiate how much Bioshock would have to work with. Attempting to cut the $200 million budget to one of $80 million, much to the dislike of Verbinski.
Despite finding a replacement director, Levine stated he felt that he “didn’t really see the match there” and with 2K’s trust in his decision chose to end attempts to create the film there and then. “I had the world,” the developer stated “the world existed and I didn’t want to see it done in a way that I didn’t think was right. It may happen one day, who knows, but it’d have to be the right combination of people.”
The full thirteen minute interview can be found below in which he details additional subjects alongside his experiences in trying to create the film adaptation. Let’s hope sometime in the future we see Rapture on the big screen.