With all the talk about video game movies as of late, namely Deus Ex and World of Warcraft, it seems that every major franchise is looking to get into the Hollywood mix. But of all the video game IP’s that could be adapted, BioShock easily has the most potential as a feature film.
A true movie experience in its own right, BioShock has everything needed to be a blockbuster: a highly original theme, charismatic and interesting characters, a setting to die for, a story-line wrought with jarring twists, and disturbing parallels to real-life society.
Even with all of this going for it, we will not be seeing a movie iteration any time soon, mainly because of the series creator himself, Ken Levine. At a BAFTA Awards panel last night, Levine detailed exactly why this is.
It seems that everything was going smoothly early on, with famous director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) at the helm. According to Levine, the director was looking for a “hard R film” and that “he wanted a lot of blood.” (ok, good start!). But then everything began to fall apart when the movie adaptation of the graphic novel, Watchmen, was released.
Performing below expectations Watchmen gave Universal cold feet about developing a $200 million dollar video game film. The studio decided that they wanted to reduce the budget to $80 million, which Verbinski was none too happy about, ultimately leading to his departure.
Levine mentioned that after Verbinski left, “They brought another director in, and I didn’t really see the match there – and 2K’s one of these companies that puts a lot of creative trust in people. So they said if you want to kill it, kill it. And I killed it.”
He detailed his reasons for giving up on the opportunity by saying, “It comes along so rarely, but I had the world, 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.”
Although he may not get another chance anytime soon, he did make the right decision. As the mastermind of such a serious and critically acclaimed series, Ken simply did not want to sully its good name.
It is disappointing that we will not see a BioShock film, but not half as disappointing as it would be to see a really bad BioShock film. Until the time is right, lets hope Deus Ex is able to pull it off and give us a great video game adaptation.
What are your thoughts on Ken Levine’s decision? What game would you like to see made into a feature film?