There are few gaming franchises that enjoy the critical acclaim of the Bioshock series. The game has drawn a huge fan following based on its ability to combine classic first-person-shooter and RPG action with a provocative storyline based on real-world philosophy. Around 2010, Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango director Gore Verbinski was set to helm the movie adaptation of Bioshock. In an interview with Collider, Verbinski explained that the project requiring both an R-rating and a massive budget ultimately led to its downfall.
"It was talked about as one movie. And it was strange, my first meeting at Universal on Bioshock was sitting in a room and saying, 'Hey guys, this is a $200 million R rated movie.' And it was silent. I remember my agent going, 'Why did you say that?' I'm like, because it is. Why just even trying to kill a movie you haven't even started? That's before getting a scripted before anything. I'm just I just want to be clear. And I think everybody at the studio was well, yeah, okay, maybe. Wow, no. It's big, we know."
The Bioshock games tell the story of the fictional underwater city of Rapture. Built upon the ideals that private businesses should be free of government oversight, the game sees its various protagonists battle an army of antagonists to reach the upper levels of power within Rapture, where victory is decided as much by the moral choices the protagonist makes as their ability to strategize and use various powers.
The prime basis of the success of Bioshock is the ability of its narrative to place the player in new and challenging situations that almost require an R-rating. According to Verbinski, his ask for a big budget for an R-rated adaptation made the studio balk because Zack Snyder's Watchmen, another big-budget R-rated feature, had come out recently and underperformed at the box-office. If Gore Verbinski had been allowed to make Bioshock, the filmmaker believes his take on the material would have done justice to both the action and the philosophical underpinnings of the games.
"I think that's one of the few video game narratives that actually has a great story. It's Oedipus. It's got a great narrative flow. It's got a sort of untrustworthy narrator. It's got, at its core ... Again, that was one that I went to John Logan with, and he really responded to the dramaturgical aspect of the story. So, we spent a lot of time adapting the script. Obviously, the big plane crash was a huge set piece, the entry into that world. There was a lot of story boarding, a lot of pre-vis."
"There was playing with how to have both endings. I don't know if you're familiar with the game but dissecting that feint to the happy ending. And then, still having the unleashed version of the ending. We were trying to achieve that, which was really exciting. Where if you watch the movie, you could get both. The set piece thing to me... I don't like generic action if there's not story through line."
This news originated at Collider.