If any of you are even old enough to remember 2008, it was a time where you could read the headline “Gore Verbinski Making BioShock Movie” and it wouldn’t be a Hard Drive gag, but an actual thing.
That movie died a death, for various reasons, but today we have news that Netflix is working with 2K and Take-Two to once again “produce a film adaptation of the renowned video game franchise BioShock.”
The Hollywood Reporter has a few more details, like the fact the deal has been in the works for “almost a year,” that no “writer or filmmaker” is attached and, perhaps most importantly for anyone wondering which BioShock games they might be adapting exactly, that there are plans to “develop a potential cinematic universe.”
The last attempt to make a BioShock movie was that Verbinski project back in 2008, one that quickly ran into issues with its budget and potential R-rating. When his projected $200 million budget was scaled back to $80 million, Verbinski walked, and was replaced by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who would eventually also leave the movie, leaving it dead in the water.
While it never began shooting, we did eventually see some concept art from the project, revealing that this first pitch at least was hoping to stay very true to the original game’s aesthetic.
The original BioShock was a game that captured people’s imaginations because it was set in a leaky underwater city, sure, but also because it told the story of that city in fragments, leaving the player to slowly piece together what exactly happened to Rapture and the people inside it. A Netflix series might have been able to do that, but a movie? A movie would have to simply follow the game’s wider narrative beats, and they have aged very poorly, or suck.
And that’s just the original game I’m talking about. If they’re really serious about “a potential cinematic universe,” that would also presumably involve a cinematic adaptation of BioShock Infinite, which....yikes.