Concept Art for Abandoned Bioshock Movie Hits the Web
Here lies what could have been. It really wasn’t too long ago that Hollywood, wishing to ride the success of Irrational’s intellectual shooter, was spinning the wheels on a full feature Bioshock film.
The silver screen adaptation was being backed by Universal Studios with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski helming ship; all under the watchful eye of series mastermind Ken Levine. Originally supported by a $200 million dollar budget and Verbinski’s intent on making a “hard-rated,” rated R film, Bioshock seemed set to reign in a new era of video game film – one in which we wouldn’t be privy to two hours of cringe culling shit.
But like Halo before it, Universal was uncomfortable shilling out that much cash for both an R-rated film and a video game adaptation. Levine suspected the then-recent box office disappointment of the very expensive and very R-rated Watchmen led to Universal slashing Bioshock’s budget down to $80 million. “The studio got cold feet about making an R-rated $200 million film,” said Levine.
Soon after, development hell crept up on the project. Gore Verbinski, unhappy with the lowered budget, departed. A new director was chosen but Levine says he just didn’t fit. Take Two, Bioshock’s rights holders, went to Ken for the final say on the film. “They said to me, ‘if you want to kill it Ken, kill it.’ And I killed it.”
What remains of the film’s pre-production includes conceptual artist Jim Martin’s designs. You can view his entire gallery of work he laid out for the film here which features areas of Rapture never explored in the game. If Martin’s renderings are any indication, the film looked to faithfully recreate Irrational Games’ dystopia beneath the sea. Oh, what could’ve been.