A couple of years ago there was big talk of a movie based on Bioshock, the series of crazy art-deco steampunk underwater shooters from Irrational Games and Take-Two. Colossal budgets were, er, budgeted, and Gore Verbinski was attached to direct. But nothing happened, and Irrational honcho Ken Levine now says that there's "no longer a burning desire" to get Bioshock made.
Bioshock was actually one of the more intriguing prospects for the game-to-film journey, given its potential for amazing design, and its weirdly Ayn Rand-like anti-utopian ideas. But concerns over the immense costs (rumoured to be north of $160m) were raised during Verbsinki's tenure, and he bowed out when it seemed the film might shoot outside the US to save cash.
Verbinski did, however, remain aboard as producer, and there was talk of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo taking over behind the cameras until a run of other potential Fresnadillo films seemed to indicate that he was no longer interested.
The rest was silence, and while as recently as last May Levine was saying the Bioshock film was "still in the conversation", he now admits that the talking has basically stopped. "We got very close to getting it made," he says. "We had a deal [at Universal] and a director, but we don't have a need to get it made just for the sake of getting it made."
If the film were to eventually happen, Levine stresses that, "It's really got to be something that will both give the fans something that they want, and introduce people who don't know Bioshock to something that is consistent with the game. It has to be a good representation."
So no cinematic Big Daddys or Little Sisters, Pipe Mania, Vita-Chambers or drowned Xanadus for the time being, but at least it seems the abandonment is down to quality control. Levine has a past as a screenwriter, so it's not impossible that Bioshock will resurface as a movie in the future. And in the meantime, Bioshock Infinite is out next year.