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By TK | Trade News | July 6, 2010 | Comments ()


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Video game fans everywhere are nervous about an adaptation of BioShock, the wildly popular game first released in 2007. It's one of the great cinematic video games, filled with rich imagery and an honest-to-god original story, and not only that, but an incredibly well-written, adult-themed story that's both fascinating and terrifying. I'll let Wikipedia do the honors:

Set in an alternate history 1960, the game places the player in the role of a plane crash survivor named Jack, who must explore the underwater city of Rapture, and survive attacks by the mutated beings and mechanical drones that populate it. The game incorporates elements found in role-playing and survival games, and is described by the developers and Levine as a "spiritual successor" to their previous titles in the System Shock series.The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews, which praised its "morality-based" storyline, immersive environment and Ayn Rand-inspired dystopian back-story.

There's much more to it. Of course, my guilty little secret is that I wasn't a huge fan of BioShock -- the story elements of it were indeed incredible, as were its visuals, but I'm simply not a big fan of first-person shooter games. Give me third person, and I'd give it an A. Its use of a system of choices, enabling you to be good or evil, cruel or kind, created an interesting twist on the genre, and I'll never forget the first time I was offered the chance to save one of the game's "little sisters," or kill her and siphon out her lifeforce to increase my own power.

Guess which option I chose.

Regardless, Gore Verbinski is producing an adaptation, and has been for a while now. The good news is that he's trying his hardest to get it a hard R rating, which falls in line with the themes of the game. It will be directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (at the moment, since the named director has already changed once or twice), who previously directed 28 Weeks Later. Verbinski had this to say in a recent interview with IGN:

"We're working trying to make it. The problem with BioShock was: R-rated movie, underwater, horror. It's a really expensive R-rated movie. So we're trying to figure out a way working with [director] Juan Carlos [Fresnadillo] to get the budget down and still keep so it's true to the core audience, you know? The thing is it has to be R, a hard R"

That's good news on the one hand, but the problems with the budget -- and with the overall failure rate of video game movies in general -- has to be somewhat disheartening to fans. Especially because it's not the fans that will make or break the movie, it's the general audience. Therein lies the problem with video game adaptations, of course -- the majority of the general public has no knowledge of or history with the product, so it needs to appeal to fan and casual observer as well, and the compromises therein are usually what end up driving away fans.

But then again -- I never thought anyone would be able to make an adaptation of an amusement park ride, and Verbinski proved me wrong there. So who knows.

(source: Dark Horizons)



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