The phenomenal retrofuturistic game from Bethesda Games has had various names attached to it – including Guillermo Del Toro. Now, it’s official that the adaptation of this iconic game will be helmed by Francis Lawrence. Bioshock will be produced by Netflix, with the release date still unknown.
Bioshock has been one of the most successful franchises in gaming history. The franchise, consisting of three titles (with a fourth one in the making), has sold over 37 million copies. Fans have praised the fascinating world of Bioshock and its combination of horror-set shooter mechanics with a fleshed-out story that guaranteed the game’s cult status.
Although the record of game adaptations still leans toward total misfires, there’s a faint light at the end of the tunnel for Bioshock. First, the game landed a director whose prolific career includes an ample range of blockbusters, genre films, and music videos. Francis Lawrence has directed, among others, I Am Legend (2007) and Constantine (2005) – two films that prove the Austrian filmmaker’s knack for horror chops.
Completing the dream team is Michael Green, writer of Logan (2017) and co-writer of Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Particularly the latter project gives hope because Denis Villeneuve’s unparalleled follow-up to the ultimate sci-fi classic by Ridley Scott remains an impeccable example of world-building and capturing what futuristic nihilism is all about.
Bioshock needs that kind of experience.
While it’s unclear which of the three parts the adaptation will cover, the story will probably start in Rupture – a beautifully haunting underwater city designed by a madman named Andrew Ryan.
The game’s plot follows a survivor of a plane crash who receives a mission to find Mr. Ryan and kindly gets rid of him. The mysterious man who navigates the protagonist Jack is Atlas – a voice that narrates most of the story.
Bioshock utilizes the jump scares from the first-person perspective and finds players tackling hordes of nasty zombies and tin can nautical monstrosities called Big Daddies and their tiny compañeros, Little Sisters – the horrid leftovers of the lucid dream of Mr. Ryan.
Is Bioshock a horror, a sci-fi, or …?
There are numerous ways to approach Bioshock. As mentioned earlier, Rupture is inhabited by zombies that go by the name Splinters. The society that once lived in Rupture has been modeled into a perfectly functioning one and benefitted from the brilliance of engineering innovations by Ryan industries. These innovations – ADAM – altered human DNA to grant unique capabilities that often included elemental powers. That’s also how Jack grows more powerful and cunning in his nightmarish descent into the corridors and chambers of Rupture.
Bioshock’s heavily inspired by George Orwell’s works and Fyodor Dostoievsky and Stanisław Lem. Players and fans have scratched their heads over the very idea of whether Rupture could exist in reality:
As well as assembled ambient mixes that soothe one’s soul thanks to the relaxing combination of hollow sounds of pipes and creaks from the vintage interiors of the city:
The film’s steampunk horror has a unique aesthetic, and it’s probably one nautical story that might break the spell of Underwater (2020).
A direct adaptation won’t cut it, for much of the game challenges players in inventive shootouts and combat encounters. Hopefully, Lawrence and Netflix will reach for the depth of Bioshock lore. The backstory of Andrew Ryan and the collapse of Rupture would constitute a riveting story worth a whole series. However, let’s start with a movie first, right?