How <i>Watchmen's</i> Failure Helped Kill R-Rated <i>BioShock</i> Movie

While most video game developers are working hard to transfer their properties from consoles and computers to the big screen, Ken Levine of Irrational Games actively scrapped such a deal.

Before joining the gaming industry, Levine tried his hand at screenwriting, but soon went on to become the co-founder and creative director of Irrational Games, where he and his crew created games like System Shock, Freedom Force and, the real feather in the company's cap, BioShock. So, what happened with the intended film which had a hugely successful director attached? Levine explained at a recent BAFTA event:

There was a deal in place and it was actually in production at Universal, and Gore Verbinski was directing it. And what happened was – this is my theory – it’s a very big movie and Gore was very excited about it and he wanted to make a very dark, what he would call a ‘hard-rated’ horror film – an R rated film with a lot of blood. Then The Watchmen came out – and I really liked The Watchmen – but it didn’t do well for whatever reason and the studio got cold feet about making an R rated $200 million film.

So they said, 'Gore, what about it if it was an $80 million film?’ and enough time had gone by where Gore didn’t want to make an $80 million film. And so they brought another director in and I didn’t really see the match there – Take Two is one of those companies that gives a lot of trust to their creative people and so they said to me, ‘if you want to kill it Ken, kill it’. And I killed it.

Which was weird, having been a screenwriter going around begging to re-write any script to being in a position where you’re killing a movie that you worked so much on. It was saying, 'You know what? I don’t need to compromise.' I had the [Bioshock] world, and I didn’t what to see it done in a way I didn’t think was right.

Don't expect this to be the end of the Hollywood road for BioShock, though. If a film like Watchmen could have spooked major studios, there's no telling what the success of any of the many video game properties in development could do to reignite interest.

For his part, Levine is focusing on BioShock Infinite, the third game in the franchise, which takes the action out of the sunken world of Rapture and into the sky city of Columbia. The game debuts on all major platforms March 26.

(via Edge Online)

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