Why You Don’t Want A ‘BioShock’ Movie

No idea in Hollywood ever dies for good, and so it is with a BioShock movie. Apparently, Sony has been making quiet noises behind the scenes of making that happen. And really, those noises should stay there.

BioShock’s Story Only Works In Video Games

The brief and painful history of video game adaptations is littered with terrible ideas. While a spare handful of movies have managed to be worth watching once, for the most part it’s crap.

That’s because video games are all about player agency: i.e. you run around and make things happen. It’s true that game designers set up events in a certain order for you to make happen, but the point is, you still flip the levers and shoot the mooks to continue the story. You are the protagonist. That’s the whole idea.

BioShock is essentially a game about the illusion of free will in video games, and that’s what gives the central twist its power. Ken Levine essentially yanks away the illusion inside the plot of the game and yanks your chain nice and hard. But that doesn’t work in a movie: You’re passively watching events unfold. It’s a cute twist, but it’s not going to do much.

The Political Message Will Be Removed

At minimum, doing BioShock remotely right, even if it’s Jason Statham in front of a green screen, is going to cost $80 million. Movie studios are often criticized for fearing art, but come on; if you’re dropping $80 million on something, you want to get that money back.