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Netflix to take the plunge into sunken city of Rapture with 'BioShock' film adaptation

This isn't the first time Hollywood has taken a stab at the best-selling video game franchise.

By Josh Weiss
Bioshock Key Art PRESS

Break out the ADAM, everyone! Hollywood is once again trying its hand at a big-budget film adaptation of 2K's best-selling BioShock video game franchise. Netflix announced Tuesday that it will take the icy plunge down to the ghostly underwater city of Rapture via an upcoming movie project co-produced by 2K (a subsidiary of Take-Two Entertainment) and Vertigo Entertainment.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, development has only just begun and no writer or director is attached yet. However, the partnership between the streamer and its co-producers has reportedly "been in the works for almost a year." Plans for a Bioshock movie go back over a decade to 2008 when Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski was in talks to helm an adaptation from veteran James Bond screenwriter, John Logan. Obviously, the project never became a reality and instead languished in development hell for the last 14 years or so.

Released in 2007 and 2010 respectively, the first two Bioshock games take place in Rapture, a dystopian city located deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Founded by the idealistic and Ayn Rand-inspired Andrew Ryan after the Second World War, the entire purpose of the aquatic settlement was to build a utopian society free of federal and religious interference.

When the first game picks up in 1960, however, the grand experiment has crumbled to the ground due to an uprising of the disenfranchised lower class. All that remains are the desolate ruins of a once-grand culture, now full of marauding Splicers (individuals who have gone insane from a genetically-modifying chemical known as ADAM), Big Daddies (hulking figures dressed in old school diving outfits), and Little Sisters (creepy little girls who are protected by the Big Daddies at all costs). The player steps into the shoes of Jack, a plane crash survivor who unwittingly finds himself transported to the sunken city and caught up in its squabbles.

"It came from a lot of places," creator Ken Levine remarked in 2016 when asked about the origins of the concept. "The first idea that I would say that really made it BioShock came from watching a nature show. A scene involved some predators hunting some prey. And then the prey’s mama swooped in and saved her younglings. I realized that dynamic is imprinted upon us, the nature of those relationships is clear without words. The love between protector and protected, the threat of the predator. Seemed like a really cool AI relationship that we hadn’t seen a lot before in games. First glimmer of Big Daddy and Little Sister."

A third title in the gaming series — Bioshock Infinite — was released in 2013 and dropped players into the world of Columbia, a floating city in the sky founded on hardcore American ideals.