Ken Levine has revealed that the Bioshock film has been cancelled while in production, adding that the decision was ultimately his own.
Edge Online reports that Levine spoke on the development at a BAFTA event held in London this week – specifically citing former director Gore Verbinski's departure over a significantly reduced budget ($80m down from $200m).
"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," Levine said. "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."
Levine explained "enough time had gone by" that Verbinski turned down proceeding with the smaller budget, and that he "didn't see a match" with the replacement director Universal decided on.
"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,” Levine said.
"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," he added. "It was saying, 'You know what? I don't need to compromise.' I had the [Bioshock] world, and I didn't want to see it done in a way I didn't think was right."
Levine's latest effort, Bioshock Infinite, launches later this month on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.