A plane crashes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. 8 survivors discover the underwater city of Rapture. But how was this place built? What mysteries exist in a city sprawled across the ocean floor? What has happened to all of the city’s residents? And when the survivors find themselves trapped in the city, how will any of them get out alive?
An excerpt from writer/producer Michael Raben about Bioshock - The Series:
Q: Let’s talk about Bioshock – The Series. Why tell this story as a TV series and not as a feature film?
MR: The Bioshock games - and the original Bioshock in particular – are fantastic, immersive stories. Over the years, there have been some attempts at trying to adapt the material to a feature film, but no one’s been able to make it ‘work.’ I think that part of the difficulty is that there’s just so much story in that first game that compressing – and that’s the best word for it: “compressing” – all of that story into one film is really difficult. To attempt it, you’d have to leave out so much of what made that game so popular – beyond the action, gun fights, plasmids and powers, there’s the characters and the mystery of the city - and I wouldn’t want to cheat the story, or the fans of that story, by doing that. So a TV series is the better story-telling medium.
Remember the show ‘Lost?’ Imagine trying to do that show as one film. You could tell a similar story in a general way, but that ‘world’ had so many interesting characters - and so much story to tell - that it just wouldn’t have been the same phenomenon that it ended up being. You wouldn’t experience that same level of investment; the type that fans have with The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. With a television series, we have an amazing opportunity that a film just doesn’t allow for.
Q: How literal of an adaptation of Bioshock are you planning for?
MR: Not 100%, but you’ll see all of the major characters, and many of the things that the fans love about Bioshock will be there.
There’s also the historical timeframe. Bioshock takes place in 1960, but I don’t think that today’s audience wants to pretend that it’s 1960 when they go to Rapture.
As an immersive experience with any film or TV show, you – as YOU, right here, right now – think in terms of how you would react to the situations that you’re seeing. I don’t have any interest in pretending that it’s 1960. When I play Bioshock, I think about how I would react, in 2016, to traveling through Rapture. In our story, something went really wrong in 1960 down there, so part of the mystery will involve unraveling what happened back then to Rapture and its citizens and how all of that carried over to now. Thus, changing the timeframe so that characters from “today” are experiencing that environment is also a difference.
Q: How will that time shift change the overall story from the game?
MR: A bit, obviously – but not as much as you might think. The overall story idea actually accounts for the change in time, in some fun and surprising ways that we’ll reveal over the course of the series. Most of the little changes that fans of the game would notice are really about the structure of the city and how it runs.
Q: Can you give any examples of that?
MR: Sure. There’s a ‘cut scene’ – fairly early on in the game – in which you meet a Big Daddy and Little Sister for the first time; but if you really watch that scene, you’re left wondering HOW those two entered the area and how they left. It’s not properly explained, so we changed the architecture of the area just a little bit to account for how they got there and how they’d leave.
You also have to remember that Rapture is a BIG place – a full-sized city underwater would have a LOT of people in it, so beyond dealing with the major characters from the game, we’ll be introducing some new characters to the various areas of the city. It’s going to be a fun ride.