Look through any eShop or used game rack and you will find copies of Bioshock and Dead Space for dirt cheap. The Nintendo eShop has a sale on the Bioshock trilogy at all hours of the day. If you haven't played either of these two games through some sale or a subscription plan then you are missing some tasty low hanging fruit.
Bioshock invented survival horrors through the lens of early 1900s Americana, but with a heavy dose of twisted ideology and some serious misplaced politics. Dead Space invented survival horror in space with an evil cult that infects humans and aliens. Both games created survival atmospheres outside of residences that were evil and hills that were silent. These IPs are the greatest offerings of the 2000s and richly deserve all remakes and remasters.
But, imagine if some rich guy gave you the keys to one studio and told you that you have full control of the future of these franchises. Which property would you put all your chips in? Imagine if Hulu had a live action Bioshock series, while Dead Space had one on HBOMax. Which one would you binge first? Let's discuss two very different worlds.
BIOSHOCK as a franchise:
Bioshock has more history as an atmospheric horror franchise than Dead Space. They have had years to perfect the formula. Very few people remember System Shock. The world of Bioshock is creepy as creepy pasta can get. Beefy submarine divers are helping little mutant girls harvest the insides of dead people in an under water bunker. Meanwhile, Communist Walt Disney created a dystopia that has become a mutant nightmare. What is not to love? But even if the mutants and daddies who are of large size are taken out of the equation then you still get a massive world of twisted secularism and destructive nationalism. Bioshock is like Prime's Man in the High Castle, but with just a hint more psychotic behavior.
The characters in a live-action series would be twisted and have very fun opinions, but then you would throw in the huge submarine fathers, the mutant killers, the possessed girls, Nietzsche world views, and a multiverse. This would make HBO's Watchmen series look sane by comparison. Also, who doesn't love early 1900s settings? It's Downton Abbey after watching Clockwork Orange.
DEADSPACE as a franchise:
Dead Space imagines a world where outer space is very inhabitable, but the neighbors are very annoying religious zealots. Follow Isaac, the space engineer, as he is just trying to clock in on his job shift, but instead has to chop off the limbs of alien zombie slaves with too many appendages. In space, no one can hear you scream, but they can hear you buzzsaw through many alien limbs as you walk through a poorly lit space shuttle that looks like the boiler room from hell.
The ancient ghost religion, that is the core antagonist of the game, has the power to drive men insane, make aliens murderous, and fill your pants with fear. This system of belief turns crew members into murderous sociopaths and gives us some very monstrous bosses. Everyone hates a religious person who yells through a megaphone, but what about one that rips your skin off your torso?
Dead Space had some animated movies, but it has never taken its core story outside of the game. A live action story that feels like The Mandalorian, but then devolves into Event Horizon would be right up our alley. The casting call would audition for insane religious crew member #1-#20. The CGI team would have to take a few courses on alien monsters with razor limbs.
Both of these series have a love for violence. Dead Space will add more gore, but I definitely don't want my children watching Bioshock until they are at least 31. The world that is painted is very bleak and death swallows up the community in gruesome ways. I would have to go with Bioshock as my franchise of choice. Dead Space would be a cool adult series that explores the dark side of cults and evil gods, but it wouldn't hold a candle to Bioshock's mess of weirdness. Marxism laced with political ideals, webbed in nihilism, with a gooey center of playing god. There would be a lot of deep meat on that bone.
Which one is your favorite series?
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