BioShock creator Ken Levine is taking a detour into The Twilight Zone and it couldn’t feel like a more natural place for him.
In an interview with Wired, Levine talks a bit about his latest project, in which he will be writing and directing an “interactive live-action film” based on Rod Serling’s classic horror/sci-fi series, The Twilight Zone. This series has existed in various forms through the years. Its classic run was on television from 1959-1964. It also had a couple of revival runs over the years (1985-1989 and 2002-2003), as well as a movie back in 1983. The template for The Twilight Zone has always been similar in form to that of a short story; a contained narrative taking place in a single environment, which contains some kind of abrupt twist meant to jar readers or viewers. This type of structure is very much in Ken Levine’s wheelhouse, as reflected in the stories behind the System Shock/BioShock series’.
Levine has always come across as the type of creative personality whose ambition stretches beyond just game design, so seeing him branch off into film is hardly surprising news. That being said, while he will be changing things up by working with live-action sets and actors, there will still be an element of interactivity and agency driving things. He reveals in the interview that at this point, there’s not much that’s been nailed down in terms of story or even how exactly he will be incorporating interactivity into this framework.
“We’ve done a rough outline of what we want to do,” he says, “and now we’re stepping into the writing process, figuring out how to leverage the interactive element to make a narrative tale feel more personal for the viewer, and make them more engaged.”
One hint about what it may look like however can be gleaned based on the fact that he will be working with Interlude, who made this commercial and this music video. Based on this, it would seem that whatever the story is will be somehow centered around the idea (and technology) of shifting perspectives. Will this type of technique be used to piece together a mystery like in last year’s hit game Her Story? Will it instead present a Rashomon-like story that reveals some kind of truth through the simultaneously varying perspectives of its characters? Again, it’s very early so all we can really do is speculate. It will be intriguing however to see how Levine’s vision translates not just to a property like The Twilight Zone, but to the medium of cinema itself.