2K Games recently launched BioShock: The Collection, remastering the critically-acclaimed series for a new generation of gamers. However, the future of the popular series is still somewhat of an unknown. Publisher Take-Two Interactive plans to continue the series, but developer Irrational Games has been dissolved and creator Ken Levine has stepped away from the games. Speaking with GameSpot, Levine explained that working with larger and larger development teams on each new entry was taking a serious toll on his health and his relationships with other people.
“I saw a picture of me when we first announced it. That was 2010. And then I saw a picture of me after I did an interview on NPR when we shipped it in 2013. And I look 10 years older. It changed my life in terms of what it did to my health, and what it did to my view of making games, and my relationships with people. Managing 30 or 40 people where you know everybody’s name is a very different process than managing 150 people. You walk by people in the studio and you don’t know who they are.”
— Ken Levine
Suffering from severe anxiety, Levine feared that the stress of working on such big projects could cost him his sanity and his marriage.
“I think the natural expectation was that I would go and do the next bigger and better BioShock game. And I felt, ‘I think I’ll fail if I do that. I think I’ll lose my mind, and my marriage.’ And so my solution was to quit. I’m not a happy person. I have crushing anxiety all the time. Which is crazy, because I wake up and I look at my beautiful wife and my beautiful dog and my beautiful home and the beautiful people I work with and these things I’ve created and these fans, and I say, ‘How the f**k can you be unhappy?'”
— Ken Levine
Levine created amazing video game experiences with Irrational Games, but the cost was far too high. Hopefully he finds working on smaller projects to be much less taxing on his health.