Ken Levine, co-founder of Irrational Games, recently released a memo on their website detailing his plans to size down the company and start focusing on different kinds of games. The company is most notable for the BioShock series, with the last DLC for BioShock Infinite coming out soon. Levine has been working with a large team for years, and in that time have been able to create some of the best games we’ve seen.
We built Rapture and Columbia, the Von Braun and the Rickenbacker, the Freedom Fortress and some of the nastiest basements a SWAT team ever set foot into. We created Booker and Elizabeth, the Big Daddy and the Little Sister, MidWives and ManBot. In that time, Irrational has grown larger and more successful than we could have conceived when we began our three-person studio in a living room in cambridge, MA. It’s been the defining project of my professional life. – Ken Levine
What does this mean for the future of the company? Will we ever see a third BioShock game developed by Irrational Games?
Before we get into the games, it should be noted that Levine will be keeping on only about 15 employees to keep working on games. The rest, unfortunately, are getting laid off.
I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. It’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two. That is going to mean parting ways with all but about fifteen member of the Irrational team. There’s no great way to lay people off, and our first concern is to make sure that the people who are leaving have as much support as we can give them during this transition.
Besides financial support, the staff will have access to the studio for a period of time to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios. Other Take-Two studios will be on hands to discuss opportunities within the company, and we’ll be hosting a recruiting day where we’ll be giving 3rd party studios and publishers a chance to hold interviews with departing Irrational Staff. – Ken Levine
With the products that these developers have been behind over the past several years, I don’t see any of these men and women having trouble finding work within the gaming and development world. We definitely wish them the best of luck and thank them for the great games they’ve given to us. So what’s next in line for Levine and his small team of developers?
In time we will announce a new endeavor with a new goal: To make narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly re-playable. To foster the most direct relationship with our fans possible, we will focus exclusively on content delivered digitally. – Ken Levine
Levine will be pursuing this goal while still being apart of 2K Games, the company that purchased them in 2006. With this new focus, we’ll hopefully get to see some great new games with excellent replay value. But what about the games we’ve come to love, what’s to happen to BioShock? Levine had an answer for us.
Thanks to Irrational and 2K’s passion in developing the games, and the fans who believe in it, BioShock has generated retail revenues of over a half billion dollars and secured an iconic place in gaming. I’m handing the reins of our creation, the BioShock universe, to 2K so our new venture can focus entirely on re playable narrative. If we’re lucky, we’ll build something half as memorable as BioShock – Ken levine
What do you think? Is this a good move for the company, and for us as gamers? Will we continue to see great games, or will the quality be deterred now that their focuses have changed? If we ever see another BioShock game, will it be comparable to the original and BioShock Infinite? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Source: Irrational Games