BioShock Developer Irrational Games Shuts Down, New Studio Formed

irrational games

BioShock’s developer Irrational Games is officially shutting down after co-founder Ken Levine announced that he has decided to form a new studio with 15 members of the former workroom. The new venture will also be under the Take-Two Interactive umbrella, but BioShock will continue at the same company, only “in someone else’s hands.” Although the exact number of Irrational Games’ employees has not been disclosed, the remaining staff will have access not only to financial support, but also to a period of time to organize the departure.

The reins of BioShock will be handed over to 2K so that Levine can focus completely on “replayable narrative” and have a “smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavour at Take-Two.”

Although in an interview with Polygon last October, Levine stated that his plans did not go further than the completion of BioShock Infinite, it seems that Irrational Games will not live to see the day the game is released, since it has shut down and a new studio is about to be formed. The co-founder’s plans with the new team of 15 people is to make “narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable,” and although the studio thrived for 17 years, Levine is going back to the roots and now aims at indie games.

Where Will the Staff Go?

While BioShock Infinite was in development, Irrational Games hired approximately 200 people and more than 100 employees list the studio as their current employer on LinkedIn. As a result, Levine emphasized the fact that the remaining people will not be forgotten; the “first concern is to make sure that the people who are leaving have as much support as we can give them during this transition.”

Levine made sure that certain Take-Two studios will speak with the departing staff of Irrational Games about career opportunities and the demised developer will also organize a career day to try to find the former employees good working places. Levine told Polygon that about 50 publishers and studios and 112 recruiters have signed up to participate in the recruitment day scheduled for February 26. Among the studios that have confirmed their presence on the recruitment day are the following: Blizzard Entertainment, Amazon Game Studios, ArenaNet LLC, Gearbox, Sony Computer Entertainment, Infinity Ward, Wargaming and Ubisoft’s various studios.

Ken Levine’s Plans

After Ken Levine, the co-founder of BioShock’s developer, Irrational Games decided to shut down the studio, he also made arrangements to form a new workroom with only 15 people. His former partner, Jon Chey, who left the company in 2008 wished him luck and reminded him and the worried staff that was not co-opted in the new team that “a lot of cool things happen” when a company closes down and people are sent back in the industry’s “waters.” Levine’s idea is to go back to “making games for the core gaming audience.”

The concept Levine wishes to focus on dubbed “narrative LEGOs” by the co-founder of Irrational Games, refers to taking a narrative and breaking it down.  During the Gaming Insiders Conference, Levine explained his plans with sound examples from BioShock Infinity. The game’s leading character, Elizabeth “performs the same way for everybody who plays the game, every time, always the same.” As a result, he wishes to offer gamers variations of the narrative content and make the game more diverse.

BioShock’s developer, Irrational Games has been shut down by co-founder Ken Levine, who formed a new studio in order to focus on his next project, “replayable narrative.”

By Gabriela Motroc






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