Last year BioShock Infinite launched as the conclusion to the BioShock Trilogy. The developers behind the game, Irrational Games had a lot of issues getting the game out. Now it seems that the team will be moving onto future projects and leaving Irrational Games to shut down.
Ken Levine, one of the co-founder of Irrational Games, has announced that Irrational Games will be leaving the BioShock rights in the hands of their publisher 2K and moving onto other things. One might ask, “with so much success why stop now?” In his statement on the Irrational Games website Levine notes that he appreciates the accomplishments of the team but his passion has driven him to make other games. “It will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience.”
Seventeen years building all that Irrational Games would be has led Levine to ask himself what will be coming next. Next month marks the release of the final piece of BioShock downloadable content: Burial at Sea – Episode Two. After that DLC comes out (March 25) Irrational Games will unfortunately lay off all but about 15 individuals that will work with Levine as a small team on future projects. This team will work with Take-Two and focus on a specific type of game. The individuals losing their jobs will have a recruiting day with third-party publishers to hopefully find new jobs in the gaming industry.
The new Levine team has not been named but it has announced what it intend to work on. This likely comes from the experience gained from working on the BioShock series. Levine claims that his reformed team will be focusing on narritive-driven games directed at serious gamers that hold a lot of replay value. This last bit will be a challenge due to the conflict it has with narritive-driven games. Most games that retain replayability do so with gameplay that can be addressed in a large number of different ways ( for example Dark Souls). However, some games with extraordinary narrative (such as Alan Wake) make such an enticing story so interesting that it becomes hard to not want to play it again. It is not impossible to reach this goal, but the team will need to be successful in their manner of making relatable characters as well as an intriguing story.
Instead of choosing a “classical startup model” for the new venture, Levine thinks the his team will find more success if it is a small group. The team intends to deliver all future projects digitally. Surely the troubles getting BioShock Infinite finished helped Levine to discover the best way for him to make games and get them to the fans that appreciate them.
With a legendary series under his belt, Levine shuts down Irrational Games for an opportunty to make new endeavors gamers will love. The future of BioShock rests in the hands of 2K as Levine and his team try their best at focusing on narritive-driven games for the all the serious gamers of the world. The final DLC of BioShock will be coming out March 25.