Irrational Games “as you know it” to be disbanded, Ken Levine to focus on “a different kind of game”

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After all of the accolades, sales success and critical praise showered on Irrational Games since its inception seventeen years ago, the Boston-based game developer will be reduced down to just fifteen employees and will cease to exist “as you know it.”


The announcement was made by studio and creative director Ken Levine on the official Irrational Games website, where the industry luminary outlined the company’s many and varied successes and creations since it began all those years ago. The public address made a drastic turn, however, when he revealed that following the release of the next set of downloadable content for Bioshock Infinite, there will be big changes for him and the developers he has worked with for so long.

After announcing his desire to work on “a different kind of game than we’ve done before,” with the need to “refocus” his energy on a smaller team “with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers,” Levine wrote:

“I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two. That is going to mean parting ways with all but about fifteen members 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.”

Levine made it clear that employees affected by the restructuring will have absolute support from parent company Take-Two, with the chance to use Irrational’s studio to put together their portfolios to get hired elsewhere, with assistance in finding jobs within Take-Two as well as other publishers and developers being offered as well.

“What’s next?”

Now that Bioshock has generated retail revenue in excess of half a billion dollars thanks to the support of its fans, writes Levine, the franchise is officially being handed over to 2K so that Levine and co. can focus on creating a game that he says will feature “replayable narrative” – a game that Levine hopes to announce in good time with a single goal in mind:

“To make narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable,” says Levine. “To foster the most direct relationship with our fans possible, we will focus exclusively on content delivered digitally.” He continued:

“When I first contemplated what I wanted to do, it became very clear to me that we were going to need a long period of design. Initially, I thought the only way to build this venture was with a classical startup model, a risk I was prepared to take. But when I talked to Take-Two about the idea, they convinced me that there was no better place to pursue this new chapter than within their walls. After all, they’re the ones who believed in and supported BioShock in the first place.”

What do you make of the news? What kind of game can Levine possibly have in mind that will feature a “highly replayable” narrative structure?

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