Ken Levine winds down Irrational Games

February 19, 2014 | 09:27

Tags: #bioshock #bioshock-infinite #ken-levine

Companies: #irrational-games #take-two #take-two-interactive

Irrational Games, the studio behind the BioShock franchise, is to close with the loss of an estimated 185 jobs, with founder Ken Levine opting to start a new, smaller studio within Take Two instead.

'Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one. And working with the incredible team at Irrational Games is indeed the best job I’ve ever had,' claimed Levine in an update posted to the official company blog. 'While I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished together, my passion has turned to making a different kind of game than we’ve done before. To meet the challenge ahead, I need to refocus my energy on a smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers. In many ways, it will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience.

'I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavour 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.

The move will see some 185 people, a team responsible for the hugely successful BioShock Infinite less 15 Levine is taking across to the new studio, losing their jobs. Levine has indicated that they will receive support, however, including access to the studio for an undisclosed period to 'say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios,' discussions of transfers to other Take Two-owned studios, financial support and a recruiting day in which selected third-party studios will be invited to interview departing staff.

'In time we will announce a new endeavour with a new goal: To make narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable. To foster the most direct relationship with our fans possible, we will focus exclusively on content delivered digitally,' Levine explained of his new team's purview. '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.'
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