Irrational Games is Shutting Down, Cutting Most Staff

irrational-games-logoThe developer of such legendary games as System Shock 2, BioShock and BioShock Infinite will be all but shutting its doors after the release of the upcoming BioShock Infinite DLC, Burial At Sea: Part 2.

Irrational Games boss Ken Levine announced that the developer would be letting go all but about 15 staff members as it transitions from a big triple-A studio to smaller endeavor for Take-Two Interactive.

In a statement on the company’s website, Levine said, “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.”

While Irrational won’t be the same company that pushed out multimillion dollar game of the year-worthy epics, it seems the classic Irrational spirit will remain. In his statement, Levine also said, “In time we will announce a new endeavor 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.”

As for the staffers affected by Irrational shutting down, Levine says that they will be given financial support as well as access to the studio to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios. Irrational will also be holding recruiting events for other Take-Two and third-party developers to come in and meet outgoing staffers to help them secure new jobs.

Levine also said that Irrational was ceding control of the BioShock franchise to Take-Two Interactive, owners of the 2K Games label. Currently, the only BioShock projects on the go are Infinite’s Burial at Sea DLC and BioShock for the PS Vita. There hasn’t been anything in the way of rumours about the future of BioShock beyond those projects. The last time 2K took charge of the BioShock franchise, we got the divisive BioShock 2 so who knows what’s up their sleeves.

We’ve previously documented how much it cost Irrational and 2K to make BioShock Infinite. It’s entirely possible that money was the main reason behind restructuring the studio. However, given that Ken Levine seems to be more driven by his art than money, maybe his statement is entirely true. Maybe he wanted to keep his focus on smaller, narrative-driven games and the only way that was going to happen under the 2K banner was if he did it with a smaller team.

It’s a shame to see what is effectively the demise of a fantastic developer. The original BioShock is one of my favourite games of all-time and, along with Mass Effect, the game that got me back into gaming. Hopefully everyone lands on their feet and we still get great games out of everyone.

Source: Irrational Games

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About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on February 19, 2014, in Games and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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