CoolFunkMan

Bye bye Irrational Games... :'(

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Woah! Didn't see that one coming! :o

 

I would've thought that BI would've sold enough to make a tidy profit surely!? But then again, when you consider how long it was in development for... (The same fate that Team Bondi suffered from with LA Noire).

 

I can imagine Levine wanting out to work on smaller projects, it's not uncommon, but for the whole studio to be shuttered!? Crazy!

 

It sounds like they still intend to carry on with the Bioshock brand (developing it internally with one of their own 2K studios), but it still feels like Take Two will become even more reliant on GTA and Rockstar than ever before going forward...

 

The end of days is drawing near. "Traditional" Gaming is getting raptured...

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is it April 1st?! christ if the producers of Bioshock can't cope then who can?

so no more bioshock (albeit by the same devs so could be a souless clone)

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I don't know if it's just me but the whole thing makes Ken Levine come across as a bit of an idiot. Shutting a whole profitable studio down because he wants to work on something different? What about the people he isn't keeping? They're out of jobs now.

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so no more bioshock (albeit by the same devs so could be a souless clone)

 

BioShock 2 wasn't made by Irrational Games. Admittedly it wasn't as good as BioShock but it was still a pretty good game. I initially wrote it off without playing it because of it being a different dev and was pleasantly surprised by it when I did pick it up.

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It seems it's not about the money, but Levine wanting to start anew with a smaller group.

 

A Message From Ken Levine

 

When Jon Chey, Rob Fermier and I founded Irrational Games seventeen years ago, our mission was to make visually unique worlds and populate them with singular characters. We built Rapture and Columbia, the Von Braun and The Rickenbacker, the Freedom Fortress and some of the nastiest basements a SWAT team ever set foot into. We created Booker and Elizabeth, the Big Daddy and the Little Sister, MidWives and ManBot. In that time, Irrational has grown larger and more successful than we could have conceived when we began our three-person studio in a living room in Cambridge, MA. It’s been the defining project of my professional life. Now Irrational Games is about to roll out the last DLC for BioShock Infinite and people are understandably asking: What’s next?

 

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. 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 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.

 

Besides financial support, the staff will have access to the studio for a period of time to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios. Other Take-Two studios will be on hand to discuss opportunities within the company, and we’ll be hosting a recruiting day where we’ll be giving 3rd party studios and publishers a chance to hold interviews with departing Irrational staff.*

What’s next?

 

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.

 

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.

 

Thanks to Irrational and 2K’s passion in developing the games, and the fans who believe in it, BioShock has generated retail revenues of over a half billion dollars and secured an iconic place in gaming. I’m handing the reins of our creation, the BioShock universe, to 2K so our new venture can focus entirely on replayable narrative. If we’re lucky, we’ll build something half as memorable as BioShock.

 

We will do our best to update an FAQ in this space as questions come in.

 

-Ken Levine

 

http://irrationalgames.com/

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That point about Ken wanting to "focus entirely on replayable narrative" is very interesting... For me, Bioshock was very much a "one and done" game. I tried to replay it a few years back and I just couldn't bring myself to really enjoy it again. It's a strange phenomena that I've had with only a few games I've played, where I've enjoyed it the first time through and just don't enjoy at all on the second playthrough (Gears of War is another good example for me); but I find it very heartening that he seems to realise this himself too and that he wants to focus on replayablity :)

 

I don't know if it's just me but the whole thing makes Ken Levine come across as a bit of an idiot. Shutting a whole profitable studio down because he wants to work on something different? What about the people he isn't keeping? They're out of jobs now.

 

I'm pretty sure that it wasn't his decision to close down the studio. Just because Ken wanted to leave to work on smaller projects, doesn't mean that the whole studio would have to close. Obviously Take Two saw little value in keeping the studio going as it was, especially without him and his 15 closest...

Edited by Dcubed

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Seems weird if he is moving to do smaller things why can't the studio move on a do things on it's own? Is he so intrinsic to the company that without him they just can't exist? Are they perhaps not profitable enough due to long dev cycles, so 2K doesn't mind them closing down?

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Seems weird if he is moving to do smaller things why can't the studio move on a do things on it's own? Is he so intrinsic to the company that without him they just can't exist? Are they perhaps not profitable enough due to long dev cycles, so 2K doesn't mind them closing down?

 

Pretty sure you hit that nail squarely on the head there. BI took what? 6 years to make? Bioshock also had a long dev cycle IIRC...

 

Take Two also burn cash at an incredible rate. They consistently lose around $100-250 million every single year that they do not release a GTA game (except for that one year that they released Red Dead Redemption) and have recently made promises to their shareholders that they intend to profit again this year...

 

Just a timeslice of the state that the industry is in. AAA games are going the way of the comic book industry...

 

Nintendo need to snap all these people up and start a new studio! :p

 

ep2Hmnu.jpg

 

Or this'll do fine :) They need the extra artists/animators etc!

Edited by Dcubed

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Pretty sure you hit that nail squarely on the head there. BI took what? 6 years to make? Bioshock also had a long dev cycle IIRC...

 

Take Two also burn cash at an incredible rate. They consistently lose around $100-250 million every single year that they do not release a GTA game (except for that one year that they released Red Dead Redemption) and have recently made promises to their shareholders that they intend to profit again this year...

 

Just a timeslice of the state that the industry is in. AAA games are going the way of the comic book industry...

 

 

 

ep2Hmnu.jpg

 

Or this'll do fine :) They need the extra artists/animators etc!

 

Yeah your right. Bioshock 2 by comparison was only in development for 2 and half years (ish) granted reusing assets but still. It's interesting that Rod Ferguson had to go and help get Bioshock Infinite get to the finish line. I know Infinite came in for a lot of flack but for me it was incredible I loved the world of Columbia far more than Rapture and whilst it did have a misstep in the middle it was still fantastic. I wonder if Levine felt the weight of the series and wanted to walk away. Interesting to see where 2K take Bioshock I'm sure we will now see that a 2 year cycle at least....I wonder if we will just see new tellings of the same tale in a variety of worlds.

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Yeah your right. Bioshock 2 by comparison was only in development for 2 and half years (ish) granted reusing assets but still. It's interesting that Rod Ferguson had to go and help get Bioshock Infinite get to the finish line. I know Infinite came in for a lot of flack but for me it was incredible I loved the world of Columbia far more than Rapture and whilst it did have a misstep in the middle it was still fantastic. I wonder if Levine felt the weight of the series and wanted to walk away. Interesting to see where 2K take Bioshock I'm sure we will now see that a 2 year cycle at least....I wonder if we will just see new tellings of the same tale in a variety of worlds.

 

I would imagine that we'll get another game that takes place in Columbia. Their focus will no doubt be on re-using as many assets as possible to get the game out the door as quickly and cheaply as possible.

 

Afterwards... Possibly an Assassin's Creed approach. Same gameplay, different locals (maybe sticking with the idea of having two games in the same location back to back).

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I would imagine that we'll get another game that takes place in Columbia. Their focus will no doubt be on re-using as many assets as possible to get the game out the door as quickly and cheaply as possible.

 

Afterwards... Possibly an Assassin's Creed approach. Same gameplay, different locals (maybe sticking with the idea of having two games in the same location back to back).

 

Yeah as I was hitting reply I instantly thought about Assassin's Creed. I think you're completely right this will be their approach without a doubt.

 

EDIT:

 

One sentiment I don't really agree with is the backlash against Ken Levine. Alex Navarro of Giant Bomb was particularly unhappy:

 

 

But I don't agree at the end of the day. Ken Levine no longer owns the company it is owned by 2K if they had wanted to keep the company going they could have done...leaving him to go off and form his smaller team. It's up to him where he takes his career, he is at the end of the day just an employee of 2K all the same.

Edited by flameboy

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Sounds to me like the studio was dismantled before letting it reach bankruptcy.

 

Good thing. The way this industry is going, it's better to try to adapt, admit that AAA games aren't cutting it, and divide into smaller teams, making smaller games.

 

At least that's what I hoped would happen to those who aren't part of Levine's 15. I hope not many people lose their jobs over this.

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ep2Hmnu.jpg

 

Or this'll do fine :) They need the extra artists/animators etc!

Nice :)

 

These guys and girls would surely fit in extremely well at a studio like Retro!

If you look at the art and design of Bioshock alongside that of Metroid, they would be very exciting additions! and not that Nintendo will step in and insure these guys get snapped up, but it would be a natural way of making Retro into a two team studio.

 

Hope we hear some more news as to where they end up.

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Nice :)

 

These guys and girls would surely fit in extremely well at a studio like Retro!

If you look at the art and design of Bioshock alongside that of Metroid, they would be very exciting additions! and not that Nintendo will step in and insure these guys get snapped up, but it would be a natural way of making Retro into a two team studio.

 

Hope we hear some more news as to where they end up.

 

I don't think you'll see many of the staff go there though. Boston is a long way from Texas... A hell of a relocation for those with families...

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I don't think you'll see many of the staff go there though. Boston is a long way from Texas... A hell of a relocation for those with families...

 

but if you want work in the industry you love, with a developer you know can deliver i bet some would consider it

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Come on guys, the people at Irrational are used to working with conceptually interesting games. They put out the Freedom Force games, SWAT 4 and Bioshock, they're too talented to work at a studio handcuffed to a life spent churning sequels to Nintendo franchises that haven't fundamentally changed in 15 years.

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