Irrational Games, the renowned studio behind the hit BioShock series, is effectively closing its doors according to a blog post released by studio head Ken Levine on the company’s website.
This is not the end for Levine, who is "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." Levine assures that the new team will not derail its focus due to this unfortunate downsizing. "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," Levine added.
In this respect, the legendary developer will not lose sight of his artistic vision, endeavoring to make "narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable." Future projects are nestled in the unknown, but in order to maintain a more direct relationship with studio fans, Levine plans to release content exclusively in its digital format. "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," he added.
As for remaining Irrational staff members, their misfortunes will thankfully be mended with some financial support, among other means of assistance. "The staff will have access to the studio for a period of time to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios," Levine said. "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."
After 17 years of rigorous development and ambitious artistry, it’s no doubt that Irrational Games produced some of the most memorably profound experiences to have ever graced gaming. The company’s successes have not gone unnoticed with over half a billion dollars generated in sales under the BioShock license alone. Levine is handing the reigns over to 2K, but what the future of the franchise holds is currently up in the air.
Do take note that the second and final episode of BioShock Infinite’s Burial at Sea add-on is still scheduled for worldwide release on March 25, 2014. Installments beyond the BioShock Infinite DLC and the formerly announced BioShock for PlayStation Vita have yet to be announced.
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