With the second and final episode of Burial at Sea, the DLC companion to BioShock Infinite, set for a March release, many are beginning to wonder what Ken Levine and Quincy, MA-based Irrational Games will do next.
Today, Levine took to the Irrational website to answer that very question, an answer that will certainly surprise many. Levine isn’t exactly leaving the studio, but Irrational Games as it’s known will not continue.
“I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two [Irrational’s publisher and owner],” Levine said. “That is going to mean parting ways with all but about fifteen members of the Irrational team.”
The rest of Irrational’s staff will be out of a job. Take-Two will offer them financial support and opportunities are possible at other studios owned by the company. According to Levine, there will also be “a recruiting day where we’ll be giving 3rd party studios and publishers a chance to hold interviews with departing Irrational staff.”
Though Levine said working at Irrational was the “best job I ever had,” and that he was “deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished together,” he also said that his desire is to make a game unlike any that Irrational has before.
What kind of game, exactly? According to Levine, his new venture at Take-Two will focus on “narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable.” What this means isn’t entirely clear at the moment, and Levine said that a long-design period will be needed for any new project, but it does signal that although the team is contracting, Levine’s ambition is not.
Irrational and Levine’s best known franchise, BioShock, will continue under new guidance.
“I’m handing the reins of our creation, the BioShock universe, to 2K so our new venture can focus entirely on replayable narrative,” he said. “If we’re lucky, we’ll build something half as memorable as BioShock.”
You can read Levine’s entire statement at the Irrational website.