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Irrational Games Shutting Down

Ken Levine, co-founder and creative director at Irrational Games, announced today that his studio is shutting down.

In an open letter posted on the Irrational Games website today, Levine noted that he’ll be starting “a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two” and be laying off every one except for 15 people.

“I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it,” wrote Levine. “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.”

“Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one,” he adds. “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.”

Regarding the laid off employees, Levine said that he’ll be helping them find new positions elsewhere, notably at other Take-Two studios. As for the BioShock brand, it will remain with 2K Games and will probably be handed over to another developer in the future for another installment.

“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,” said Levine.

BioShock Infinite was the last title from Irrational Games and it got raving reviews. The game did extremely good, so it’s unlikely that we’re seeing the end of a franchise.

Levine revealed that his personal goal is now to create narrative games targeted at the core gamer’s circle that have high replay value.

Source: Irrational Games