2K Boston's 'next big project' is a 'shooter'

Original BioShock studio hiring veteran designers to work on "unannounced" action title; is it an X-COM spin-off, a SWAT sequel, or something else entirely?

Speaking with GameSpot in March, 2K Boston cofounder, president, and creative director Ken Levine gave the following advice: "If somebody wanted to know what was going on at 2K Boston right now, there's only one way: apply for a job with us." He went on, saying that the developer formerly known as Irrational Games "still need[s] more, many more people to come and get involved in our Next Big Thing."

Can you smell what The Levine is cookin'? No?

Now, it appears that the no-longer-underwater 2K Boston is indeed bulking up its staff. The studio is hiring a principal combat designer, multiplayer level designer, and level designer for a single mystery game. All three positions mention that the shop's "next big project" is "an unannounced shooter." Reps for 2K Games had not commented on the job listings as of press time.

With 2K Marin (and several other studios) working on the recently delayed BioShock 2, the mention of 2K Boston's next project raises several possibilities. If rumors that Levine's team is working on a new entry in the X-COM series are true, then the project could be a shooter spin-off of the classic sci-fi tactics franchise, a la X-COM: Enforcer. (Hopefully such a project would receive better reviews than its predecessor.)

However, if 2K Boston, which is owned by Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive, has multiple development teams, that means it could be working on a proper X-COM sequel and a second project. Possibilities range from a SWAT 4 follow-up to a shooter based on another classic Irrational franchise, such as Freedom Force. (The System Shock IP is owned by Electronic Arts.) The studio could also be quietly laying the foundation for a return to the first-person BioShock series--or readying an entirely new IP altogether.

However, whatever 2K Boston is currently working on, it is indeed "big." Last month, Levine told industry specialty site Gamasutra that his team has "a scope and ambition in mind which is more ambitious than anything we've ever done. Even more, substantially more ambitious than BioShock."

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