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What the Closure of BioShock Developer Irrational Games Means

No gods or kings.

It's the twist that none of us saw coming. After basking in critical and commercial success for nearly two decades, Irrational Games days are now winding down. Ken Levine, one of the three men who founded the studio, announced that he would be forming a new team with a select number of people from Irrational, and the rights of the BioShock franchise would go to Take-Two Interactive. Not only have many talented creators lost their jobs, but the closure impacts the industry at large, in both good and bad ways.

Bad News: One Less Artistically Minded Developer

Columbia would have been a lousy vacation destination.

Irrational Games was one of the few large development studios whose emphasis was on creating challenging artistic experiences. The conversations about BioShock Infinite were markedly different from how most games are analyzed. We wrestled with the dialogue of Elizabeth, the actions of Booker, and the depiction of this dystopian society as we strove to articulate why we had such a strong emotional reaction to this provocative adventure. That my feelings were more negative than others doesn't change how I felt about Irrational Games. Levine's team incited such passion because it wasn't scared of tackling difficult topics, and such a design philosophy stands out amid a sea of homogenization.

With Irrational Games no longer around, the big-budget space has become a lot less interesting than it was yesterday. There are still studios such as Naughty Dog that make us confront our own beliefs in ways that are often uncomfortable, but such endeavors are few and far between. Thankfully, for those who want emotionally difficult experiences, there are still plenty of independent games that fit that model. But one less AAA team working on subversive games lessens the visibility of this industry's cultural importance to the world at large.

Good News: Vision Without Restraint

You wouldn't want to win a prize at Rapture's carnival.

Ken Levine is an auteur whose expertise is examining the fall of dystopian societies. I cherished having someone with such lofty artistic ambitions in the AAA scene, and can only wonder how demanding expectations could curb one's creative output. It's no secret that the most high-profile games often come with inflated budgets, and those who are opening their pocketbooks certainly want ample return on their investments. Even someone who wants nothing more than to push us to think differently about the world we inhabit still has to find a way to make the average person interested in such a game. And that's why I believe Levine's departure could be good for his upcoming projects.

I have no idea how closely the finished versions of BioShock and Infinite mirror Levine's original vision, and trying to guess their potential metamorphosis is futile. But I do believe Levine will have less pressure to appeal to as many people as possible with whatever he's working on next. And if Levine is freer to realize his dreams, that could only be a good thing for those who want to see what ideas he has stirring in his head.

Bad News: Another Strike Against AAA

AAA games were very different when System Shock 2 came out.

In Ken Levine's official statement, he made no references to financial difficulties facing Irrational Games. And if we look at the sales numbers for Infinite, it would be hard to imagine that he was forced to abandon the studio he founded because it was no longer solvent. By all accounts, Irrational Games was successful, which is one of the reasons the news that hit today was so stunning. After all, no one could have predicted its closure even one week ago. Why would a development studio suddenly close its doors after receiving so much praise and commercial success over the last year?

This is where the bad news comes in. I believe that the AAA space is so stifling, so demanding, and so merciless that even the biggest studios have to reevaluate their immediate plans. Considering how expensive games are to make, and how long development cycles are, one flop could mean the end of a once-proud studio. That's a terrifying business model, and one that I do not think is sustainable for the long-term health of the industry. And that's why you'll see many more studios follow Irrational Games' path as the financial pressures become too great. For those who love big-budget games, this is very sad news indeed, as our options will dwindle with each passing year.

Good News: Publishers Adopt a New Philosophy

Child of Light could set the template that other publishers rush to emulate.

But there are plenty of games that exist outside of the AAA space, and they are only going to grow stronger and more influential. What's so important about Levine's decision is where his future employment lies. Even though Irrational Games is being dissolved, Levine's new studio will still be owned by Take-Two Interactive. The biggest publishers aren't going to fade into irrelevance even if the biggest games lose their stronghold on the industry, and we're seeing that transition in this situation. Take-Two is still funding Levine's projects, which means both the artistic and business sides are being helped by this relationship.

Having smaller, cheaper games pad out a publisher's catalog is a wise business venture. We're seeing Ubisoft do this with Child of Light and Sony with modest projects such as Rain. Diversifying your interests is the key toward long-term success, and the redistribution of money could be great for every person who loves this industry. As players, we'll get a wider variety of games, creators will have more flexibility, and publishers will lessen their risks. I expect more developers to take this route, and more publishers to sign contracts with them that are beneficial to everyone rather than let them be completely independent.

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    Oh for god's sake. "AAA games are too big, it stifles my creativity", whine and bitch. Just make the game. Bioshock did not start out as a AAA game. Nor did it have to evolve that way. But it did, and the first Bioshock rocked hard. He OWNED the rights to Bioshock and his direction is where it would go. So what pressure was he under to deliver something he didn't want?

    This is like Hollywoods love affair with the Sundance, indie crowd back in the early 2000's. And now you see those same indie movie makers are making big budget films, but doing it there way.

    You CAN have your cake and eat it too. I didn't buy Mass Effect because it was going to be a AAA game, I bought it cause Bioware made it. I bought Bioshock cause Levine was making it.


    As long as these smaller games can accommodate deep world-building and stories, I don't mind episodic games ... We've already seen from indies that they can accommodate FPS if they want to, so I'm not too worried about losing gameplay or combat. Then again, maybe those engines and physics won't be that advanced, as well as other things we love about AAA. :( I hope those stick around somehow... and hopefully remain available to everyone.


    I think the industry should be divided into "video games" and "interactive movies" for the following reasons:

    (1) To separate out those most interested in the novelty game mechanics or "gaming" part of this industry, from those who are more interested on the overall story-telling aspect wherein game mechanics are just devices meant to fill the time and move things along;


    (2) To begin to appeal to older and more mature prospective audiences who have as yet not even picked up a controller to even try to learn what this whole thing is all about.

    So it should be divided into the video "game" industry and the video "interactive movie" industry.

    For example, Doom 3, Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted, Call of Duty, and Last of Us would be labelled as "interactive movies."

    Minecraft, and most "Indies"would fall under the rubric of "video games."


    << LINK REMOVED >> I understand where you're coming from, but I think that will just separate the entire market, so that the "Video Game Industry" will get a less following and less support VS franchises like CoD in the "Interactive Movie Industry" and everything will just be crazy and unbalanced.

    Also, I don't think CoD can be considered an "Interactive Movie" because most players buy it for the online, and not the story.



    I understand the possible threat that separating video games from Interactive movies might weaken the overall market, but it might also expand it when older people who are threatened by the word "game" become intrigued by the term "movie." They know what movies are. Motion pictures are things you sit back and watch. "Interactive" movie might be a term that might pique their interest. However, just like learning to drive or to use a computer, you have to LEARN how to interact with video "games." You have to learn how to "play" in them just as you'd have to learn how to play in a broadway play. You have to learn how to use a controller (or mouse and keyboard) to control your character.You have to learn how to use a guide or walkthrough to know what you have to do next, just as one has to read as script in a play. So there is a learning curve.

    As for CoD, I've played every story from the start and have never played online, and have no desire to do so. I play only single player "campaigns." I suspect most older players like myself would have little interest in online competition. That is mostly a young people's thing. Because people under age 35 and people over age 35 are different, if the industry wants to grow it has to start marketing to older people.The kids naturally grow up into video games, but the older people have to be attracted just as many were to use computers back in the 1990s. But if I can do it at age 67 and have fun with it, so can others. It's up to the industry to decide if it wants to be a kids-only medium or expand into newer but harder markets.


    There are only two very simple options why Irrational "closed":

    1) Ken Levine continues to be an egomaniac and just fired a lot of his underlings because he wanted to make something new and "smaller" but doesn't want to left the company for it. Yeah, it's great to have a secure working place and who really cares about the people actually making the game? Many other creative leads would have just left the company to build a new indie studio....

    2) 2K were unsatisfied with the financial results of Bioshock Infinte and thought it would be a better business decision to close the studio or at least reduce the staff massively. They stick to Levine since they still think that he has some creative power left but they'll give him only a much smaller team and budget. In that case Levine's press release is just a sorry excuse and a poor proof of his egomaniac character.

    Either way, this has actually NO impact on the whole industry whatsover. It's just a small episode in the sensationalist life of Ken Levine ans "his" studio. For whatever reason he is seen as some kind of "game design messiah" by big parts of gaming press (Gamespot apparently among them) and therefore he must be on the media on a constant basis (someone says Cliffy B here?). But actually he isn't. He's just a designer among many as Irrational is only a dev studio among many. They will still continue to rise and fall, appear and disappear and the world continues to turn...


    It means many employees in other studios will now work in fear that they'll lose their job at any time due to their head feeling the need to be more creative.


    It means I won't have to listen to people build up the Bioshock series like it's some holy mecca, then bitch about how much it sucks when it comes out.

    It means one less "lead me by the hand" linear game we'll have to ignore.


    It means that they have to start making games that are fun not spend billions on art.


    Dark Souls says sorry.


    "And if we look at the << LINK REMOVED >>, it would be hard to imagine that he was forced to abandon the studio he founded because it was no longer solvent. By all accounts, Irrational Games was successful, which is one of the reasons the news that hit today was so stunning."

    It's not that stunning. Yeah, BioShock Infinite probably sold 4-5 million copies, which would be fine if the game took around 2 years to develop, but no, it took about 5. It probably had to sell a lot more copies to break even. Irrational churned through a lot of employees, probably went way over their expected production budget, and delayed the game numerous times because they were way behind schedule, probably because Ken Levine kept cutting content he didn't like, or changing his mind about features. I think Irrational's closing might serve as a reminder to AAA devs: use your time and money wisely. Don't rush your game out, but don't lollygag and spend half a decade working on a game that has no multiplayer and can be beaten in like 10-15 hours. Even if you're some big-shot lead dev, your studio can get shut down.


    << LINK REMOVED >> You finished it in 10-15 hours. Oh, god that's impossible unless in the "Beginner" mode. So, back off!


    Hello Gamespot commenters, I created a Facebook group where you can post all your negativity, without being censored. You will never be banned. As long as it has to do with gaming. I will say this though, if you can't deal with negativity all the time, maybe don't join. Or post casually. Positive posts and/or comments are fine and welcome, but this isn't the main reason for the group.

    If you wanna talk about how much so or so company is full of shit, how this or that person needs a dental rearrangement, or how greedy EA/Activision are, that group is going to be the place.

    Here's the link --> << LINK REMOVED >>

    Help me start this movement. If this gets enough traction, we could become an unstoppable force in showing this industry we have a voice, and we will use it.

    I am posting this here on Gamespot first because you guys are my favorite commenters on the Internet.

    << LINK REMOVED >> whoa, i must say his story telling is some of the best in the gaming industry.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Not to be a smarty pants, but that really isn't saying a whole lot. Truly well-told and interesting stories are hard to come by in videogamedom and sometimes I feel we lunge at obvious efforts in order to legitimize this young art form.

    Say what you will, but I have yet to see an equal to East of Eden or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while holding a controller, staring at a screen.



    Where would I find "East of Eden" or "Fear of Loathing" so that I can try them out?


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah... didn't do a great job of proving your point there. I find games such as Infinite and the Last of Us, and many others, to be just as deeply moving as a great film can be, and often they do so over a longer period of time.


    I think publishers should focus more on mid/low-budget games rather than only pursuing the next blockbuster title.

    I bought a relatively unknown tactical rpg Aarklash legacy on steam on sale, its full price was $20, for around 12 hours of gameplay. Had more fun with it than many AAA games I payed $60 for.

    With a lower budget there is less pressure to sell millions of copies so devs can take more risks and innovate.

    As we have seen, the AAA market is oversaturated and returns are diminishing. The only ones who do well are tried and true franchises and even some of those have flopped bad recently.

    And in an attempt to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, AAA games all play the same now and too hand-holdy, find them pretty boring tbh.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    Wouldn't play one of those little indie look-down games if the company paid ME to play them.

    It's time to call AAA franchises "Interactive Movies" and leave the "game" label out. Perhaps in doing so the industry might attract people in their 40s, '50s and '60s to try their hand at "interactive movies" but are not interested in playing games. Frustrating game mechanics should not get in the way of a good yarn.


    The AAA structure is becoming unstable, the cost of producing such a title is beginning to become too big of a risk. And when indie studios are churning out content as good or better in some cases it becomes a real fustercluck. Studios need to begin to downsize, it sucks for employment but reality is employment is being obsoleted by automation and technology, a job crisis is coming on a massive scale anyway, the expense of some of the CEOs and 'upper' management is blowing the cost out of proportion. Teams need to re-organize and shrink down to a level where it doesn't make sense for anyone to make much more than anyone else. Games like Natural Selection, Rust, DayZ, Rogue Legacy, Minecraft and more are all examples of great quality being pushed out of small teams especially when compared to things like CoD or something. Thankfully at least Valve is looking to decrease one of the major costs of being a game developer with it's Steam OS, that will help lighten the expense load but still it isn't going to be easy even with Steam OS and it will be even worse if we don't go with Steamos (which is very likely we won't).


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    You couldn't pay me to waste time with Minecraft and the rest, as I am 67 years old and have no interested in children's games anymore. Sell to them to kids. Some of us are adults.



    IF AAA productions were labelled as "Interactive Movies" they might begin to appeal to older, more mature audiences not interested in "games." They should be seen as movies that people can directly participate in rather than as "games."


    So who gets Freedom Force? AfterBioshock Infinite, Freedom Force became the only Irrational series I'm still interested in. Will that continue to gather dust with Take-Two interactive too?


    << LINK REMOVED >> It would make for a great Super-hero MMO since City of Heroes is gone and Champions/DCUO are irrelevant.


    Well ... too much money on the graphics and art and maybe on the voice acting cost too much. On top of that I didn't find it that "wow" like so many people.

    I feel like this situation happen because of PC games always asking for better graphics and shit like that ... which cost a shit load of money for not that much in the end.

    I wouldn't care if everything just back off a little and make games with interesting stuff again instead of shallow story with shiny graphics on another shooter games.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Dude, you have no idea about PC gaming if you think we all ask for better graphics, so you better not comment on things you don't know. And on the other hand, these SO called AAA games don't use up their funds on making games, they waste a insane amount on marketting and not developing the actual product.

    And I bet you didn't even read what the hell was written if you wrote what you wrote.

    All that said and done, I like your profile picture because Final Fantasy IX is the best Final Fantasy game made, then 4, then 12(only for gameplay), and 3 was kinda nice. And rest I disliked and haven't played 6 and won't play 6 unless they make a remake like thay did for 4 and 3.


    << LINK REMOVED >> I read the reason why Levine is closing down Irrational games, it from his letter on their website << LINK REMOVED >>

    "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."

    He had a intrest in a different type of game than what Irrational games was making, and he decided to persue it.


    I am looking forward to SWAT 5.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Heheh.


    Seriously looking forward to the 'vision without restraint' part of the equation.


    It's pretty cool that 2K have enough faith in Levine to basically let him do what he wants, it's just a damn shame it came at the cost of Irrational. I wonder why this couldn't have simply been a side-project.


    Love the screenshot from System Shock 2. At the time it was an awesome looking game, but the screenshot really shows how far visuals have come :)


    << LINK REMOVED >> Still one of my all time favorites. That game is simply amazing. Going to go play it again now... SHODAN is calling...


    But I like triple A games.. especially the ones which titles like Bioshock represented. Honestly if I want any triple A to fail, its the Call of Duty stuff. There is practically no innovation in that franchise and has not been any for years now. its been trotted out to us so many times, its like playing Guitar Hero 7, as in, I don't want to play guitar hero 7 - because its just Guitar Hero .. . again.

    As for more indies, while this will generate more overall creativity, I will miss the big budgets more than I miss the occasional indie gem that manages to shine through all the trash. I do not look forward to spending countless hours to sift through massive piles of terrible indie titles just to spend a few hours with the ones that are good. Not at all.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    Being slightly harsh on CoD. I though Ghosts was a good game. How many different scenarios can you envision for a military shooter? I thought they did well.


    It's a strange thing. I love Indie Games, I love AAA games - but it would be a shame if the Indie scene was the ONLY place where you could find experimental, interesting, challenging gaming experiences.


    << LINK REMOVED >> What kind of sucks about a lot of even the best indies is that they are one trick ponies due to the small budgets. They can pull off one really interesting mechanic, or a neat art style, or a cool story, but they usually can't manage a bunch of them together.

    In addition, there are some things that just can't be done with indie-like budgets. I love seeing advances in things like graphics, complex AI, physics, stuff that generally requires someone to do research and then charge a lot for the results, like expensive game engines. We used to get such advances, but then it seems like they died out, even in the AAA space. I feel like AI is especially a victim, it seems like AI in games just stopped several years ago and even went backwards in many cases.

    I think mobile is really going to hurt AAA "serious" gaming. Mobile offers so many business advantages, lower risks per title, massive margins, a massive and growing market, easier to get and larger microtransaction sales for ongoing revenue, and on and on. I think it is the single largest threat to AAA but isn't being discussed much. I believe it's going to suck resources away from "serious" gaming, and probably has already.

    I think what I really miss are the mid level budget games, there were so many titles for PC in that space in the late 90s and early 2000s. Indies are great and I've really enjoyed some, but as I said there's just so much they cannot do. Who knows, maybe AAA diminishing could open up the way for those middle ground games to make a return. This could come from either traditional studios and publishers, or also via larger funding opportunities (crowdfunding, early access, venture capitalists, support from publishers with less interference) for indies. We could see the rise of a new class of "rich" indies, actually we've already seen a few like that.

    I hadn't considered that until just now, maybe AAA going away will be great, for me anyway :).


    Well lets just hope the industry doesn't take this idea to heart. The last thing most gamers these days want to see is an industry that shifts to predominantly Indie style titles. The AAA space needs some rethinking; better budgeting, less pressure on timetables and creative freedom allowed to studios that avoids the publisher suits meddling to try and appeal to CoD or Angry Birds players. But the last thing the industry needs if it wants to remain viable and relevant would be for more AAA developers to think the Indie model is the way to go.


    << LINK REMOVED >> They are different niches, there will always be place for CoD/BF/TitanFall/whatever the trending game is and the AAA, but a significant indie scene will hopefully lead to "auteur" games being more appreciated


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>I don't have a problem with Indie games. I do have a problem with developers drawing the conclusion that the general gaming audience prefers these types of games or that the AAA space is just too overbearing or unforgiving to continue to bother with it. I would hate to think that only the big couple of publishers are the ones that keep pumping out AAA games. That's just leading us down a path where every game is either Flappy Bird or CoD/Fifa/Madden/Assassins Creed/etc.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> yeah. Neither did Payday 2, Black Mesa: Source and apparently the upcoming 3d reboot of Road Rash met its kickstarter goal.

    << LINK REMOVED >>.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>I agree with this Dark souls is a popular gaming series and it did not cost a quarter billion to make.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Must be absolutely insane. If they'd stop wasting money marketing to people that us as gamers know don't care and won't care about the game they're selling they could probably save a bundle. Every time I watch some developer diary and they're talking about what they're doing to make the game more appealing to CoD players or casual gamers I just cry on the inside and lower my expectations for their game.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I simply don't get how bloated a budget they must have to consider revenues of about 160M$ (assuming the revenue for the publisher is roughly 1/2 of the asking price) not profitable.


    << LINK REMOVED >> The AAA business model definitely needs some rethinking and retooling. I'm certain we could get a lot of the games we get with smaller budgets, better managed teams, more reasonable delivery schedules, and a better cost structure that is smart enough to understand that not every game can sell at $60 and that 4 million units sold is a reasonable expectation not a failure. But that means that we need people working for these publishers that understand the industry they work in and the consumers they're trying to market.


    @endorbr @Karlinel I guess most publisher understand that the AAA is a gamble, you risk bankruptcy if luck isn´t with you for the potential MASSIVE profit.

    It's a bit like pro sports, if you are good but don't want it to rule your life or to bear the pressure, can always stay amateur/indie, and just get by.


    rip Irrational Games we will miss u & ur great work from genius ken levine


    I'm calling it now, Take Two is going to create a rather forced and direct sequel to Bioshock Infinite.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Its possible. Thats how I felt about Bioshock 2.


    I think sales definitely had an impact even if they won't admit to it. 4-5 million used to be a great number, but we've seen similar games, with similar sales figures, being regarded as having underachieved.

    It's especially tough when you're owned by the same publisher that released GTA5, which had a similar development length but sold 30+ million copies.


    << LINK REMOVED >> That's a big part of the problem these days; corporate suits that don't understand the business they manage thinking there is no reason why every game shouldn't sell CoD or GTA numbers. It's completely unrealistic thinking. So is the notion that every game should retail for $60.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I think the suits are not as clueless as we like to think, but rather they just don't care :). They do understand that not every game can do CoD or GTA numbers, they're just growing less and less interested in publishing the ones that don't.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Well said.


    In other words make your game cheap and dumb and you will be successful.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Well it is what most people are: Cheap and dumb.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I think the problem is the opposite, most gamers (not "core" gamers) tend to think of games as one of the lowest, less intellectually demanding hobbies, because of its trajectory. So most of them just look for a decent-looking time wasting.

    And the BioShock saga, no matter how artistically valuable or narratively good you might consider it, as a "time killer" royally sucks.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>That is true. Fingers crossed for that at least.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> If it cheers you up, considering how simple to work are the new consoles, probably won't take them (Levine & Co) much to make something decently looking.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Totally agree. This is nothing but a business decision on Levine's part to give himself the kind of creative freedom he wants without the time constraints and cost analysis riding from corporate suits. Take Two isn't taking as much risk because they aren't doling out as much budget and Levine gets to take the time he wants to work on smaller less constrained projects. I'm just sad that it means we won't likely get anything near to what we did with previous Irrational games. And the Bioshock franchise will probably pass into the hands of someone that will crank out a sequel every 2 years without the same kind of attention to the world and characters.


    @endorbr @Karlinel @dmdavenport But they won't cost Take-Two 5 years of budget for decent-ish sales, either.

    It's just a business decision, Levine doesn't suit an AAA development.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Oh for sure Bioshock isn't going to appeal as much to someone interested in a time waster game like CoD/Fifa, etc. But that's by design. Pretty sure whatever smaller endeavors Levine and his new team work on won't be very good time wasters either.


    I seriously don't like Indie titles. I have played a few and the ones I have played have never done anything for me give or take a few, Meat Boy, Super Hexagon.

    I struggle to see what people see in them, other than passing fancies that don't cost that much.


    << LINK REMOVED >> It is a very rare instance that an Indie title does anything for me as well.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Indie games is a ridiculously broad term. Levine won't even be making "indie" games really since he's still working for a publisher, just smaller projects with a smaller team.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Keep in mind this editorial/blog is from a Die Hard Nintendo fan. If you can dig up an episode of 'Quoted for Truth' he went on a pretty long diatribe against HD graphics and new game development based on his idea that they are "unnecessary".


    << LINK REMOVED >> I must say I couldn't care less about graphics at all either. Not a fan of the Nintendo alternative with the tiny bodies and massive heads but even so I can still happily sit and play a PS1 game when I have a hankering.

    A PS1 game with modern gameplay like 360 movement and good AI, animations, dialogue and I'd be perfectly fine with it.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Especially in terms of RPGs. Playstation keeps putting their backlog of PS1/PS2 RPGs on sale on PSN and I'm eating them up.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Funny I managed to complete Resident Evil on a 42 inch HD TV from less than three feet away not too long ago.

    That sucks for you since some of the best games ever created were on PS1.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Apparently you haven't played a PS1 lately. I tried Twisted Metal the other day, and I could barely distinguish the vehicles because of the low resolution.


    Why didn't you title this article:

    "I hate AAA games, and this gives me an excuse to bash them"?

    If you at least made the subject Call of Duty, then it wouldn't be subversive of the topic, and somewhat disrespectful to the legacy of a great developer.


    I love the Bioshock series. I think the only thing difference with Infinite to 1 & 2 was the player getting immersed so easily. It speaks volumes that the DLC was set in Rapture. They took a gamble setting Infinite in a whole new setting and it needs to be applauded because its by no means a bad game, Some people just dont like change.


    << LINK REMOVED >> yea. i agree that the shooting elements comparing to bio 1 and 2 didn't improve at all, but sky-line was a great addition for example. I think infinite is my favorite one, bio 1 didn't got me hooked for hours, at the first i gave up, only after i loved it.


    Pretty insightful article, I think.


    -"Levine's new studio will still be owned by Take-Two Interactive."

    - "Take-Two is still funding Levine's projects..."

    Someone riddle me, how that is supposed to give Ken Levine and whatever rest of a team he still has more freedom to pursue their own creative ideas.

    He's still gonna be in Take-Two's pocket, only now he doesn't own his own studio anymore but is just another Take-Two employee.

    They've been sacked and lost their biggest IP, and that's the core of the story, no matter how much sugar coating the article tries to pour on it....at least tell it as it is.


    << LINK REMOVED >> As I read it, KL isn't as profitable as desired, considering the very long development cycle of his games, for AAA business.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Less money means more creative freedom. If the publisher isn't dumping as much money into their projects then they aren't as concerned about receiving big paybacks thus allowing them to operate in a more "creative" space. But it also severely limits the kinds of things they'll be able to work on too.


    << LINK REMOVED >> It implies guaranteed funding - getting enough funding is easily the biggest challenge for new ventures. Also, being owned by another company or large private shareholder is not inherently bad. Much depends on the amount of freedom you are given to run your studio. Considering that the relation between Ken Levine / Irrational Games and Take-Two seems to be pretty good, I expect this type of relation will endure.


    << LINK REMOVED >> I have the same question. It seems like nothing really changed and it became worse than it was.


    I think Levine saw the writing on the wall, that AAA development with AAA costs are now unsustainable, and he got out before the crash.


    "I know you guys made a best-selling game and all, but I gotta let you all go. You're in the way of my artistic visions"


    He could have just left and started a new company with his 15 or whatever buddies/inner circle. There's really no need to fire everyone else you've worked with and has helped make you a success. There are Infinitely better ways to handle the decision to start a new smaller/leaner company.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Well I'm thinking that would have been a decision more on Take-Two rather than Ken Levine. If he said he's wanting to scale back and work with a smaller team they could have stepped in and said they'd be willing to keep the rest of them operating.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    He was actually going to leave Take Two and start fresh, so those jobs would have been lost regardless. But T2 offered him the freedom to do what he wanted without having to go indy. The Irrational employees are being offered other positions at Take Two, allowed to have access to the property to prepare their resumes, and are even offering a job fair for competitors to hire those affected. Sounds to me like they are doing what they can to take care of those losing their jobs at Irrational.


    << LINK REMOVED >> He obviously wouldn't have let all those people go if he was able to hire them. He wouldn't just fire 15 people for shits and giggles, he has forced to let these people go, probably due to money or just not having work for them to do.


    @Sefrix Those people have to have something to work on, or you're wasting money. You don't just employ hundreds of people with no project.

    Also, what's stopping everyone that got laid off from making their own new company?


    So many hate comments about infinite ....... It's Great game with amazing art and graphics, combat was not hard as Previous games had but it's not Generic trash shooter like some yearly releases


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> ok, explain how in the world infinite's combat is as generic as a cod?

    it's a bit blander than previous bioshocks, but it's still very very good.




    I like to tell everyone that they try there best to bring great games to there fans so really I thank them for that but sad time there gone but I buy there last game since I want Game of the year since they gone or could 2k games bring collection out who knows.


    Life under capitalism:

    Work on successful game that makes tons of money.

    Get fired.



    More like give it to other people who produce less or nothing, bringing the whole society down to poverty level.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>And then?


    << LINK REMOVED >> This is not uncoming in games. During development teams swell up to over 200, after the games released abot 150 of those people get their walking papers. You just don't need very large teams for the entire development process.


    And, so, the dumbing down of gamers begins.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    Based on many comments here and other game sites, I don't think the majority of gamers could get any dumber.


    << LINK REMOVED >> That started ages ago dude, you're late!


    Greedy bastard....That was a great team you had. Karma will probably get you. Eyeballing the "next big thing" doesn't work. You have to be the first one there (which you're not).


    Levine just wants the easy way: casual games a-la Flappy Bird (which was making $50K per day). That's all.


    It means that they're finally gonna stop milking BioShock like some worn out dying cow. Should have just ended with the first game, that's the only good one.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Milking like a worn out dying cow... How so? 3 games in 6 years is milking now? And Bioshock 2 wasn't developed by Irrational so technically its only 2 games in 6 years.


    << LINK REMOVED >> argh, i hate nostalgics sometimes.

    "system shock was the only good one"

    "bio 1 was the only good one"

    it might be your favorite but they are all great games, bioshock 2 didn't change much from the first, but you were a big daddy, that was pretty fucking awesome, and infinite introduced one of the best stories in the game, sky-line combats and a whole new city. 3 games in the whole franchise, that's milking something?


    << LINK REMOVED >> take two has the rights to bioshock, they are just going to have another developer make it.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Maybe you meant milking System Shock, which wasn't one of their games anyway


    << LINK REMOVED >> System Shock 2 was though.


    I hope that in time we can look back and see that this was a worth while decision on their part. But laying off creative talent in my opinion is an incredibly stupid move on their part.


    I liked Bioshock Infinite. To me it wasn't the creative artistic expression these guys are trying to make it out to be.

    I was sorely disappointed in their choosing to jump on the "religious wackos theme" so prevalent in today's culture. Every time you turn on the TV, play a game or go to a movie, you see twisted versions of Christianity, where the "religious" are portrayed as nut jobs. You never see reality, where the majority of those people that profess faith are good decent people that happen to believe in God and try to follow the golden rule.

    It seems that anytime you see a person in the media professing faith, they are psychotic. That's just not reality, and it's been done to death.


    << LINK REMOVED >> oh you mean reality like all those gun battles or high speed chases you area always seeing?


    << LINK REMOVED >> tell this to snake cult guys !!!!



    Exactly my point. The media salivates over that kind of stuff. A good friend of mine leads a ministry that goes all over the world digging wells for villages that have no access to clean water. How much media coverage does this get? Zero... Yet a group that takes one verse from the Bible completely out of context and gets himself killed, has a reality show on TV and gets national coverage when he does something stupid.


    I'll tell you how it ends. Not to be a hater or anything. But Bioshock is my most beloved franchise of them all. Infinite was the cherry on the cake. Hearing now that Irrational that was is no more, broke my heart. There will be other Bioshock games maybe. But to be honest, knowing that they will probably be a shade of what was, I don't even want them. Here's hoping that Ken will build something as amazing as Bioshock was.


    Ken Levine: "I am dissolving the studio so I can start fresh with a new, smaller one, working under the same publisher. This is practically me laying off people so I can have a bigger cut."


    << LINK REMOVED >> That's....not how it works.


    << LINK REMOVED >> yeah, wanting to work on projects that get back to your artistic vision is a horrible thing.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Building a solid team (which started as a small team) and creating Bioshock was the "artistic vision" and it worked and paid off.
    Now all of a sudden that isn't the vision any more.
    So if the next small team is successful do you once again grow and then jump ship again?
    The cynic in me thinks this just reeks of money.


    << LINK REMOVED >> If that's the case, I think I just lost all respect for Mr. Levine... so sad.


    Sooo they closed and threw a load of jobs away, even though there were no problems... 0 respect for that decision.


    I don't understand this. Hopefully he won't end up washing salads at McDonalds because he followed his dreams. Of which one would have expected they were quite fulfilled already given his success.


    << LINK REMOVED >> its not terribly different than what Bungie did, Levine doesn't want to make Bioshock games forever and that is what take two wanted irrational games to do. This way he gets a fresh start but still under a situation where he gets paid.

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