Xbox exec praises BioShock director Ken Levine

Designer is a "great game creator," says Microsoft executive Phil Spencer.

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Ken Levine, who played a major role in the creation of the beloved BioShock video game franchise, has drawn the praise of Microsoft Studios executive Phil Spencer. After news broke this week that Levine's studio Irrational Games would be "winding down," a fan asked Spencer on Twitter if he'd like to work with Levine some day. Here's his response.

"Great game creator," Spencer said about Levine. But don't expect Spencer and Levine to work together anytime soon, as Levine is launching a new effort supported by Take-Two.

"Of course he has a job with another publisher," Spencer said.

Spencer said one of his favorite games is Freedom Force, developed by Levine and Irrational Games for release on PC/Mac in 2002.

Only 15 Irrational Games employees will remain at the company after the developer completes its restructuring process. Levine and these employees will then begin work on a "smaller, more entrepreneurial" endeavor for Take-Two. Meanwhile, 2K Games will take control of the BioShock universe going forward.

Discussion

59 comments
LordCrash88
LordCrash88

LOL @Gamespot

This is a worthy news for you? Pathetic...

Spencer would probably have said the same for 20 other game designers if asked the question "Do you like designer XYZ?"...

deadpen
deadpen

Here is the daily "Microsoft Says" story. GS you have me play where's waldo on these now don't you.

hadlee73
hadlee73

If Phil Spencer tweeted a pic of the salad he ate for lunch, Eddie would make that into a news item too.

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

lol ms have clearly said this because they are desperate for all the exclusive games they can possibly grab right now. probably hoping ken will start making exclusives for microsoft in a new studio, just pathetic really. guaranteed if xbox one had the most sales now they wouldn't have said a thing.

senorbusyman
senorbusyman

thanx ken levine for all ur hard work ur the best

Aentikraist
Aentikraist

jajajaajaja that is funny!!! sounds more like  we need ur help ken dont go anywhere but to us  we re dying here we need your games and make em xblocked 1 exclusives XD  well gotta say they took their time to  cry!!! 

Fursnake
Fursnake

Praise from Phil Spencer...now your world is complete Ken Levine! :P

blackothh
blackothh

no NO! dont you dare touch him microsoft.

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

Y'know, I don't know whether or not to be amazed at the fact that Microsoft are just now saying this, or more at Spencer saying something that's true...

Llama345
Llama345

As much as I can't stand the man, Ken Levine has the potential to put out great games. But I think his ego gets in the way. 

Zeeksie
Zeeksie

"Designer is a "great game creator," says Microsoft executive Phil Spencer." 

wat

robbiejones
robbiejones

yes phil and the sky is blue also... tosser

flyincloud1116
flyincloud1116

MS, "Ken, this is MS, you are a great developer."  

Ken, "Thanks MS." 

MS, "Ken come work for us.  You get the financial backing of MS and the creative freedom that all great developers want." Ken, "Really!  I join."

6 months later you see an interview with Ken in a MS dungeon work on a new Gears. 

adub424
adub424

Hopefully showing respect to one another leads to partnerships that are mutually beneficial. This is a lot like Japanese developers praising Sony a little sucking up goes a long way towards getting what you want.

StHapns247
StHapns247

Correct title: Egotistical Out of Touch Douchebag Praises Egotistical Megalomaniac

noandno
noandno

Bioshock Finite exclusive for Xbox One!

jmeyer2039
jmeyer2039

I don't understand business very well but not sure why Irrational had to be dissolved in order for Levine and a handful of others to do something different. Why couldn't they just splinter off, do their own thing, and find replacements to keep the company largely intact? I can't imagine Levine would have any problems finding partners no matter what he wanted to do. The rest of his company, on the other hand...

tinyname
tinyname

15 people making a game is good news.  A small focused team can ultimately release a higher quality product than a large jumbled team.  


Look at resident evil 6, it had one of the largest development teams in history and it was sporadic mess of a game that had no idea what it wanted to be and every element it had was poorly made.  


MateykoSlam
MateykoSlam

"Xbox exec praises BioShock director Ken Levine, his console still can't render 1080p" fixed title

saturn004
saturn004

Has people here played Year Walk? It's a good example that small team devs can produce a quality experience for mobiles and tablets. A spooky and intelligent adventure game. I'm sure Ken can develops a superb game with a small team.

tinyname
tinyname

Headline: Bitch ass punk begs for exclusive for his crappy console


Ken wouldn't be so dumb, spencypooh.

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

This guy is overrated. He fucks over his employees to pursue his own ambitions, and he's getting praised for it. What the hell...

blackace
blackace

@Aaronp2k You don't know that. You're just assuming the worse. Phil Spencer has been praising many things over the last few months. Nothing wrong with giving positive feedback. Some of you biased negative trolls could learn a thing or two from Phil's comments.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@StHapns247  As much as I like Ken... yeah, he is a bit egotistical. I think he's earned the right to be so though and I'm not sure that you can necessarily label somebody "Egotistical" if they've earned that ego. He's made multiple masterpieces that challenge public perception. It's hard for people to do that once, let alone several times.

adub424
adub424

@jmeyer2039 It is possible he would have to sell irrational games to a larger corporation in order to leave. Many companies have a no contest clause in their contract to make sure ideas and tech are not stolen. Selling the company might have had him giving up some of his publishing rights to products he created over the years. To fully play the devils advocate mixing things up in the gaming world gets different people working on new projects and sharing ideas in new ways. This means that they will almost certainly be working on new IPs and cool new games are usually fun when they come from seasoned developers.

19James89
19James89

@tinyname Yet many people laud GTA V as being one of the greatest games ever released and if I remember correctly they had over 1000 members of staff working around the clock to make that game.

ruffy01
ruffy01

Forza 5

Tomb Raider

Kinect sports rivals

Now please respond with a sony exclusive you are still playing on your PS4

Because I'm still playing:

Forza

Ryse - which by the way looks better that anything 1080p - go figure!

Dead rising

killer Instinct

Oh and I do insanity 3 times a week on xbox fitness

What's that you say?. ISS is coming. Yes it is and it will be a very good game. How long will it last though in this multiplayer world.

Also by that time xbox and Microsoft will have A Titanfall.

Just saying.

phoenix1289
phoenix1289

@Jawehawk-DK except he didn't "fuck them over"


All the employees not going with Ken are getting money for moving expenses and a chance to move over to other 2k studios. And if for some reason they don't want to work for 2k they have an amazing game to put on their resume and won't have much trouble getting hired by another dev. So they are perfectly fine.

19James89
19James89

@Jawehawk-DK This fact aside, you cannot argue that this man has been behind some great games like System Shock and Bioshock and worked on the original Thief game as a designer.


He's earned his reputation as far as I'm concerned.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@Jawehawk-DK  

I hate to be the devil's advocate but if Levine wants to pursue smaller projects that a 15 man team can handle, then who can justify the 200+ staff? Business wise it would make no sense and from what I've read the laid off employees are given financial aid, the best solution obviously. 

NTM23
NTM23

@ExtremePhobia When has he ever sounded egotistical? Whenever I hear him talk, it never sounds like he's being that way. Seems more like it's just a vibe you two get, when there aren't really facts to base that around, unless there is and I don't know of any.

tinyname
tinyname

@19James89 @tinyname  GTA 5 was a busted mess and the online dragged it down even more.  I told myself not to buy that game.  I didn't listen.  I regret it.

commando1992
commando1992

@19James89 @Jawehawk-DK  As great as Bioshock is and as nice as it is to see a big name like Levine who actually wants to make good games instead of AAA clones, it's hard to respect his choice when the large majority of the studio is out of a job after they've just made a highly successful game. Sure, 'I worked with Levine at Irrational' is a damn good resume, but it's still not right that success is met with a job loss simply because the head of the studio wants to do something different. He could have just easily taken himself and those 15 people and formed his own studio without dismantling Irrational. 

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

@19James89@Jawehawk-DK I don't deny that the guy has a lot of talent. At least as far as stories are concerned. But his actions here are questionable to say the least.


He might have good reasons for doing this, but when your actions results in people losing their jobs, his reasons have to extend further than just his own selfish ambitions.

NTM23
NTM23

@tinyname @19James89  I don't think the number of people making a game matters as much, it's the creative people that work on them that matters.

ruffy01
ruffy01

@noandno I know sorry lol. Just stating the facts though.

But yh I know don't really count

NTM23
NTM23

@StHapns247 You made a typo. I would say it's ironic, but it is just a typo (I think).

19James89
19James89

@commando1992 He could have done that for sure, but Irrational Games is his studio and therefore he has every right to move it in a direction that he sees fit and these employees who will be made redundant will no doubt receive a severence package, so yes it sucks that they are losing their jobs, but on the other hand they will go away having been compensated and I'm sure there are plenty of studios who will be scouting these guys in order to bring them into their studios. 

19James89
19James89

@Jawehawk-DK I can see where you're coming from as someone who is a massive fan of the Bioshock franchise, I'm upset that they've abandoned it to 2K games and I'm rather worried about the future of the franchise as a result of Irrational Games closing and as much as I feel sorry for those who have lost their jobs, creative genuises like the ones at Irrational Games will be flooded with offerrs, they're too talented not to be snapped up by another company. 

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@Jawehawk-DK @19James89  You make it sound like it's his job to give people jobs. That's not his responsibility. Care to explain why he should be making a game that involves 200 people just for the sake of keeping those people's jobs? Because that sounds like you're just one more game away from losing your job anyway.