Feedbackula - Irrational Closure Commotion!

With Irrational Games 'winding down', our commenters had more than a few words for its co-founder Ken Levine. So, unsurprisingly, did Johnny.

Discussion

137 comments
Mattstar_beret
Mattstar_beret

I fucking love this show and its still on the pre-show trailer at the moment... can wait to watch it :), Johnny for prez... mainly because I British and we don't have a president Whoop

devilzzz2014
devilzzz2014

Ken Levine go enjoy life and thanks Feedbackula for mentioning me again in the show ....

DEVILZZZ

mobywv
mobywv

The intro's the best part of the show ...

neowolph
neowolph

I think there needs to be a FEEDBACKULA based on comments from...  FEEDBACKULA!   Lets find out, from Johnny, what kind of sh*t people are talking about: Johnny.   =)


PS:  Johnny, I both hate you and love you (in a platonic sort of way).   Love the show, best GS has.


(Sorry bout that "hate you" thing.  I just like to fit in on the GS forums.)   =Þ

Wensea10
Wensea10

Irrational Games will be remembered for the better.

balto70
balto70

With his comment about his interest in digital downloads only, I wonder if the whole used-games issue had anything to do with it.  I can imagine the frustration of working several years on a project you're passionate about, and then seeing portions of your revenue going to a third party who had nothing to do with the making of the game.  What I wish would happen is that developers would offer exclusive DLC, price drops, and things like that to download digitally.  Still offer discs for those who want it, but do things to offer incentives so that gamers win with more content, and developers win with people purchasing in ways that they receive the revenue and not outside third parties.  Otherwise, I think quality developers will be leaving consoles and looking more at Steam and games for the PC.   

Mausolus
Mausolus

I think anyone in the industry will tell you that it's quite common for developers to be 'let go' once the big game they have been working on is launched. It's the nature of the industry (and the reason I don't want to work in it), the upside is that there are other companies always willing to hire for their new projects.

Alecmrhand
Alecmrhand

Has anyone considered 2K's role in Irrational's closing? Maybe there were factors at play other than Levine merely "deciding'" to shutter the studio. I have a feeling its much more complicated than one man kicking most of his employee's out a 7th floor window on a whim.


Also, the projects and studios that come out of these talented people needing new work could, and probably will push game development into the future. Necessity in the mother of invention.


Its not great news on the surface but great things will be born of it.


Just the "glass half full" perspective.

grin89
grin89

next week will hopefully be thief review.

SaintsRowLA
SaintsRowLA

Great show.  I loved the intro too.

electroban
electroban

Bioshock Infinite, the game was in development hell for ages, and when it came out it probably didn't recoup the money expended to develop.  2k games probably didn't want to support that kind of shortfall any longer.  They then look at how game development is going, how there's big money to be made in smaller team products, and went with that.


People lose their jobs in a market where creativity and profit margins go hand in hand.

I mean, anyone ask where the fck Guy Cocker is?  I bet gamespot put up a nice job fair for guy cocker.



WolfGrey
WolfGrey

I like how Johnny conveniently ignored that Levine is holding basically a open job fair for the employees getting laid off, has promised full support to them , and is doing what he can to make sure they all get jobs in the industry. Bigger irony is that the article for that is right here on this site. 


Oh and btw a bunch of big name devs are showing up for that job fair deal.


But then again, you can't get your hits and jollies off it without lying like a piece of dung right eh Johnny?


Go to hell.

cannedstingray
cannedstingray

I'm not sure how Levine could've sold Irrational, since  2K already owns them.  I've been trying to look up sales figures for Infinite.  VG charts has the game at like 4.7 mil overall (not counting digital), which is similar to the first and second Bioshock titles.  The difference is that this one was way more expensive to make.

Honestly it makes more sense that the decision was in the hands of the publisher, since that is who owns Irrational.  I don't doubt that Levine wants to shift his focus to smaller scale, but I also don't know that 2K would be willing to just give him free reign to do whatever he wants with the studio the size it is currently.


If you compare the Bioshock franchise to Borderlands.  Borderlands increased it's sales with #2 by a very large margin.  I think the first sold like 2-3 mil, and the second 6 mil or more, those numbers are from a year ago when I checked last.  Whereas all three Bioshock games have sold around the same, and the cost to make them has only gone up. Ken Levine is taking the heat for the decision, but I'm not convinced it was he who decided to downsize the studio.  That i'd bet is mostly on the publisher.


Building a game on that scale with a studio the size Irrational currently is, I think is more than Levine can responsibly handle, with the way he likes to make games, scrapping huge amounts of content in a studio that size just gets too expensive.


A smaller team with more freedom to experiment is the right move for him. And I think he is all too aware of that.

FBohler
FBohler

Dear Johnny, you should make a Feedbackula about Feedbackula. The show is getting more and more boring since Q4 2013.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

This is the silliest episode I've seen yet. Mainly because anybody actually believed Levine's story. Bioshock might have sold 5 million plus, but it obviously wasn't profitable, so 2K would have shut them down anyway. They may not have had the kind of selling power they needed for a AAA game, but for a small studio making experimental titles, Levine would be great to keep around. End of story. If they think of a way to make Bioshock a profitable franchise, they'll do so.

JazzFromHell
JazzFromHell

 does anyone remember the demon's crest game? it was fucking great.

Rafficus_III
Rafficus_III

Yay. I made Feedbackula without making a tool of myself. Thanks, Johnny. Always a pleasure to watch the series.

Dradeeus
Dradeeus

I was actually pleasantly surprised to see a good percentage of the gaming community empathetic towards the fired staff. Usually the experience is that people attribute celebrity status to someone with a media work they've enjoyed, and break their principals, stretching to agree with them.

Obviously you can find a middle ground between "corporate sell out with no creative freedom" and sounding like a pretentious hipster.

LowlyAristocrat
LowlyAristocrat

Just wanted to post and say that I am enjoying your show more than ever, Johnny. Please keep producing it. Really enjoy your humor and commentary. Best of luck.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Yeah, Kenny boy can do what he wants with his (well, technically Take-Two's since they bought it) studio, sure, but it's still disheartening that he chose the most selfish option available to him.  I can't imagine him simply leaving would have been that much of a problem for whatever "narrative-driven" games he wants to put out, but I find myself hoping that Take-Two folds as many of the people from Irrational as possible into other teams/projects.  They've done right by Take-Two, and it's only fair for Take-Two to do the same as one of the few legitimately successful outfits in this industry.

bendall01
bendall01

Johnny Chiodini....Quite frankly, I think you should be wearing your underwear on the ouside and have some awesome epic super hero name, you are my hero which I think I have stated on more than one occasion. I hope to see another episode of feedbackula.

groga127
groga127

I totally agree with the last comment in this video. It will be hard for me to buy anything this guy makes in the future.

translucent17
translucent17

never beat infinite thinking I might put it in and start from the beginning.... im notorious for playing games half way through

-Jonce-
-Jonce-

"Flappy Willy". Just one of the many clones Apple's pulled from the app store this week.

lostn
lostn

Ken should have taken his 15 staff and left, formed his own studio and let the remaining staff stay on as Irrational with perhaps new managers appointed. Laying people off is not nice. It would be understandable if their game(s) flopped or sucked, but Bioshock seemed like a success. That just makes it hurt all the more. It's a kick in the teeth if you worked hard to produce something good and then your reward is to get fired for it.

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

@balto70 Used games have been a reality at least since Funcoland opened in the early 90's, allowing people to buy and sell their NES games.  It's possible but utterly preposterous for anyone to enter the industry and then get butthurt that someone would buy their game secondhand.  I keep saying it, make a game worth keeping and I will, then the used market dries up sufficiently on its own; make something uninspired that I'd never want to play through a second time and you can expect to see it on the used market five minutes after I finish it.

nameaprice
nameaprice

ps Bio Shock Infinite SUCKS BALLS!
and UP YOURS "JOHNNEH" (gayest nick name ever BTW)

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

@electroban"a market where creativity and profit margins go hand in hand"

Madden, COD, WWE and countless other repetitive franchises suggest otherwise.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

@Johnnyiannis  

Barely it seems, and Johnny happily took advantage of that. He is such a tool.

Bowser05
Bowser05

@WolfGrey  It's funny, because I was thinking the exact same thing. I remembered reading about that in the GameSpot article but perhaps I was going crazy. You confirmed I am NOT going crazy. Not yet at least. I usually enjoy Feedbakula...but this one seemed like it was created on false assumptions and was essentially meaningless as a result.

TheLordsbeacon
TheLordsbeacon

@Kryptonbornson 2K games with all of their other game franchises combined came out about even. Bioshock Infinite was very profitable.  There is nothing silly about job security.  How would you feel if you lost your job, house, car, and somebody online leaves a comment in a thread like this one basically saying, "These things happen.  Sucks to be you."  One could make that argument if the venture wasn't profitable, but it obviously was in this case.

19James89
19James89

@groga127 Then you're going to miss out on some truly memorable experiences.

gf61
gf61

@lostn Like Ikagaki did with Team Ninja. At lease they would have had a chance to try to make it on their own merit. Second as soon as his next indie game go's mainstream same scenario will play out.

cornbredx
cornbredx

@lostn  He is more than adequately giving those developers places to go as they are having a huge gala or whatever with many major publishers/studios attending. Those developers will be fine.


It sucks but it is how the game industry works. It's similar to how the movie industry works as well.

Bowser05
Bowser05

@nameaprice  Actually the general consensus is that Infinite does NOT 'SUCK BALLS' as you say. You not liking it does not mean it sucks balls. I really wish people were capable of being objective AND subjective. For example. I hate GTA. HATE IT. I find no enjoyment out of the series and likely never will. Is this attributed to the game being terrible? No. The games have some very high qualities, and I don't knock people who DO like the series...it's just not my type of game and my genre. So I don't like it...but that doesn't mean the game sucks. I respect that you don't like the game, but frankly speaking the game did NOT suck...and was made really well and did exactly what it went out to do. So while Johnny left out some important details in this episode (like how Levine is assuring all the employees get jobs and giving them a good safety window and supporting them into their new jobs), I think the phrase 'UP YOURS' should be directed toward people like you...not him.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

@TheLordsbeacon @Kryptonbornson I've lost my job because of pissing off my boss. Like I said though, I doubt that's the case. Most likely a money issue. That's how real life works.  Sorry a bunch of skilled guys lost their dream job. Give me a break.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

@19James89 Because this is real life. Profit motivated corporation closing down an unprofitable studio makes a ton more sense than one man closing down a profitable studio to make small games.


Oh, forgot to mention that the rumored budget for BI was around $200 million or more.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

@19James89 Can I borrow your time machine? Because we don't know that. Another thing history has shown me that these bigwigs leaving never do anything productive when they leave. Cliffy B comes to mind. 

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

@TheLordsbeacon It likely was a money issue because they never made back their huge budget. Not only is that the more realisitic explanation, I posted a link to support my argument from a Gamasutra article, but it was deleted by a mod I guess. Apparently talking sense is trolling.

TheLordsbeacon
TheLordsbeacon

@Kryptonbornson @TheLordsbeacon I think you need to re-read what I said and re-watch the video.  It definitely wasn't a money issue.  Bioshock Infinite made them boatloads of money.  The studio is downsizing because of the whims of one man.

cannedstingray
cannedstingray

@ExplicitMike @19James89  Cliffy B got out to enjoy life for a while, and is just starting to talk about maybe doing something(Pointless podcast, Joe Rogan podcast)Levine is moving to a smaller team where he still plans to make games.