Cofounder Ken Levine revealed a shocking announcement today on the developer's website that Irrational Games, the people behind BioShock Infinite, will be shutting down. Instead the developer wants to begin a new endeavor with Take-Two Interactive as a smaller company.
"I am windling down Irrational Games as you know it" according to 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."
Levine stated that "financial support" will be provided to the staff to construct portfolios, as well as hosting a recruiting day with 3rd party studios and publishers in addition to providing opportunities within Take-Two's other studios.
"Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one. 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," Levine said. "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."
"When I first contemplated what I wanted to do, it became very clear to me that we were going to need a long period of design. Initially, I thought the only way to build this venture was with a classical startup model, a risk I was prepared to take," he added. "But when I talked to Take-Two about the idea, they convinced me that there was no better place to pursue this new chapter than within their walls. After all, they’re the ones who believed in and supported BioShock in the first place."
"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.
The last BioShock related project will be BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 2, which will launch on March 25. Hopefully Irrational Games will leave us with a bang.