Irrational Games shutting down, Levine moving to work with a small, 15 man team

Irrational Games logoIn a massively sad announcement, industry veteran Ken Levine announced that Irrational Studios is shutting down.  In an open letter on Irrational’s website, Levine revealed that the team at Irrational will almost all be laid off, but Levine will retain a small team, roughly 15 people, and begin work with a small team focused toward a small audience.

“I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. 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 went on to say that the Irrational employees will have access to the studio in the coming weeks in order to formalize their portfolios.  Members from other 2K studios will also be on hand to recruit employees for new jobs, and a recruiting fair will be held for outside studios and publishers.

The newest project from Levine will be a digital exclusive game, focuses on narrative for the core gamers.  He will still be working for Take Two, saying “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. 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.”

Irrational will close with one of the richest, and most beloved game catalogs in video games history.  Their first title was the beloved System Shock 2, and have gone on to make like Freedom Force, Bioshock, and Bioshock Infinite.

This reporter’s opinion:  This is truly sad news.  I love Irrational so much, and they have created some of the best games in recent memory.  It is still such a strange announcement.  Irrational has been one of the best studios of the last generation. Couldn’t this team just get a new studio head and continue working? Why layoff off these good people?  I wonder why they didn’t just put a new industry veteran in command of the studio, and craft a new Bioshock game.  Take Two own the Bioshock IP, so what team is better suited to make another Bioshock then the team who made the series?  It’s sad to see great people losing jobs either way, and I wish the best for all those effected.

by, Bobby Marquardt

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