Earlier this week Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine formally announced that after 17 years the company will be winding down. In an open letter on their website. Ken explains,
“I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two.
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. 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. 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.”
Take-Two Interactive, who purchased Irrational Games in 2006 and publish under the 2K Games label, will maintain the IP rights to the complete ‘Bioshock’ universe which brought us memorable characters such as, “The Prophet” Comstock, Booker, Elizabeth and the iconic Big Daddy and Little Sister. Not to mention the stunning set designs like the art deco underwater city of Rapture and the floating steampunk city of Columbia. The ‘Bioshock’ franchise is also one of the most successful horror shooters in gaming history generating over half a billion dollars in sales over the course of the series.
While it is certainly sad to see the end of Irrational Games, the dissolution may yet serve a greater purpose. Ken Levine is a writer at heart and has a very unique and creative mind which is probably better suited to developing original high quality content rather than running a business, so it will be a return to his roots of sorts coming up with new and exciting games. 2K will be keeping 15 members of the current Irrational Games team and will be offering “financial support” to the employees “affected by the move”, as well as providing the opportunity to meet with other Take-Two studios to discuss future employment. Irrational Games will also host a recruiting day where third-party studios and publishers can meet with the outgoing Irrational Games developers. In the meantime, Levine is also working on a script for the upcoming remake of the classic dystopian tale ‘Logan’s Run’.
Respect and best wishes for the whole crew at Irrational Games from ScienceFiction.com!