Ken Levine “Winding Down Irrational Games,” 2K Taking Over BioShock Universe

With BioShock Infinite’s Burial at Sea Episode 2 DLC set for launch next month, Ken Levine of Irrational Games wrote a message on the studio’s website about what’s next for the team that brought you BioShock and BioShock Infinite (to name just a few games).

You can check out the full message right here, where Ken reveals big changes are afoot at Irrational:

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.  

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. 

Giving us a brief glimpse into what they’re working on, Levine talked about how their new goal is “to make narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable. To foster the most direct relationship with our fans possible, we will focus exclusively on content delivered digitally.” We should be receiving news about this project “in time.”

Ken then started to wind down the message by talking about how Take-Two convinced him to stay, and the fact that BioShock has generated retail revenue of over $500 million:

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.

Thanks to Irrational and 2K’s passion in developing the games, and the fans who believe in it, BioShock has generated retail revenues of over a half billion dollars and secured an iconic place in gaming. 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.

What do you think of this shocking news? Let us know in the comments below.