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Irrational Games to downsize, moving to digital only; All but 15 staff will lost their jobs


Ken Levine has posted up a message on the Irrational Games website to reveal that the studio will be wound down, with only 15 members of the team keeping their job.


According to the post, Levine will stay at Take Two and take charge of the smaller team, who he'll be working with on a new 'digital only' title, the aim of which is to focus on a game a replayable narrative.

What does this mean for Bioshock? Well it seems like the reigns will be handed over to 2K Games, therefore it may not be the end of the series, however it certainly seems like the team responsible for its creation will no longer be working on it.

Here's Levine's letter to fans:

When Jon Chey, Rob Fermier and I founded Irrational Games seventeen years ago, our mission was to make visually unique worlds and populate them with singular characters.

We built Rapture and Columbia, the Von Braun and The Rickenbacker, the Freedom Fortress and some of the nastiest basements a SWAT team ever set foot into. We created Booker and Elizabeth, the Big Daddy and the Little Sister, MidWives and ManBot. In that time, Irrational has grown larger and more successful than we could have conceived when we began our three-person studio in a living room in Cambridge, MA. It’s been the defining project of my professional life.
Now Irrational Games is about to roll out the last DLC for BioShock Infinite and people are understandably asking: What’s next?

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.

Besides financial support, the staff will have access to the studio for a period of time to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios. Other Take-Two studios will be on hand to discuss opportunities within the company, and we’ll be hosting a recruiting day where we’ll be giving 3rd party studios and publishers a chance to hold interviews with departing Irrational staff.*

What’s next?

In time we will announce a new endeavor with a new goal: 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.

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.

We do our best to update an FAQ in this space as questions come in.

Edited On 18 Feb, 2014

Comments
( 4 )
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Sad to hear
~=ShaVerZ=~'s avatar
~=ShaVerZ=~ 3 years ago
They need to address the pricing of digital titles, until that is changed I can't see digital titles lifting off the ground! £69.99 for a digital release is madness! In fact I remember a title priced at £74.99, can't remember the name though.... As soon as digital titles become cheaper than the physical copy then I'm sure digital will succeed but until then... It won't!
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Digital prices are fine ....... on PC but that is because PC is a open platform and there are a lot of people trying to sell you games, the console space on the other hand is a Monopoly
~=ShaVerZ=~'s avatar
~=ShaVerZ=~ 3 years ago
Oh! I agree, PC Digital Titles are fine but the console versions are just a ripp-off... I really do hope console prices (digital) come down but I don't see it happening... Microsoft are supposedly trying lower pricing on digital copies, let's see how that goes... Sony are just robbing us! Well, trying too..

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