Irrational decision a real BioShock to the system

Ken Levine, co-founder of Quincy-based Irrational Games, writes he's shutting down the game studio best known for its BioShock line and which he helped start in a Cambridge living room:

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.

More from Polygon.

H/t Peter Morency.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

    Comments

    Phenomenal

    By on

    Well played sir, well played. Best headline that could be done on this article. Thumbs up to you.

    up
    12

    In my talons, I shape clay,

    By on

    In my talons, I shape clay, crafting life forms as I please. If I wish, I can smash it all. Around me is a burgeoning empire of steel. From my throne room, lines of power careen into the skies of Earth. My whims will become lightning bolts that raze the mounds of humanity. Out of the chaos, they will run and whimper, praying for me to end their tedious anarchy. I am drunk with this vision. God: the title suits me well.

    -Wait....

    -I am laid off?

    -How is that.....

    -You monster.....

    -Um....you travel within the glory of my memories, insect. I can feel your fear as you tread the endless expanse of my mind. Make yourself comfortable and get me a job application at Valve!

    up
    16

    This is probably unfair

    By on

    I know virtually nothing about the gaming industry, but my first reaction to this article is "I got bored, so I'm laying off a couple of hundred people." I suppose the good news is that they're all probably young and have good technical skills, so hopefully they're not out of work for too long...

    up
    15

    From what I gathered. One

    From what I gathered. One cannot say it went down by poor sales. Bioshock Infinite is both one of the highest critically rated and best selling games of last year. In a different year, it would have gotten even more Game of the Year awards, but 2013 had a lot high quality games released (and Bioshock was released in March losing some of the momentum).

    The one thing I heard that makes a lot of sense was while Bioshock sold well, it was also a mess in developing it. While it paid off by its apparent quality, it was still extremely stressful dealing with a huge team while continually extending the release timeline and re-expanding the budget. This story help make Levine's explanation to make more sense. He probably missed the nimbleness and lower stress with working with only a small team of 15.

    Still, this still means Levine could have just left the company under management of someone else than firing everyone. They have shown that have the talent, he could had left and trust them to handle themselves.

    The video game industry have been around for over 20 years now. It is not as young you might think nor technical skill mean that much when there's still only so many companies looking for positions. However, what does help a lot is the fact they can list "Bioshock" on their resume. So they will probably be fine. The more unfortunate reality is many will now have to deal with moving to a new city. Boston just lost one of its most esteem development studio in the industry.

    up
    16