Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Irrational Games Shutting Down

Out of nowhere, Ken Levine today announced that Irrational Games, developers of "BioShock" and "BioShock" Infinite" is "winding down".  "Winding down" appears to be a euphemism for "firing everybody and closing the doors forever", with Levine and a small core of fifteen employees getting shuffled off to some unclear new project within their parent company, 2K.  Levine writes with a surprisingly optimistic tone, obviously hopeful for the future, which seems somewhat inappropriate considering this means the loss of one of the best development houses, and the unemployment of much of gaming's finest workers.

Irrational will linger forward for a few months at least to launch the final DLC for "BioShock Infinite", Burial at Sea Part 2, starring Elizabeth in Rapture.  Then apparently there will be some handshaking ceremonies, a few open meetings, and then that's it, no more Irrational.  No more of the company that made "System Shock 2", "SWAT 4", and something called "Tribes Vengeance" that I had never heard of until I did some Wikipedia research.  Its extremely sudden to say the least, since Irrational had just released one of the most successful games of 2013 in "Infinite", and was supposedly making another BioShock game for the PlayStation Vita.  (My suspicion, that game has never really begun serious development and will never be made.)  As for Levine, he appears to be falling into some kind of meditative mode, hoping to make smaller games with more narrative replayability, all of which is very vague, meaning we may not see much out of this director for some time.  The BioShock license will almost certainly be revived eventually by 2K, just probably not anytime soon.

I would not assume that Ken Levine is closing Irrational out of choice, my gut is telling me the actual truth of Irrational is not quite so rosy as we're hearing.  "BioShock Infinite" spent years in development, missing several release dates, and the final product, though very good, seemed a little too streamlined, as if it was the final conclusion of a much grander ambition.  Perhaps it did not churn out the profits that 2K needed, or even that Levine needed, and the only financial choice was to quit while they were ahead.  Either way, its very depressing to just five days ago finish one of the greatest games ever made, "BioShock", and then come home to discover its creator studio is disappearing.  I was looking forward to what Irrational was going to bring.  I wish everybody the best of luck.


  1. First Flappy Birds, now this? Watch Microsoft be next.

    1. Their stockholders have been rumbling about dropping the XBox division lately because it doesn't churn in enough profit.

  2. I think its the new Xbox price! I mean i get the whole internet and tv features are cool, but anyone that can afford an Xbox One probably already has a computer or ipad to watch netflix on. And anyways dont most gamers buy game consoles specifically to play games. I dunno, maybe i'm just too old fashion

  3. Ahhh this is a shame. I've been seeing this float around the interwebs all day, but I didn't take it seriously. This is a real bummer too, because I just finished Infinate and even though gameplay wise I feel it isn't the strongest of the Bioshocks it was still a blast to play and I loved the whole concept about it. *Sigh* Here's another reason why I might not go into the gaming industry.

  4. And also I can't let this opportunity go by.

    I guess the closing of this company is....

    ( •_•)>⌐■-■