Studio closings always suck, but when a great studio closes, it hurts just that bit more. So it is with the news that Irrational Games is being shut down for good.
Irrational’s seventeen year history includes not just the BioShock games but System Shock 2, the two Freedom Force games and SWAT 4. So, any way you slice it, it’s a loss of talent. Levine apparently wants to focus on smaller, downloadable, narrative-driven games, as he broke out on the studio’s website. Oddly, he’ll still be at Take-Two:
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… 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.
While it was true rumors of problems had dogged the studio for a while, largely because you don’t get clicks by insisting eagerly anticipated games have no problems, BioShock Infinite‘s success had seemingly cleared that up.
And if you were wondering what this means for BioShock, essentially, it means Levine won’t be handling it anymore. Apparently, the property will be turned over to 2K, who will continue it. As to who might be doing that, good question, but we doubt the franchise will be left to simmer for very long.
Hopefully everyone at Irrational lands on their feet; there were approximately 100 layoffs. Take-Two will apparently be offering jobs at other studios, so hopefully those affected will be able to land on their feet.