The creator of one of the videogame industry’s biggest franchises is moving on: “BioShock” creator Ken Levine said Tuesday he is shutting down Irrational Games to create “a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor” at Take-Two Interactive to producer narrative-heavy games that will be released on digital platforms.
“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,” Levine wrote on Irrational Games’ website Tuesday. “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.”
Levine added that he now wants “to make narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable” and to “foster the most direct relationship with our fans possible, we will focus exclusively on content delivered digitally.”
He will form his new venture with 15 staffers from Irrational.
Levine founded Boston-based Irrational in 1997 with Jonathan Chey and Robert Fermie. While “BioShock” was a hit, and was almost turned into a big-budget tentpole film at Universal, the latest installment, “BioShock Infinite,” suffered delays, cost overruns and features that had to be eliminated in order for it to be released.
Take-Two will take over control of the “BioShock” franchise, for which Irrational recently produced the downloadable “BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea,” which is broken up into two episodes. In a teaser to “Burial at Sea’s” second episode release, Levine suggested that the add-on will provide closure for the “Infinite” story and the larger “BioShock” universe.