Ken Levine, director of both Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite, and head of Irrational Games, recently announced that he will be closing down Irrational Games and starting a new, smaller team with about 15 employees. Unfortunately, this means that over 100 Irrational employees are now out of a job. According to 2K Games, though, the Bioshock franchise will at least live on. But is this good news?
Many peoples' knee-jerk reaction to this news would probably be somewhere along the lines of "well, so much for any more Bioshock games." It's easy to assume that because Ken Levine was the creative force behind the games, that we'll never see another good one. It also doesn't help that the last time a non-Levine Bioshock game was made, we got Bioshock 2, which is generally considered not that great (or, at least, not as good as the other titles).
It's important to remember, though, that Irrational Games was made up of more than 100 individuals, and while I'm sure Levine had a huge impact and influence on the Bioshock games, any video game is a huge team effort. It's a little silly to assume that just because a small portion of the team is leaving that they won't be able to put forth any more good games.
Still, it's looking like these 100 employees being left over after Levine's departure pretty much have their pick of companies for future employment. Irrational will be holding a recruitement day on February 26th to help its employees find new jobs, and already confirmed to be attending that fair are ArenaNet LLC, Demiurge, High Voltage Software, GSN Game,s Crytek USA and Crytek (global), BioWare/EA, Retro Studios, Certain Affinity, Insomniac Games, Sledgehammer (Activision), Treyarch (Activision), Vicarous Visions, Neversoft Entertainment, Turtle Rock, Fireforge Games, Gearbox, Xamarin Inc, Red 5 Studios, Windward Mark Interactive, Avalanche Studios, Hasbro, Sucker Punch Production,s Turbine, Bethesda Softworks / id Software / zeniMax.
That is... a long list of game companies. Needless to say, previous Irrational employees will have plenty of employment options. It's fair to say that the odds of most of the team that worked on Bioshock Infinite staying with 2K are slim, unless 2K can offer them some terrific incentives.
I'm not saying that the next Bioshock game is guaranteed to be bad, but what I am saying is if none of the original team is carried over, what's even the point, especially with the amount of expectations that would be piled onto the title after Bioshock Infinite. Maybe sometimes it's best to just quit while you're ahead, and just lay a franchise to rest.
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