Irrational Games Hit With Layoffs


In surprising news today, Irrational Games founder, Ken Levine announced that Irrational Games will be laying off most of its staff and he will now be running a staff of 15 members for Take-Two. He broke this news in a letter on Irrational Games’ website.

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.

With this smaller staff Ken Levine and company will focus on making downloadable games that are driven by narrative and have high replay value.

Levine on what’s next:

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.

When I first contemplated what I wanted to do, it became very clear to me that we were going to need a long period of design. 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. After all, they’re the ones who believed in and supported BioShock in the first place.

This change to Irrational Games will mean that many people will find themselves without a job and with that Levine and 2K will try to find new places of employment for the laid off staff. And as for the Bioshock franchise, that will now be in the hands of 2K, but the future of the franchise is unknown at the time with the only other studio to handle the franchise (2K Marin) having its doors shuttered last year.

Here is what Irrational Games is doing for its former employees:

Besides financial support, the staff will have access to the studio for a period of time to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios. Other Take-Two studios will be on hand to discuss opportunities within the company, and we’ll be hosting a recruiting day where we’ll be giving 3rd party studios and publishers a chance to hold interviews with departing Irrational staff.

This news comes as a surprise and leads to many questions on what Ken Levine and his new studio are working on for the future and what will become of the Bioshock franchise. With the only other announced Bioshock game being a Vita game that never seemed to get started, what will 2K do next with the franchise?

Source: Irrational Games


Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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