Irrational Games, developer of Bioshock, shuts down

Today, Ken Levine shocked the internet by announcing that his company, Irrational Games, will be shutting down.

Levine, the creative dynamo who worked on such titles as Bioshock, System Shock 2, Thief: The Dark Project, and of course our 2013 Game of the Year winner Bioshock: Infinite, explained that he's moving on to a "smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two." This also means laying off all but 15 people.

"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. "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 will be focusing on narrative-driven games that are "highly replayable." They will be released digitally, a la Gone Home or The Stanley Parable. Levine believes that by focusing exclusively on digitally-released games, his team can have a closer relationship with fans.

Before closing, Irrational will complete Part 2 of the BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea DLC, which is due to be released next month.

Levine's decision is surprising, to say the least, and it's a damn shame that so many talented Irrational employees will be laid off. However, Levine's always been a talented writer (Bioshock: Infinite's excellent story is proof of that), and moving away from AAA titles could be a good thing for him. A small, replayable, story-driven title from the designer of Bioshock? Yes, that sounds very interesting indeed. I, for one, am excited to discover what stories Levine plans to tell.