Escapist News Now: Irrational Games Shutting Down

Irrational Games Shutting Down

This morning one of the founders of Irrational Games, Ken Levine announced that they are shutting down the studio as we know it.

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Wow...will I really be first on this? Even though it broke an hour and half ago? Probably not, when I refresh there will be several ahead of me.

This makes me kinda sad. Irrational was one of the few AAA studios that seemed passionate about exploring the artistry of games as a storytelling medium, which is one of the things I'm really interested in regarding the medium. Then again, Levine's statements makes me wonder what he's going to do next. I'll have to keep my ear to the ground for his future projects.

This seriously sucks; in my opinion, Irrational Games was the only studio that could rival Valve in terms of world-building. Their closure is a serious loss for the gaming industry (additionally, now 2K has complete control over the Bioshock IP, so I'm fully prepared to see Bioshock Infinite Kart 2 hitting the store shelves fairly soon).

Wow, bittersweet news.

On the one hand, IG made one of my all-time favorite games, "System Shock 2". And I really like "Bioshock" - well, most of it. The last third goes downhill fast but I can definitely forgive that.

I'm not sure I can forgive the huge squandering of talent that "Bioshock Infinite" represented to me though. It had a great story, but one in which you have very little participation as a player and never feel that you're "driving" events. It created a great world, but you couldn't actually DO anything there, except for some shooting mechanics that had no bearing on the story and never really worked together. Creatively speaking "Infinite" was Levine's worst game, at least of those that I've played. Just walking along a linear path shooting various unnecessary distractions is absolutely not what I want from the guy who created "System Shock" and "System Shock 2".

I'm still surprised - commercially and technically, if not artistically, "Bioshock Infinite" was a huge success. But then, to me, it was such a huge step in the wrong direction for Levine that I'm kinda glad that he's gone on to smaller projects. I hope that he rediscovers the magic that made "System Shock" the most compelling game that I've ever played, and channels some of that magic into a new project.

Seems like all the people that actually did the work are getting fired while the higher ups are cashing out on vacation. Way to take a steady paycheck from the real workers while casually sweeping the whole mess under the rug. It's just good business. And it's cold blooded.

And the cutthroat business guts another of its very best...

You know, it's always telling when people who actually give a damn lose their jobs, while the derivative shit-factories keep running year after year.

I don't normally care much beyond "well, that sucks" when a developer closes down. But IG actually DID THINGS for the medium.
To torture a metaphor, this is like watching Lead Zepplin get deep sixed by their label while Nickelback readies up for another tour.

This is a nice trick to downplay what is happening: Almost all employees lose their jobs! For me it sounds like: "Hey, you are all being fired because Ken Levine doesn't feel like doing AAA games anymore." I guess what's really happening is that the studio is being closed for financial reasons and Ken Levine tries to make it sound less terrible. Sure, Irrational will help its former employees to find a new job but it will probably mean that they have to relocate.

TheMadDoctorsCat:
Wow, bittersweet news.

On the one hand, IG made one of my all-time favorite games, "System Shock 2". And I really like "Bioshock" - well, most of it. The last third goes downhill fast but I can definitely forgive that.

I'm not sure I can forgive the huge squandering of talent that "Bioshock Infinite" represented to me though. It had a great story, but one in which you have very little participation as a player and never feel that you're "driving" events. It created a great world, but you couldn't actually DO anything there, except for some shooting mechanics that had no bearing on the story and never really worked together. Creatively speaking "Infinite" was Levine's worst game, at least of those that I've played. Just walking along a linear path shooting various unnecessary distractions is absolutely not what I want from the guy who created "System Shock" and "System Shock 2".

I'm still surprised - commercially and technically, if not artistically, "Bioshock Infinite" was a huge success. But then, to me, it was such a huge step in the wrong direction for Levine that I'm kinda glad that he's gone on to smaller projects. I hope that he rediscovers the magic that made "System Shock" the most compelling game that I've ever played, and channels some of that magic into a new project.

Thankyou! thankyou for finally pointing out just what i knew was wrong with Infinite but couldnt quite put into words, yes its a beautiful world but so what if you cant play with it?

They will be sadly missed but ive always been vaguely disappointed with the Bioshock games, because they were just so not what System Shock 1 and 2 were

Wasn't System Shock a Looking Glass' game?

...what? Wasn't Infinite a critical & commercial success? This doesn't make any sense, unless 2K is forcing them to do this so that they have total control over their IPs, which is shitty of them. I'm really really confused.

Wilco86:
Wasn't System Shock a Looking Glass' game?

It was indeed. But the sequel was the first game from "Irrational Games". That is one HELL of a legacy right there - and I mean that in the good way.

Quellist:

Thankyou! thankyou for finally pointing out just what i knew was wrong with Infinite but couldnt quite put into words, yes its a beautiful world but so what if you cant play with it?

They will be sadly missed but ive always been vaguely disappointed with the Bioshock games, because they were just so not what System Shock 1 and 2 were

I kinda agree; but, particularly with the original "Bioshock", as I got more and more into it I started to appreciate just how many positives it had. It really bugs me that it goes downhill after - how do I put this without spoiling others? - a main character joins a golf club. I think "Bioshock" has some fantastic characters, and the world is much better-realised than that of "Infinite" for the most part. I had a lot of fun setting up gigantic webs of electric traps and luring Big Daddies through them.

So on the whole I'd rather be on the side of the "Bioshock" defenders, despite its flaws. The same can't be said, unfortunately, for "Infinite". And I couldn't even get through "Bioshock 2".

That's more or less what happens every time a game title is finished. There is no long-term stability in most of the game creating industry. There are a handful of upper management and everyone else is brought in for a particular portion of a particular project and let go immediately as soon as their part is done. If there is another project after that, they may catch on with that and keep their job, but that's no guarantee. If the leadership doesn't have a next project lined up, then everyone goes.

 

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