Influential games development studio Irrational Games is shutting down. The studio was founded seventeen years ago by Ken Levine, Jon Chey and Rob Fermier and after the last DLC for BioShock Infinite is rolled out will wind down its operations. Ken Levine wrote in a blog post, discussing the closure, that all but 15 of the current Irrational Games employees will have to find pastures new. A "smaller team with a flatter structure," will work with Levine on new projects.
Levine says that the reason behind the dissolving of Irrational Games is a kind of weariness with the status quo, even though he admits Irrational Games are an incredible team and he is very proud of all its achievements over 17 years. He goes on to explain, "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."
To work on his future projects Levine will take a small team of 15 folk from the current Irrational Games roster. Staff who are made redundant will be helped with financial support, studio access to polish their portfolios, Take-Two will possibly reassign some staff to other studios and there will even be a recruitment open day for 3rd party studios.
We get a (small) hint about what the new games projects might be like, as Levine says the goal of his new studio is, "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." Levine closed by saying "If we’re lucky, we’ll build something half as memorable as BioShock". (no Flappy Angry Birds Crush then…) Also he will provide updates as comments are made on the blog.
As PCMag notes BioShock Infinite was the top selling game in March 2013 and Irrational Games also worked on titles including System Shock 2, Freedom Force and SWAT 4.