Well, this is a bit of a shocker. Irrational Games, the studio within 2K responsible for BioShock, System Shock 2 and Freedom Force, will no longer exist as we know it. In a statement on the Irrational website, Ken Levine says that he will be establishing a new studio within 2K, but with a far smaller team.
It sounds very much as though Levine’s plan was initially to leave 2K entirely and re-start with a new company, but the publisher convinced him to stay. “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.”
The harsh consequence of all this is mass lay-offs among the staff who used to work at the now defunct Irrational Games. “All but about fifteen members of the Irrational team,” will now be seeking new jobs.
The BioShock name and universe is remaining in 2K’s hands, while Levine’s new (as yet unnamed) team will concentrate on “narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable.”