Irrational Games Closing Its Doors

Irrational Games, the creators of the highly-popular and almost cult-like following of the BioShock games, is finally closing its doors after 17 years.

The company was founded in 1997 by Ken Levine, Jonathan Chey and Robert Fermier, three former members of Looking Glass Studios. They were bought out almost 10 years later by Take-Two Interactive and would continue to publish games under the 2K Games label.

Ken Levine stated all but 15 people were being laid off stating he wants to build a smaller and entrepreneurial endeavor focusing on games with heavy narratives.

“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 stated his new goal with this endeavor is to make games for the core gamer with high replay value and provide a direct relationship with fans, while focusing on digital content.

According to the official website, Ken Levine wrote a thank you message to fans as well as 2K for taking a chance on them.

“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.”

“We built Rapture and Columbia, the Von Braun and The Rickenbacker, the Freedom Fortress and some of the nastiest basements a SWAT team ever set foot into.  We created Booker and Elizabeth, the Big Daddy and the Little Sister, MidWives and ManBot. In that time, Irrational has grown larger and more successful than we could have conceived when we began our three-person studio in a living room in Cambridge, MA. It’s been the defining project of my professional life.”

Levine said the final project to be released under the Irrational Games umbrella will be BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode 2. It’s set to release March 25 for $15 and free to everyone who downloaded the season pass.

Sources: Kotaku; Irrational Games Website; Wikipedia