Irrational Games to Layoff Most of Its Staff

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

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Irrational Games

Irrational Games, the studio behind BioShock and BioShock Infinite, is laying off almost all of its employees. Only 15 members will stay on. Ken Levine, one of the founders and the public face of Irrational Games, says he is “winding down Irrational Games as you know it.”

“I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two,” Levine continues. “That is going to mean parting ways with all but about fifteen members of the Irrational team. There’s no great way to lay people off, and our first concern is to make sure that the people who are leaving have as much support as we can give them during this transition.” Parent company 2K Games will offer financial support, references, and opportunities to move on to other 2K Games-owned studios to employees affected by the layoff.

As for the endeavor he mentioned, he writes, “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. 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.”

Levine will also leave behind the world(s) of BioShock, as well. “I’m handing the reins of our creation, the BioShock universe, to 2K so our new venture can focus entirely on replayable narrative.”

oprainfall wishes only the best for those affected by the layoffs.


About Karli Winata

Karli Winata is an avid gamer with a taste for a little bit of everything. Except for sports games. And racing sims. And definitely not hidden object games! I guess everything is too broad a term. Suffice it to say that he has been known to play hours of Call of Duty multiplayer in between bouts of Persona fusing and Star Coin collecting while saving the world/galaxy through sensibly bald space marines or plucky teenagers with impossible hairstyles. Where does he find the time to write about them?

  • Geminiman555

    I’m not sure I can think of a newer gaming series I was more interesting to see where it went after Bioshock Infinite, so this really makes me sad. I mean, layouts are never good but everything seems to imply everyone will do ok, so that’s good. The team deserves jobs in this industry, good jobs. So the real loser here might be the series. I’m hopeful that won’t happen, but it was one of the few next gen sequels (that was clearly going to happen) I was really excited to see where it could go.

  • Kroisos

    Before I make my comment, I want it to be understood that I am not happy that people are out of work, I hope they find new work without disruption, and the quality of the BioShock games speaks to their ability.

    That in mind, I’m glad that this is happening. This industry is not working if a GOTY candidate can sell millions and not only underperform in doing so, but actually be a financial failure. It seems we’re at a point where the slightest improvements require increasing resources, and investing those resources is not just bad business, it risks the industry for essentially no reason. Why risk everything when the only reward is to not lose it?

    I wonder what’s going to happen to Ubisoft; at this point I see no way they make their money back on Watch Dogs. Or EA when people decide roster updates aren’t worth $60 a year. Or any FPS publisher when the next big genre replaces it. AAA gaming won’t die soon; but the way it dominates the market has to go. And unfortunately it seems that rather than do anything about it the industry will let the market do the work for them, and we get layoffs like these.