Irrational Games to shut down, BioShock franchise now in 2K’s hands

Ken Levine

Irrational Games will shut down once BioShock Infinite‘s Burial at Sea – Part 2 DLC releases in March, studio founder Ken Levine confirms in a new post on the studio’s official website. “I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it,” he writes. “I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two. That is going to mean parting ways with all but about fifteen members of the Irrational team.”

Levine co-founded Irrational in 1997 with partners Jon Chey and Rob Fermier. They immediately set to work on what would be their first release, the critically acclaimed System Shock 2 (which would go on to serve as an inspiration for BioShock). The studio continued to pick up steam through the late ’90s and early Aughts, with releases like Freedom Force and S.W.A.T. 4 establishing the team as one willing to take risks and try new ideas. Lightning then struck on a monumental stage in 2007 with the release of BioShock. The game’s open-ended linearity and dazzling story quickly earned recognition as a landmark moment in video games. The studio had been acquired one year earlier by Take-Two Interactive, and the release of BioShock earned Levine and his team all the cred they needed to tackle the lengthy development process necessary for BioShock Infinite.

The highly anticipated Irrational release – now officially the studio’s swan song – garnered high praise from critics when it launched in March 2013. Levine, for his part, will continue to work on games in his post-Irrational role at Take-Two, but he’ll be working on a smaller scale to deliver a different type of experience.

“In time we will announce a new endeavor with a new goal: 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,” his post reads. “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.”

In the meantime, Levine is currently writing the screenplay for the proposed Logan’s Run remake for Warner Bros.  

As for the rest of Irrational’s staff that won’t be joining him, Levine claims their first concern is to make sure those not coming with him are taken care of. Soon to be former Irrational staffers that aren’t taken on by Take-Two to work on other projects will have the opportunity to meet with 3rd party publishers at a recruiting day hosted by the studio before it closes down for good.  

Fans wondering about the fate of BioShock can also rest easy, as the franchise will live on in Take-Two subsidiary 2K’s hands. 

“I’m handing the reins of our creation, the BioShock universe, to 2K so our new venture can focus entirely on replayable narrative,” said Levine. “If we’re lucky, we’ll build something half as memorable as BioShock.”


Castlevania Anniversary Collection offers some of the series’ rarest games

Konami is celebrating 50 years of games with collections like the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, which now includes Kid Dracula, Castlevania II, Bloodlines, and Castlevania the Adventure. Which of these are must-play titles?

Everything we know about the PS5, including its impressive hardware specs

PlayStation 5 rumors have circulated for over a year, but there's still plenty we don't know. Here's everything you need to know about the PS5, including rumors about its release, specs, and games.
Movies & TV

The best Black Mirror episodes are disturbing, mesmerizing, and provocative

After watching all 19 episodes across four seasons and one movie, we selected and ranked the best Black Mirror episodes released so far. Read on to find out if your favorite episode from the award-winning Netflix series made the list.

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

Call up Durr Burger and grab some lunch with our Fortnite weekly challenge guide

The Fortnite week 8 challenges are now available in season 8. One of the big challenges this week has players dial the Durr Burger number on the big telephone. We've got everything you need to complete this weekly challenge.

Streaming data reveals Ninja isn’t Twitch king, Fortnite still reigns supreme

Stream Elements and Stream Hatchet teamed up to produce the State of the Stream Q1 2019, a report that reveals a multitude of data. A few takeaways include Ninja not producing the best month of views, and Apex Legends' performance diving.

Get Kingdom Hearts 3 at its lowest price yet during Walmart’s Xbox One sale

Walmart reduced the prices on some new and popular Xbox One games. Kingdom Hearts 3 is at its lowest price yet, while Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 get some stout discounts as well.

Get jiggy with it and find the jigsaw pieces with our Fortnite challenge guide

For this Fortnite weekly challenge, players must search for jigsaw puzzle pieces under bridges and in caves. We've got the best locations for finding these pieces so you can complete this challenge fast.

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.

The best zombie games of all time, from Resident Evil to The Last of Us

Zombies are a longtime media staple, from movies to literature to TV to video games. Plenty of zombie games are bland and boring, but a good number offer tangible reasons to care about the undead. These are the best zombie games.

Ditch the discs: The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is available for pre-order

Like it or not, discs seem to be going the way of the VHS tape. Digital gaming is quickly becoming the new norm even for consoles, and Microsoft’s new Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is now available for pre-order with three free games…

The Last of Us Part 2 finishes capturing its main characters’ performances

Calling it the most "ambitious cinematic shoot" the team has ever done, Naughty Dog revealed that the motion-capture performances for the main characters in The Last of Us Part II are finished.

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.