BioShock developer Irrational Games is likely working on a new “narrative first-person shooter,” according to new job listings on the company’s website. Irrational is currently looking for a “Gameplay Systems Designer and Tuner,” and a “QA Manager.” Both listings call for developers with Unreal Engine experience —One specifies Unreal Engine 4— and a “passion for narrative first person shooters.” The listings also recommend potential candidates watch Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine’s 2014 GDC talk on narrative in video games.
In addition, the “Gameplay Systems Designer and Tuner” listing also calls for experience with semi-open or open-world games, specifically invoking Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Borderlands. The position also calls for a designer with experience working on “damage tuning, loot tables, cool downs, resources, upgrade systems, etc.”
This is the first whisper of Irrational Games’ future since creative director Ken Levine announced plans to rebuild Irrational Games in February, 2014. The studio cut its staff from 75 to 16 and many assumed it would eventually dissolve or combine with another studio owned by parent company Take-Two Interactive. According to Polygon, Irrational has been quietly hiring a new team for the past year.
At the same time, the System Shock series, which the BioShock franchise grew out of, has also seen a flurry of activity. In September, new rights-holder Night Dive Studios announced they would remake the original System Shock. At the same time, a teaser site from Otherside Entertainment revealed the studio, led by members of the original System Shock team, will return to the franchise for System Shock 3.
Of course we’re dancing around the big question, “does this mean there’s going to be another BioShock?” And yes, as you may have guessed, the only people who have the answers are at Irrational Games. For now, maybe just take solace in knowing that the studio is still alive and kicking.