Irrational Games - All News
Saturday - March 08, 2014
Irrational Games - Editorial @ Polygon
It your interested in reading a post-mortem about the last year of Irrational Games from former company employees then head over to Polygon for the article.
The employees were shocked.
Irrational Games, the developer that created theseries along with a number of other critically beloved video games, was viewed, by a number of sources close to the studio, as closure-proof: It had pedigree, talent and — to the outside world — creative carte blanche from its parent companies, 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive.
When the studio's co-founder and president, Ken Levine, invited the team of nearly 100 employees into a meeting about the company's history last month, many were surprised to realize, as the presentation progressed, that this very history was coming to an end.
More than a half dozen individuals who worked for Irrational Games during the development of, some of whom were there that final day, agreed to speak with Polygon anonymously about their experiences within the company. Additionally, one employee agreed to speak publicly.
Ken Levine and representatives from 2K Games and Take-Two were contacted for this report, but did not provide further comment than this letter Levine published on the day Irrational closed.
However, those affected by recent events and time spent at the studio over the past decade have provided a sense of what led to the end of Irrational. According to those with whom we spoke, the closure was the combined result of unfettered creative freedom, lower-than-expected sales, the butting of heads between Levine and his employees and the unrealistic expectations of big-budget game development.
It was to many a disappointing end to a studio that sought, in the words of those who worked there, to make a mark on the world and that fostered, from its top level, a philosophical viewpoint that it could and should make the absolute best video games.
But in the end, the strengths of Irrational Games were inextricably bound to its weaknesses.
Wednesday - February 19, 2014
Irrational Games - Ken Levine Shuts Studio Down
In a surprising turn of evenst, Ken Levine, the man behind Irrational Games, decided to shut the studio down permanently. However, he will keep a small team of 15 people at Take-Two:
I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. 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......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.
What's your views and opinions in this?
Source: RPG Codex
Tuesday - February 02, 2010
Irrational Games - Irrational Behaviour #2
Irrational's latest site update sounds like a fun trip down memory lane for fans of Thief and Freedom Force. Here's the description:
Irrational was once a tiny team that made games on miniscule budgets. Today we’re much, much bigger and the budget’s grown along with the ambition of the group’s games. This month’s episode of Irrational Behavior explores what these changes have meant for the studio’s culture and the individuals who’ve been on board as the industry itself has had to adopt the professional practices of big business. Episode highlights include an insider take on the making of Thief, designers Dorian Hart and Alexx Kay waxing nostalgic on the days when they were allowed to do voice over work for Freedom Force, as well as the story of a mysterious onanist who secretly used artist Shawn Robertson’s office for forbidden self-pleasures.
Tuesday - January 12, 2010
Irrational Games - Site Relaunch
As promised, Irrational has relaunched their site, along with plans for various updates. Probably of most interest at the moment is the planned regular podcast Irrational Behaviour. The first episode covers "ideas that died" and here's the description:
So to kick off, we chose a brutal theme – “ideas that died”. We explore what happens when creativity runs into technical restrictions, a lack of clear consensus, and – at times – its own convolution. You’ll glimpse abandoned BioShock tidbits, as well as an as yet unrevealed game from four years ago when Irrational Games backed away from a zombie invasion. And much, much more.
Monday - January 11, 2010
Irrational Games - Back Again
I'm not sure how often we'll see Irrational games featured on RPGWatch in the future but it's interesting to see the name is being changed back to "Irrational Games" after being corporatised as "2K Boston" a few years back.
Thanks to elyas for a German link but we'll use GameInformer courtesy of Blue's so everyone can read it. There's a countdown at irrationalgames.com and word is "you'll experience an array of cool community features, insight into the game creation process, and never-before-seen tidbits about games like System Shock 2, Freedom Force, and BioShock."
Wednesday - August 15, 2007
Irrational Games - Ken Levine Profile
I really should file this under 2K, shouldn't I? Anyway, GameAlmighty has an article titled Ken Levine: Ascending the Throne, which profiles the man of the moment and his achievements:
Before joining the gaming industry, Ken Levine did some periodic writing screenwriting assignments for Paramount pictures and dabbled in New York playwriting before eventually joining Looking Glass Studios in 1995. Looking Glass Studios was one of the leading developers in the 90s, churning out such great titles as Ultima Underworld I & II and Flight Unlimited. Ken's first big title, of which he served as story writer and initial designer, was the phenomenal Thief: The Dark Project.
Friday - August 10, 2007
Irrational Games - Now 2K Boston and 2K Australia
Irrational Games has been fully absorbed into the Take Two hive with the announcement that Irrational's two studios have been renamed to the highly creative 2K Boston and 2K Australia:
New York, NY - August 10, 2007 -Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today the name change of industry leading development studio Irrational Games to 2K Boston and 2K Australia. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and with offices in Canberra, Australia, Irrational Games is an internationally renowned developer of story-driven, genre-defining games with award-winning hits like System Shock 2, Freedom Force, Tribes: Vengeance, and SWAT 4. The name changes to 2K Boston and 2K Australia symbolize the studios' further integration into the 2K Games family following their outstanding performance on BioShock™, the upcoming blockbuster available exclusively for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system and Games For Windows on August 21, 2007 in North America and in Europe beginning August 24, 2007.
"Irrational Games is widely recognized as one of the most innovative development studios in the world," said Christoph Hartmann, President of 2K. "Following their incredible efforts in bringing BioShock to life, we are proud to make the newly renamed Irrational Games studios a cornerstone of our game development family."
Recognizing the exceptional talent and creative vision that have made Irrational Games one of the industry's premier developers, 2K Games has fostered the studio's growth by substantially investing in its people, allowing Irrational Games to almost double in size since the studio's acquisition by 2K in 2005. With the upcoming release of BioShock - one of the year's most hotly anticipated titles - 2K Boston and 2K Australia, with the backing of 2K Games, are raising the bar for forward-thinking game design.
"We're proud to be part of the 2K Games family and enjoy the new opportunities and artistic freedoms this strengthened relationship provides," said Ken Levine, President and Creative Director of 2K Boston. "The name change signifies our growing position as a central part of 2K Games, and we plan to ensure our future titles continue to set new standards of quality and innovation for the industry."
For more information, visit the 2K Boston and 2K Australia websites www.2kboston.com and www.2kaustralia.com.
Thursday - July 05, 2007
Irrational Games - Kevine Levine on the American Gamer
In what is presumably a patriotic gesture, GameDaily has an interview with Irrational's Ken Levine on the "American gamer":
When making Bioshock, does appealing to that global audience play into how you make the game?
People try to do that. I remember working on a game where they said, “Put a Korean character into it!” As if that was going to open up the Korean market, which is primarily based around one game: Starcraft. And they certainly didn’t think, “Oh, that guy’s a Korean, they’re going to love this.” It was a total accident. That’s what going to happen if an American game breaks out in Japan. It’ll be sort of an accident. And I think trying to go for that is folly, because cultures are complicated, and I’m not smart enough to go, “Which level, what weapon can I introduce in BioShock that can make the Japanese fall in love with it?”
Friday - September 01, 2006
Irrational: Ken Levine Interview @ 1Up
CGW: Storytelling is important in your work, but, at the same time, it always seems to come back to killing something--is that the unavoidable nature of modern gamemaking?
KL: I'm a games-first man. Stories come pretty late for Irrational, much to the dismay of my producers. I don't usually have the story in line until halfway through development. In fact, if you go back and look at the first previews for BioShock, the story line and setting were very, very different. As my punishment, BioShock's listing at GameStop.com still talks about Nazis and other story elements that have been gone for well over a year.
At the end of the day, we're here to serve the player. Gameplay has to work. If you can fit story to gameplay, it's going to be a better experience.
And I've got a message for game writers who put in unskippable cut-scenes: I hate you. You suck. Go write a graphic novel and leave us gamers alone. If you look at Irrational's games, we're big believers in allowing gamers to skip whatever they want and play the parts they enjoy. My goal as a writer is for the player to want to see the cutscenes. Earn your audience. Forcing people to sit through your glorified fanfic is the gaming equivalent of date rape.