Ken Levine, creator of Bioshock, has stunned fans by announcing that he's closing down Irrational Games, the development studio that created two of the most critically acclaimed titles of the last console generation.
He instead plans to start over with a new, smaller development team, still under the 2K Games corporate umbrella. "I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it," Levine said in a post on the studio's official site. "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. 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."
What does this mean for the future of Bioshock? 2K already produced Bioshock 2, the game's first sequel, without Irrational so there's no reason we couldn't see more from the franchise. Bioshock Infinite was one of the best-selling and best reviewed games of 2013, and it just received its first story DLC in the shape of the two-part Burial At Sea, which returned the action to the undersea city of Rapture from the original 2007 game.
The up side, of course, is that Levine clearly has a plan for something new, and given his prodigious imagination it's likely to be something worth waiting for. "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," Levine explained.
For now, at least we'll always have Columbia.