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The developers for the popular BioShock series is shutting down, it’s co-founder announced last night.

Irrational Games, the developers of the critically acclaimed 2007 BioShock title and the 2013 follow up BioShock Infinite, will shut its door with just 15 staff members moving on to work on a new project.

The studio’s co-founder, Ken Levine, wrote on Irrational Games’ official website that, once the final DLC for BioShock Infinite is released, it will begin “winding down”.

“Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one,” said Levine. “And working with the incredible team at Irrational Games is indeed the best job I’ve ever had. 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. In many ways, it will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience.”

He continued: “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. 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.”

Levine said all departing staff will receive financial support, have access to the studio to create resumes and portfolios, and opportunities to work for other development studios.

The original BioShock launched in 2007 and was critically acclaimed worldwide for its immersive qualities and political dimension. The game went on to sell over 4 million copies and was awarded Game of the Year by BAFTA, IGN, Game Informer and Spike TV.

The follow up, BioShock Infinite, launched last year in March and again was critically acclaimed worldwide for its story and art design. It also sold over 4 million copies and was nominated for numerous Game of the Year awards.

Describing the new project he will be working on, he said: “In time we will announce a new endeavour 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.”

Future BioShock instalments will be handled by 2K Games whilst Levine’s new project will be under the Take-Two Interactive banner.

 “If we’re lucky, we’ll build something half as memorable as BioShock,” Levine concluded.

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