When Irrational Games' Creative Director and Founder Ken Levine announced, unexpectedly, that the developer, as we currently know it, would cease to exist, thoughts immediately turned to the 100+ staff members that would soon be without employment. Luckily, the game development community, as it has many times before, rallied behind their brethren, and worked diligently to find each and every one of the former Irrational Games employees a new home.
But, beyond questions of Irrational Games' future, there were also looming questions surrounding Irrational's flagship franchise, BioShock. With the series now falling into the hands of publisher 2K Games many wondered whether BioShock too would disappear.
The good news is that the BioShock franchise will continue under 2K, obviously with a new developer at the helm. 2K Games believes there are still "many untold stories" left in the BioShock universe, and they "look forward to exploring the next BioShock experience."
In an official statement issued to Polygon, 2K expressed their deepest gratitude to Ken Levine and the whole of Irrational for their work on BioShock and BioShock Infinite. Although Infinite didn't quite hit the sales numbers that 2K was hoping for, the release received plenty of attention in 2013. The game was also praised as one of the standout narrative experiences from last year - one that seemingly had a definitive end. But, there is still a business running behind it all, and so it's in 2K's best interest to keep the brand going.
Obviously, this news is bittersweet. After the release of Burial at Sea: Episode Two most fans figure Irrational will have sufficiently tied up all loose ends left dangling in the BioShock franchise as a whole. Well, at least we hope they do. Which begs the question as to where BioShock could go next, or if it even needs to continue? There is certainly more to be done with BioShock from a mechanics perspective, but the current narrative doesn't leave a lot of options.
Yet, BioShock 2, the only game not developed by Irrational, was a surprisingly solid sequel. Unfortunately, most of the folks who helped make BioShock 2 a success have moved on to Arkane Studios, the developer behind Dishonored.
Regardless of who takes over, we are likely several years away from a new BioShock game, let alone an announcement of said game. Same goes for Ken Levine's next project, which we are equally curious about.
Do you think that BioShock should have ended with Infinite or would you like to see more games? Would you like to see a sequel set in Columbia, Rapture, or some new setting?