Despite creating some of the most well-regarded and critically-acclaimed releases of the last generation, game developer Ken Levine has been oddly silent since the closure of Irrational Games in 2014. Creator of the popular Bioshock series, Levine and his new studio, Ghost Story Games, have been hard at work on a mystery project for a while now, and a new job listing might begin to hint a little more at what this new game might be.
A post on Gamasutra on behalf of Ghost Story Games shows that the studio is looking for employees to work on a “creatively ambitious project in the immersive sim genre." The post requests that the applicant be prepared to implement “both systemic and scripted narrative events," while also ensuring that “story is integrated into the experience." Whatever this cryptic title turns out to be, it’s clear that an innovative approach to storytelling will be the core of the game.
This all sounds very reminiscent of some of Levine’s earlier claims when discussing what players could expect from his new project, with the director implying all the way back in 2014 that the game would aim to incorporate “narrative elements that are non-linear and interact with each other." The idea of the game aiming to be more of an immersive sim than a traditional RPG or linear first-person shooter definitely aligns with this goal, especially as the job listing frequently references an experimental approach to narrative design.
There’s one more thing to pay attention to within the job listing, however, and that’s Ghost Story Games stating, “We are committed to making games that we judge by quality, not arbitrary timeliness.” It looks as though Levine’s next video game outing will release when it’s ready, and with the game supposedly attempting to undertake some bold new directions in terms of storytelling, that might not be for a good while. It will no doubt make for a better game that capitalizes on Levine’s solid vision, but players shouldn’t get their hopes up for a release date in the foreseeable future.
Of course, Levine’s legacy implies this new title will be worth sticking around for. The Bioshock games are hailed as some of the greatest of all time, while his work on a variety of other weird and wonderful projects (such as the similarly hailed System Shock 2) has made him into one of gaming’s most influential modern figures. Levine's new title, whatever it might be, will no doubt be worth the wait.
Ken Levine and Ghost Story Games’ new project is in development for unknown systems.