Irrational Games founder and Bioshock creator Ken Levine announced via the Irrational Games web site that the studio would be shutting down and laying off all but 15 people. The studio, which was bought out by 2K Games (Take-Two) in January of 2006, will shut down after it finishes up work on the BioShock Infinite downloadable content, the second part of Burial at Sea. The DLC is set for release next month.
"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," Levine wrote on the Irrational Games web site. "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."
Levine's added that his new leaner studio will "foster the most direct relationship with our fans possible" and will focus on making "content" that is "delivered digitally."
His comments echo what former Epic Games developer Cliff Bleszinski told Gamasutra in an interview published today. No doubt the success of games like Rust and DayZ on Steam Early Access and various crowd-funding options are changing the way developers want to create games in the future.