Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Irrational over Irrational's (somewhat) Irrational shutdown

Some people have asked me about what I think about Irrational Game's closing it's doors, which is a bad phrase that I won't be using in the future. Initially, I gave people some pretty bad answers because I hadn't really thought about it.

Now that I've thought, and read, more about it I have some pretty decent feelings I'll be sharing here. I am happy that Ken Levine will be pursuing his creative and narrative interests in the way he feels best suits him. I have a lot of respect for creative types and the occasional distaste for massive, large companies which produce good, but derivative, work. That might be a very unfair post-mortem of Bioshock: Infinite but in same ways it's very true.

Anyway, I am happy that Ken Levine will get to work with a small handpicked team under the umbrella of Take-Two, who I have an unreasonable respect for.

There is also a very human factor to what is happening to Irrational. Brendan Keogh articulated this point a lot better than I might be able to (you can find that here). As much as I dislike large companies, Infinite was a great game that afforded many people the luxury of having jobs and being able to live in the great city of Boston, not cheap propositions. At least 185 people will be out of a job now that Ken Levine gets the privilege of working with a smaller studio.

A similar thing happened with the NFL not too long ago. Many smaller and relatively unknown players from yesterday got screwed over because EA did not want to pay them for their likeness and their talents despite desperately wanting the names, likenesses, and talents of some of their teammates. Because those big name players took separate contracts this left a great many players who supported them and made their careers possible out in the cold. Not a nice thing to do to the people who basically took the licks for you for years on end.

I hope that Ken Levine continues to make good games and innovates or at least finds creative solutions. But really, I hope the best for the 185+ people who will be put out by this and I hope that they'll be hired by game firms who know the value of their work. Also, take the time to watch the credits on a game, those people deserve the recognition for the hard work their put in and the time and life commitment it really takes.

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