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Submitted by iosgamer 311d ago | opinion piece

Ken Levine Jumped Off A Sinking Ship

"The downsizing of Irrational Games is not only rational, it’s the most notable blip yet on a growing trend whereby established blockbuster talent is jumping off a sinking ship and swimming to the greener small-scale pastures enjoyed by the indie scene." - Grab It Magazine (3DS, Casual games, Dev, Industry, iPad, iPhone, Ken Levine, Mobile, Next-Gen, Nintendo DS, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

iosgamer  +   311d ago
The list of big name devs that have left their big time studios in recent years to begin again in the downloadable indie scene is getting pretty epic.
SlappingOysters  +   311d ago
I'm trying to think of others. Who is the Mega Man dude, Inafune? He just did it.
WeAreLegion  +   311d ago
He has done Soul Sacrifice since leaving. Fantastic game, by the way.

Mighty No. 9 is going to be awesome!
#1.1.1 (Edited 311d ago ) | Agree(14) | Disagree(1) | Report
badboy776  +   310d ago
Will Microsoft Do the Same????
Murad  +   309d ago
Well he left for a different reason. He realized that his franchise, the one that he created/visioned kind of fell of the map in a matter of speaking, and that's Capcom to blame for the most part. Levine on the other had his dreams come true, and he succeeded in making something, but realized the thing he was truly good at couldn't be created with the things that he was already creating.
Necro_559  +   311d ago
What 2 people? LOLOLOL I wouldnt call that epic.
iosgamer  +   311d ago
Well the article lists about eight big names straight up. There's plenty more I suspect. Those two lead devs from The Witcher 3 left the other day, for example - http://www.grabitmagazine.c...
RedSoakedSponge  +   311d ago
i think that was a pun due to Cliffy B lol.
bobacdigital  +   311d ago
John Carmack and Cliffy B left ID / EPIC ... id say those are 2 more to add.
FamilyGuy  +   311d ago
The god of war dude (David Jaffe) and the gears of war dude (Cliffy B) both did it, the megaman guy did it, level 5 is trying to shift to mobile titles, capcom, Square Enix (to a degree), Peter Molyneux.

There's lots of people within bg companies that have purposely stepped down to work on indie titles. Way more than "2 people".

The article:
"concerned about this trend whereby the likes of Ryan Payton, Robert Bowling, Tim Schafer, Sid Meier, Peter Molyneux, Ken Levine, Cliffy B and others are emancipating themselves from the system."
#1.2.4 (Edited 311d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(1) | Report
Pogmathoin  +   310d ago
The two Bioware guys, they left the industry completely??
Guwapo77  +   310d ago
The creators of Diablo left Blizzard and made Torchlight...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

Development of the game was led by Travis Baldree, designer of Fate, joined by Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer (co-designers of Diablo and Diablo II), and the team that worked with Baldree on the original incarnation of Mythos.[12][13] In September 2012, Runic Games released a sequel, Torchlight II, for the PC.[14]
mobijoker  +   310d ago
Indie is booming now....And indie means high risk taking innovative games...
A welcome change in my opinion...
ElementX  +   311d ago
I don't think Levine jumped off a sinking ship. He was one of the founders and wanted to work with a smaller team
FamilyGuy  +   311d ago
I think devs just get tired of being asked to make sequel after sequel of their popular game. They all want to do something different but get pressured into going where the cash is. If these devs were given some freedom they might not leave for the more freedom having indie lifestyles.
medman  +   310d ago
If they want freedom, all they have to do is sign with Sony. Sony gives their first parties all the freedom and support and let them create. If they go indie, Sony will welcome them with open arms as well.
#2.1.1 (Edited 310d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
fenome  +   310d ago
@FamilyGuy

For sure, creative freedom seems to get squeezed out of people in this Industry. It's usually because a publisher's breathing down your neck, but in this case he stuck by the publisher because they showed faith in him. Who know's what's goin' on right now, he's also writing the script for the Logan's Run movie remake, so that's gotta be a lot of weight on the shoulders as well. Only time'll tell, I only hope the best for everybody involved and that includes us gamers.

http://www.digitaltrends.co...
#2.1.2 (Edited 310d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
colonel179  +   311d ago
And he never got to release Bioshock PS Vita as it was announced.
sinspirit  +   311d ago
A lot of ports aren't done by the main development team.
KwietStorm  +   311d ago
I don't think it was going to be a port.
MrSwankSinatra  +   311d ago
it wasnt going to be a port, it was supposed to be a new entry.
curtis92  +   311d ago
I don't think it's wrong to suggest that devs getting leaner and smaller will create more creative and innovative titles... the more people working on a game, the more it can become homogenized. Not always but usually. Ken Levine will make gold with 15 people or 200 people though.
bleedsoe9mm  +   311d ago
the more "homogenized" the less risk for 100+ million dollar triple A games , create something that has the illusion of future potential but doesn't rock the boat when it come to gameplay , and the story isn't too complex or doesn't offend anyone , then annualize the hell out of it . i'm shocked the keep any good people in triple A development past the first project .
Soldierone  +   311d ago
Its stupid. You want to make "smaller" games then friggin do it, why blow up a company to do it though? 100's of people lost their jobs just because one guy wanted to try something new? really?

You can't say IG was in financial ruin either as every Bioshock did perfectly fine commercially... if they did then perhaps fire the people involved with finances because they must suck at their jobs.....
bobacdigital  +   311d ago
Bioshock according to all the rumors was in development for roughly 6 years with over 200 staff members because they scrapped it a few times.. They said development was upwards of 100 million with another 100 more in advertising... It may all be rumor but im sure part of it was true..

According to rough estimates the game sold 4-5m which technically would mean the game could have lost money / broke even depending on the price points the game was sold at.

If you factor in that Levine was prolly bored of working there for over a decade and he got pressure from his publisher to complete games faster and provide results it makes sense why the studio downsized.

They wanted a new team that was smaller with his direction.. That cleans up a lot of the expenses and also lets shareholders know that the less efficient more costly older company is gone... In the scope of things this makes complete sense..

Then again I could be making some assumptions?
#5.1 (Edited 311d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
SlappingOysters  +   311d ago
Bob I think your argument makes perfect sense. Six years on one game... you could see how disinterested he was getting as the Vita game kind of wafted away.
Soldierone  +   310d ago
I didn't disagree, but according to charts, each game sold that much.

I don't think its fair to just walk away and force people out of jobs because well.... you don't want to do your job correctly. You work for a publisher, they want results. Taking 6 years on a game and scrapping it then doing it again is not what a publisher wants. Period. If you RUN a company that big, you NEED results, you can't get those results? then pass the position to someone that can.

Instead he basically lets them all go and takes the wimpy route of doing "smaller games" in hopes that he can be "creative" and "free" to take his sweet arse time to make games. Sorry to let him know, he isn't ID Software and he isn't a pioneer like Carmack either..... Hell even Rockstar pushes out games to make up for their years of development on GTA or bigger titles. Why? To make up the cost for such long development times....
solidsheep  +   311d ago
Its kinda what you sign up for if you wanna be a game developer, your're just a contract worker.
You are almost never guarantied work after your project is done.
DarkLord1003  +   311d ago
Only difference is, the Captain normally leaves at the very end
wonderfulmonkeyman  +   311d ago
Where's all that dev expense going?
The graphics?
If so, I think that AAA devs need to focus less on sparkle and more on other areas...
solidsheep  +   310d ago
Its paying the people to work on the game.

(Just me guessing/example)200 workers at average salary of $20/hr at a 160hrs worked a month. In six years you have spent $46,080,000 on general labor.

On top of the general labor you need to pay for office/building rent, heat, water, electricity, internet.

Then you also have to pay for the music license, sound and voice recording, game/physics engines and MARKETING.

I personally think some of these developers only know how to make a good game and not how to run a effective team/business. Sony Japan Studio had a similar issue where they had to restructure the studio.

This is a good article about Sony Japan Studio and how they are trying to restructure their studio http://kotaku.com/how-sonys...
ozstar  +   311d ago
Of course he did, he cashed out leaving everyone else to fight for themselves.

prick
R3DRAIN89  +   310d ago
Only thing sinking was his pockets, and what ever happened to the bioshock PSVITA game.
Picnic  +   310d ago
There is technically no indie and 'big studio' division except in people's heads and definitions. Today's 'big studio' may have been yesterday's dream of a student.
And what it has become may be of a different ethos to how it started, depending on who still works there and what control people have.

There is just people who make games for money , people who make games for the art of it or both.

Such people can exist at either type of employment.

But at least they are both involved in making games. They create.
#10 (Edited 310d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
urwifeminder  +   310d ago
Did not enjoy bioshock series no loss here for me.
linkenski  +   310d ago
Ken Levine gets way too much attention.
GordonKnight  +   310d ago
I think games have out grown the $60 price point, but the market is not ready $100 games.

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