Many of you know by now that Irrational Games, the studio behind the BioShock series, is no more. It was announced about a month ago by Ken Levine via their website, and came as a shock to many in the games industry. Then again, considering last summer’s layoffs, the proverbial writing was on the wall
It’s easy to look at the games industry through a detached, macroscopic lens: big studios duking it out like pieces on a chessboard, profit margins, bottom lines. But this cold approach fails to take into account the real life people at Irrational Games, with bills to pay and perhaps mouths to feed, who’ve had the personal tragedy of losing their jobs.
We often read (and in the case of games journalists, write) about the “big names,” the Hideo Kojimas and the Cliffy Bs and, yes, the Ken Levines. Yet the many people whose blood, sweat, and tears went into our favorite games are rarely talked about, let alone have a voice to speak for themselves.
Which is why I found the above video so poignant. In it, the developers at Irrational Games look back on their fondest memories and proudest moments in creating the BioShock: Infinite DLC, Burial at Sea, whose final chapter is scheduled for release on March 25. It’s almost eerie, like a posthumous album released a month after the artist’s demise.
But it’s also kind of beautiful, a fitting farewell to the studio many of these people worked at for years. In a way, it provides a sense of closure, both for the viewer and the employees. But maybe I’m just a sucker for bittersweet goodbyes.