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Irrational Games Job Listing Hints At Ken Levine’s Next Project

by Mike Futter on Dec 11, 2015 at 07:00 AM

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Much of what we know about Ken Levine’s next project following the transition from Irrational Games to whatever the studio is going to be called now is about its narrative underpinnings. Levine has described the approach as “narrative Legos,” and he told me in April that early voice work was underway.

“The whole system that I came up with and that we’re developing is based upon the fact that to make an interesting character, you have to have a character who has a bunch of passions, wants, and needs,” Levine explains. “The player now has the ability to facilitate those wants or needs or go against those wants or needs or ignore those wants or needs. The reason I think the system is going to work is because it’s a very organic way to look at a character. It’s a quite systemic game. The system we’re in, the character’s feelings about you change, they go up and down. But the heart of a character is still wants and needs, and that makes it no different than anything I’ve ever written before.”

What we didn’t know at the time is just what kind of game the studio formerly known as Irrational Games was working on. A new job listing on the company’s website gives us some hints.

The position listed is a gameplay systems designer and tuner. The qualifications include having experience with semi-open world design like that found in Borderlands or Shadow of Mordor. The posting also indicates the game is being built in Unreal Engine 4.

Most interestingly, the requirements include a “passion for narrative first-person shooters.” This gives us a clearer framework for what Levine and his team are building.

Given that the studio’s last two projects prior to its transition, BioShock and BioShock Infinite, were narrative first-person shooters, the new project builds upon recent work. The crux of the project is going to be Levine’s new narrative structure.

For more, check out our two part interview with him on his past work, the influences that helped shape the BioShock games, and his current project here and here.

[Source: Irrational Games via Polygon]


Our Take
I’m eagerly awaiting any news I can get on this project, as a huge fan of Levine’s past work. The fact that the new game is likely a first-person shooter doesn’t phase me, because BioShock and Infinite both diverged from that genre’s staples. I’m hopeful that the new narrative system gives players a greater sense of agency in a medium that typically pulls players through on a fixed path (at least to some degree).