News this week: Irrational Games is shutting down, Twitch plays Pokemon enters seventh day
Irrational Games is officially shutting down. Creative Director Ken Levine announced via the Irrational Games website that that the developer would be shutting down after 17 years of game development. Levine will be working with 15 other members of the development team to produce smaller projects for publisher Take-Two Interactive.
Levine explained that he wants to return to his roots of game development. “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,” wrote Levine. “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.”
The staff members at Irrational Games will be given financial support and an opportunity to discuss working for other developers owned by Take-Two Interactive. There will also be a recruiting day for other 3rd party developers to interview the staff. Parent company 2K games will be taking over the development of the BioShock IP; no games or other content for the series have been announced.
Irrational Games is best known for developing System Shock 2, BioShock and BioShock Infinite. All three games were critically acclaimed upon release, achieving scores above 90 on Metacritic. The second episode of BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea downloadable content remains scheduled to release on March 25th for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Mac and Windows and will be the last game content produced by Irrational Games.
Twitch Plays Pokemon has entered it’s seventh day. The growing internet gaming phenomenon has entered it’s seventh consecutive day. Over 50,000 people have joined in with the stream reaching over 100,000 viewers on Tuesday. The event has achieved massive popularity, leading to the creation of several internet memes and has generated an avalanche of fan art on Reddit.
Because of the number of people typing commands, accomplishing the simplest of tasks becomes a massive struggle. For example, a simple action of cutting a tree, which would take one person seconds, took several hours for the twitch viewers to accomplish.
Game progression completely halted when the players entered the Team Rocket Hideout maze. The high amount of inputs required to navigate this area resulted in a the players being stuck in the same building for 24 hours.
In order to resolve this issue, a new voting system was added. The current “anything goes” system of voting has been named Anarchy, while a new system called democracy has been added. The democracy system talllies the inputs every 20 seconds with the most popular input being chosen above others. Viewers can vote to decide which of these two systems is active by typing Anarchy or Democracy.
The popularity of the stream has resulted in several spin off channels such as: Twitch Plays Tetris, Twitch Plays Pokemon Blue and Twitch Plays Pokemon Fire Red. The event has also been covered by notable websites such as: Kotaku, Polygon and The Independant. The original stream can be viewed here.