Ken Levine says Irrational Games “winding down”

The studio behind the “Bioshock” series and “System Shock 2” will be closing it’s doors after 17 years of developing video games, according to a message from Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine.

All but fifteen members of the team at Irrational will be laid off in the coming weeks, to make way for a more bare-bones development team that will focus on games driven by replayable narratives to be released exclusively through digital distribution, according to the message.

This new, small team of developers will remain under to umbrella of Take Two Interactive, Irrational Games’s current publisher, which will allow them the financial security to develop at their own pace, Levine says in the message on Irrational’s website.

Levine mentions that those who will be laid off will have access to the studio space for “a period of time” in order to put together their portfolios and say goodbye to one another. A recruiting event will also be held for those losing their jobs that will allow them to meet with potential employers as well as other developers under Take-Two Interactive.

“Bioshock” had been in development since 2002.

Irrational Games was founded in 1997 in Quincy, Mass. by Ken Levine, Jonathan Chey and Robert Fermier following development of “Thief: The Dark Project” at Looking Glass Studios.

The studio initially developed “System Shock 2,” and went on to work on games in the “Freedom Force” and “Tribes” series before being acquired by Take-Two Interactive in 2005.

The studio was renamed 2K Boston in 2007, at the same time that their newest game, “Bioshock,” was released to wide critical and fan acclaim.

The name of the studio was switched back to Irrational Studios in 2010, and “Bioshock Infinite,” which would become the studio’s last game, was released in 2013 along with two pieces of downloadable content for the game. The final piece of DLC for “Bioshock Infinite,” “Burial at Sea: Episode 2,” will be released March 25, and will mark the last piece of software released by Irrational Games.