Irrational Decisions? | Weekly News

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Team17 publishing The Escapists and Ken Levine winds down Irrational Games.

November 2013, I covered The Escapists, the second Kickstarter project from Chris Davis. His first project was a game called Spuds Quest, which he released on September 14th, 2013. The Escapists is his addition to the prison break genre, a currently unpopulated area in the gaming market. It unsurprisingly achieved and surpassed it’s funding goal, which I was happy to have contributed to. He has kept backers up-to-date with regular videos on new implementations into this game which is set for release this Summer.

A few days ago, Team17 announced that they would be publishing The Escapists as part of their program to help fellow indie developers bring their games to market. Chris Davis said that he was, “looking forward to working alongside them!” while Debbie Bestwick, Team17’s Managing Director, admitted that she personally back the project and has followed it from the start, “It’s one of the funniest games I’ve played for a long time, it constantly brings those laugh out loud moments from everyone who plays it.”

Tuesday was a devastating day for a majority of the Irrational Games team, and the community as a whole, when Ken Levine announced that he was winding down the studio from over 200 to around 15. His reasons were that he wanted to make a different kind of game and to do this effectively, he needed to refocus his energy, “on a smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers.”

It was a great thing to see that these staff weren’t being left to fend for themselves, but were receiving financial support and “will have access to the studio for a period of time to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios.” They also organised, “a recruiting day where we’ll be giving 3rd party studios and publishers a chance to hold interviews with departing Irrational staff.”

People responded with messages of how influential this had been to them re-creatively and professionally. People tweeted their support, studios tweeted open positions and the community banded together to create a document which put all recruiting studios in one, easy place.

While the team received open support, many people were critical as to why the staff had been laid off in the first place. Why couldn’t Ken Levine have taken his ‘A-Team’ and promoted someone else to lead the others? Why did one person’s change of path have to affect the jobs of so many others?

– Callum

Source(s): Team 17, Irrational Games

Callum Goss

Callum Goss is a current BTEC IT student who rarely talks about himself in third-person, loves games, tweets about random shizz, and believed he had invented the word ‘shizz’ until he Googled it.

View all contributions by Callum Goss


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