Report: BioShock director's new game facing troubled development

Bioshock Infinite Elizabeth Image
Bioshock Infinite Elizabeth Image (Image credit: Take-Two Interactive)

What you need to know

  • Ghost Story Games is a small studio under Take-Two Interactive, led by BioShock director Ken Levine.
  • According to a report, mismanagement of the studio under Levine has led to repeated delays of the team's next game.
  • Current and former employees allege that Levine can be difficult to work with and is prone to lashing out at individuals.

A report from Bloomberg indicates that the next game from BioShock director Ken Levine and his team at Ghost Story Games is facing a troubled development cycle. The studio reportedly began development in 2014, with several delays and complete reboots due to how frequently the game's direction changes under Levine.

Ghost Story Games is a smaller studio of around 30 people, with the the team reportedly working on an immersive sim, a game that was meant to use "Narrative Legos," per a much-repeated GDC talk from Levine. Employees allege that "The ideas and ambitions were great" but the scale of the game wasn't feasible with a small team in time for the original Fall 2017 release window.

Employees speaking to Bloomberg also allege that Levine can become moody, singling out employees and lashing out. While the team reportedly does not have to crunch in order to meet a specific target, the game's launch window continues to change as Levine frequently changes his mind about specific elements or even large parts of the overall direction. One employee notes that the game is in a better shape now and could launch within another two years.

Levine previously directed both the original BioShock and BioShock Infinite with Irrational Games, known in 2007 as 2K Boston. After the launch of BioShock Infinite, most of the staff were laid off, with Levine choosing to start Ghost Story Games to focus on game development with a smaller team.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.