BioShock Creator Ken Levine’s New Game is Reportedly in Development Hell

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BioShock fans have been waiting eagerly for news on creator Ken Levine’s project for nearly 8 years, but if new reporting is to be believed, the project might not see the light of day for quite some time. In a new piece for Bloomberg, Jason Schreier spoke to several current and former staffers that have worked with Levine, who state that the game has been in development for eight years, and might not see release for at least another two. Employees point to Levine’s managerial style at developer Ghost Story, as well as publisher Take-Two Interactive‘s hands-off approach, as the reason development has taken so long.

According to the reporting, Levine’s restless personality has caused a significant number of issues for the new game’s development. Levine apparently wants a game as ambitious as BioShock, but with a much smaller staff of developers. He apparently has a penchant for dropping content in development for several months, which has also caused stress for his staff. Some staffers even claim that Levine’s plans for the game will shift as a result of playing new indie titles, such as Dead Cells, or Void Bastards.

Without a set release date, employees have had the benefit of not worrying as much about crunch time, but Schreier states that there are other complications: notably, publishers don’t allow the sharing of assets for games that haven’t been completed. This means that staffers that have left Ghost Story are unable to show potential new employers their most recent work. And it’s not hard to imagine why some employees have left, as Levine can be “moody” and “lash out, singling out an individual, while berating them in front of their co-workers,” according to Giovanni Pasteris, a former AI programmer at Ghost Story.

A lot of time and effort goes into video game development, and there are a lot of people involved in the process. It remains to be seen whether Ken Levine’s next project will prove worth the years of development time, but it seems like Take-Two is in no rush to have it release. For now, however, it’s easy to understand the frustrations of current and former staff.

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