Ken Levine (BioShock) from Ghost Story Games is not in a hurry with the new game

January 3, 2022, 22:26

What can a game have after seven years of production? Apparently not the title and the release date. Ken Levine, BioShock’s father, does not hassle with completing a new project.


  1. Ken Levine’s new project has been in the making for over seven years, and apparently still has no title or release date ?? reports the Bloomberg agency;
  2. the game has been stuck in production hell for so long ?? partly by Levine himself, who allegedly had too much ambition for a small Ghost Story Games team.

When we wrote about a leak concerning BioShock 4 a month ago, we accidentally mentioned another, but brand-related production. It was a project of the Ghost Story Games studio headed by Ken Levine ?? one of the co-authors of the first BioShock.

Work on the game was supposed to end in 2020, and yet we still haven’t heard anything new about it. Apparently, Levine’s work got stuck in ‘production hell’, as reported by Jason Schreier of Bloomberg.

Ghost Game ?? 7 years with no name and no release date

The journalist states that the game was supposed to hit the market not in 2021 or even in 2020, but ?? in 2017. At the moment, the title has been in production for over seven years, which in itself could be alarming. Yes, this is not a situation like the infamous Duke Nukem Forever and does not necessarily translate into an equally good ?? effect. However, the delay of at least five years is not optimistic, especially since ?? independent ?? the game takes longer than, for example, Red Dead Redemption 2 (at one time also criticized for troublesome production) ?? especially in the context of other information from Bloomberg.

As we read in the article, the project still has neither a name nor an approximate release date, which indicates problems. This was confirmed by the fifth former and current Ghost Story Games employees, who were reached by Jason Schreier. The works were repeatedly restarted ??, the concept was changed, and Levine ?? how often is it with such reports ?? he is supposed to be a “poor manager”, unable to convey his vision to subordinates.

The creator of BioShock has not been able to finish one game for 7 years - here's why - illustration # 1

?? Source: Jason Schreier on Twitter.

The creator is also very stubborn. Apparently, developers joke about ?? Kencepcja ??, referring to the film by Christopher Nolan, in which Leonardo di Caprio broke into dreams, for example to insert ?? in not ideas in such a way that the person who later considers them their own. Moreover, it was not uncommon for one or another member of the team not to show up at work after trying to visit Levine because of some decisions.

Step on the LEGO brick

The article reveals something about what the Ghost Story Games production was supposed to be. The initial idea was what Levine referred to as “narrative LEGO”. ?? a story that would be uniquely created by each player. It is simply about pushing the typical RPG choices to a higher level: all characters would react to the player according to his actions, and these would lead to different scenarios. That would translate into a relationship with the three parties that we would get to know in this sci-fi shooter.

Disregarding the freshness of this concept? especially after more than seven years ?? it is impossible not to notice that he is very ambitious. Too ambitious for studies, which at the time of its inception had less than 30 students. This, to a large extent, was the cause of the problems. On the one hand, Ghost Story was supposed to be ?? friendly ?? a band without crunch (the latter was actually avoided, at least so far). On the other hand, Levine had a problem with losing his passion for cinematic shots (conflicting with the idea of ​​?? narrative LEGO ??) and practices from the Irrational Games studio, which he had previously managed. As a result, it looked like this as if the developer wanted to create an AAA game with a budget team.

There are also the aforementioned problems, which usually appear in the case of ambitious, painful projects, such as the constant ordering to start anew work on one or another element (even if it was not ready yet) or sudden ?? inspirations ?? Levine after a session with turkeys such as Dead Cells and Void Bastards.

Troublesome traditions ?? Irrational Games

Production problems are nothing new here. Quoted by the agency Bloomberg Mike Snight ?? one of the first members of Ghost Story Games ?? admitted that Ken Levine is a “very difficult man to work with”. Nevertheless, in his opinion, the developer is doing better than in the times of Irrational Games, partly because of a much smaller, easier-to-run studio.

This is it aversion to numerous staff was supposed to be one of the reasons why Levine decided to dissolve Irrational Games. This was a surprise (to put it mildly) for most of the employees. For the few who found out about the plans ahead of time and was about to follow their boss, it wasn’t any easier if you believe Snight’s words:

For a while we [pracownicy poinformowani o planowanym zamkniêciu Irrational Games – przyp. autora] we didn’t come to the studio. We had a really big survivor syndrome.

He also added that Levine was clearly trying to “change his behavior”, which did not, however, prevent Snight from leaving the studio with a handful of developers, including fellow Irrational Games veteran Andres Gonzalez. They and the other staff wanted a more ?? friendly, supportive ?? studies than before, but Ken Levine’s old habits made the team’s intentions diverge from reality:

The type of game sought does not match the one used [w Ghost Story Games – przyp. autora] a creative process […]. Intentions are one thing, reality is another. When a road is traveled a lot and it ruts, it takes energy to get out of the road ?? said Gonzalez.

Take-Two doesn’t rush

The de facto lack of supervision does not help. Take-Two, to which Ghost Story Games belongs, gave Levine a freedom rarely found in the industry, which was initially received with enthusiasm. However, former employees feel that it ultimately had a negative effect on the production and well-being of the team. The publisher turns a blind eye to it, hoping that eventually he will receive another Levine’s masterpiece, which he may add to his catalog. Funding the entire project is ?? what was Ken Levine supposed to say in conversations with employees? ?? a rounding error ??.

Fortunately, it does not have to be the story of a project buried by excessive ambitions, requirements or ?? let’s call it that ?? character of a deserved creator. One of the interviewees told Schreier that The Ghost Story Games team is finally satisfied with the current stage of work, although we may still be two years away from the game’s debut. Not that unofficial and relative ?? satisfaction ?? developers had more meaning to gamers, publisher and those who had left the studio (as well as artists waiting to be able to add their in-game artwork to the resume).

About Steven Mark

Fan of video games and new technologies, I am editor in this environment for several years already. I like to share my passion through news, tests and other files. I also love wrestling and Marvel Comics.

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