From the release of the original Bioshock in 2007 up to the mass layoff and restructuring of Irrational Games in 2014, director and Irrational co-founder Ken Levine had been an active voice and face in the video game industry. Then, following shortly after the release of Bioshock Infinite his studio downsized and Levine has slipped quietly into the background since. With the recent release of the Bioshock Collection Levine broke silence in an interview and spoke up about the physical and mental strain that keeps him from ever wanting to go back to the series.
In the interview carried out by, Levine spoke at length about the inspirations and frustrations he and his studio faced over the years they delivered and maintained the Bioshock franchise. The creative director speaks to politics, pre-release problems, and numerous other topics of interest before, during, and after the release of Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. More importantly, Ken Levine spoke at length about the strain that the series, and especially Bioshock Infinite placed on his well-being and ultimately led to his decision to quit working on it and refocus his efforts with a smaller studio.
"For you, it's an experience that you play," said Levine of Infinite. "For me, it's the five years making it, and all the things that happened while making it, and the health problems I had during it. I saw a picture of me when we first announced it. That was 2010. And then I saw a picture of me after I did an interview on NPR when we shipped it in 2013. And I look 10 years older... I think the natural expectation was that I would go and do the next bigger and better BioShock game. And I felt, 'I think I'll fail if I do that. I think I'll lose my mind, and my marriage.' And so my solution was to quit."
Indeed, the expectations behind each Bioshock game seemed to grow exponentially as more and more players discovered the franchise. Without the stress of having to conceive an even better Bioshock, Levine has since moved onto a new project which he calls "Narrative Legos" with his new, smaller team. All that is known of it so far is that it will be a single player sci-fi game which Levine intends for players to be able to replay endlessly. With so much given to the industry in terms of time and commitment, GameWatcher certainly wishes Levine the best in his latest endeavors.
You can see the full extent of Levine's interview with Glixel over at.