Is Bioshock Infinite in development hell?

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Bioshock Infinite, from Ken Levine’s Irrational studios was meant to be released this October – but it’s been delayed to February next year. The delay came as a bit of surprise – because everything we’d seen of the game had us believe that that it was pretty far along – even winning our best of E3 last year. According to “inside sources” though, the game is anything but far along – and could be in a spot of development hell.

According to Kotaku’s ninja spies, Ken Levin and his team “has struggled to craft a full game that meets the promise of its early demos”.

They also report that the game’s two multiplayer modes, which have been worked on for months and are ostensibly one of the principal reasons for the games delay, have been canned completely. The game, should it ship in February as planned, will be a single-player title. Making everything worse is a compounding rumour that many of the team members that were working on the game have left – including  design director Jeff McGann, producer Joe Faulstick, principal systems designer Ken Strickland, senior level designer Steve Gaynor, and systems designer Tynan Sylvester, among others.

Irrational, the rumour says, has been forced to bring in outside help – including Epic Games’ Rod Fergusson (who’s confirmed he’s leaving Epic for Irrational, adding a dash of credence to these sad rumours)

Addressing the rumours, Levine told Kotaku that “in a company of 200 people you’re going to have turnover,” confirming the departures of Tim Gerritsen, director of product development, and art director Nate Wells.

“We never like to see a guy like Nate leave because he’s been here for a long time but it’s been 13 years and I think sometimes people want to spread their wings,” Levine said.

Levin’s staying as upbeat as he can – and firmly believes that the team – comprised as it is of BioShock 1 staff – is capable of making release date.

“As far as the team itself, the lead artist, the art director, the creative director, the lead effects artist, the senior sound guy, the lead programmer and the lead AI programmer from BioShock 1 are all on BioShock Infinite,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a single senior BioShock team member that isn’t here, which I think is amazing and a testament to their commitment to the studio.”

It seems that Irrational’s put too much focus on multiplayer and lost a bit of focus; but I have unwavering faith in Levin to put out an incredible game. As Infinite’s a game I can’t wait to play, I really hope I’m not wrong.

Last Updated: August 10, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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