Ghost Story Games: Ken Levine gets in the way of game development

An article by Jason Schreier, a Bloomberg journalist, reveals how behind the delay of the new Ghost Story Games game there is actually the same mentality of the founder and director Ken Levine

Ken Levine, creator of the famous BioShock saga, founded Ghost Story Games in 2017, and has been working on his new game since 2014. Jason Schreier reports the voices of 15 former members of the firm, which reveal the true nature of Levine and the numerous problems that have plagued the development of the game. While the studio was free from publisher surveillance, this privilege proved fatal to the work and mental health of the employees. And while Take-Two tolerates the situation, due to Ken Levine’s fame and talent, the latter’s work is more than damaging to the title it is supposed to create.

Ken Levine, a noxious talent for Ghost Story Games

While Ghost Story Games aims to revolutionize videogame narrative, Ken Levine’s vision appears as an insurmountable obstacle. After causing the dissolution of Irrational Games, he created a new studio under Take-Two with 11 selected members, creating a team led by an indie developer mentality and supported by a large publisher. He then tried to give life to his concept of “Lego narrative”, where the experience of each player would be unique, and the characters would react differently depending on the actions taken, changing the scenarios in each game. But with only 30 people and the continued expansion of the project, the situation was getting more and more complicated. Since Ken Levine uses the method of write and rewrite a work until you reach perfection, he ends up giving up months of work. A similar thing happened with BioShock Infinite, before a producer managed to bring the director to his senses.

Ghost Story Games: Ken Levine gets in the way of game development

In addition, the judgments that Levine makes when he goes to examine the progress in development have forced him to throw away elements that have not yet been completed. When some members of the firm later tried to confront Levine, they mysteriously disappeared from the office, or quit. His charisma attracts people; However, his nature is undermined by constant mood swings and outbursts of anger. Levine knows, however, that Ghost Story is a “rounding error” for a publisher of titles that make a huge amount of profits, and for that despite everything, continues to receive the funds for development.

According to analyst Michael Pachter, with sufficient time Levine would certainly be able to create a new franchise for Take-Two, and for this the company will not stop providing him with the necessary funding. But it seems that what Ghost Story Games really needs and the publisher, more than Ken Levine himself, is someone who can put the director in line.

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