According to a report from Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, the next game from Ken Levine, best known for System Shock 2 and BioShock, is stuck in developmental hell. The investigation revealed more details regarding Levine’s management style and signs of a studio in turmoil.
After releasing 2013’s BioShock Infinite, Creative Director Ken Levine announced a massive restructuring of the team. After cuts left the developers at approximately 15, they would rebrand themselves as Ghost Story Games in 2017 to develop immersive and narrative-focused experiences.
We know that their first title was teased to be a first-person sci-fi project back in 2015. Since then, however, it’s been radio silence. Schreier’s report details why that is the case.
Kevin Levine is described as a person with “a singular brilliance, stubborn perfectionism, and a device ego.” Employees of Ghost Story Games blame him directly for the setbacks on their still-untitled project. In all, 15 past and present employees of Ghost Gtory spoke with Schreier.
Detailed accounts portray an environment that seems frustrating to exist in.
Those who worked with Levine say his mercurial demeanor caused strife. Some who sparred with Levine mysteriously stopped appearing in the office, former staff say. When asked, managers typically described the person as a bad match and said they had been let go, say five people who worked there. Others simply quit. The studio’s top producer resigned in 2017 following clashes with Levine.Source: Bloomberg
One interesting tidbit is that Kevin Levine refers to his studio as a “rounding error.” This indicates he feels zero pressure to deliver a finished product, which can be significant. But as Levine has also stated, sometimes that hard deadline can help get the job done.
Perhaps one day we’ll see footage about the title Ghost Story Games is working on. That doesn’t appear to be the case any time soon, sadly.