How 2K Killed Irrational Games

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Although this story is extremely depressing, it is very interesting at the same time. It is unbelievable that, after making truck-loads of money off Irrational Games for over a decade, 2K eventually just shut them down and put all those people out of work.

I am a life long video game developer. I worked for Irrational Games before they were a part of 2K. I also worked for them during their time with 2K, and I even worked with them as they shut down the final reminiscence of what used to be Irrational Games. This is my story.
 

lostinseganet

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Man that was powerful. I read the whole thing. The cost of triple A games is just rising too much. Still hyped for Final Fantasy 7 Remake though. It will definably get my money.
 

DrBorg

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Jan 22, 2005
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All companies seem to be run this way now.

Everything gets bought by some big corp, and broken and closed.

Sad.
 

Taco

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Doesn't seem to be any more insight in there. Didn't make sense before, doesn't make sense now. Why kill off such a successful brand and get rid of all the people responsible for it? Especially if Civ and NBA 2k can carry you through the occasional valley.
 

WhoBeDaPlaya

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Still can't beat EA's craptastic track record and industry reputation.
Origin, Bullfrog, Maxis, Westwood, etc.
 

BlakLanner

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Doesn't seem to be any more insight in there. Didn't make sense before, doesn't make sense now. Why kill off such a successful brand and get rid of all the people responsible for it? Especially if Civ and NBA 2k can carry you through the occasional valley.
It is simple, control. Little people decided they wanted to have control over every little thing and it killed everything the studio had going for it. Combine that with one or two lower selling titles and a short sighted "must make millions every single time" mentality, and you can see why it was done.
 

Bigshrimp

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I really appreciated the story and how it was written, it made sense to a person (like me...) dedicated to his work and trying to make a career out of it, just to get stomped on by upper management that could care less. The big wigs seem to just throw money around and could care less about the people actually making them that said money. So sad, but it's the reality we live in today.
 

Exavior

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Tried to post a reply yesterday then the site went down :p

lets try this again.

Reading the story, there is one thing that caught my attention and might actually be a true statement. "because developers just don’t understand how the games business works" While it sucks that these people lost their jobs and the studios shut down one thing that I couldn't help but gather is that this person thought those sales numbers were really high and that they were bring in huge piles of cash hand over fist. What is funny is that you have a game like Titan Fall 2 which is already being claimed by everyone to be a complete failure since it is only projected to sell about 6 million copies. Now of course there is a difference in cost between the games to create, but still you are looking at what maybe 2-3x the cost of Titan fall 2 over something like BioShock infinite or borderlands the pre-sequel. So yes the games would have made profit, but to call this hugely profitable? That depends on your meaning of huge. To some of the people here $500,000 is a good sum of money, to others that is about 1/4th the value of their house, and then to some that is what they blow on a vacation. So to some people $15 million is a huge profit, to others that is nothing. Look at other Take-Two (parent of 2K) games like GTA. GTA 5 has sold over 33 million copies, brought in billions. Now that is a highly profitable game. If you are looking at a spread sheet and see GTA 5 - 33 million copies sold and billions in profit, Red Dead Redemption over 14 million copies sold and guessing around $500 million in profits, then some game at the bottom that has sold 4 million copies and made probably around $100 million in profit which one do you care more about? Which ones are your important IPs and best sellers?

So in all honestly it could have been as simple as times were changing and they wanted to see higher numbers of games sold and better profits. Because while this guy might think that they were making the most profitable games for the company they were nowhere near that level. Or it could just be that 2K just really wanted to kill them off for the hell of it.
 

daglesj

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People need to realise that they are just a number on a spreadsheet. No one is irreplaceable or worth all that much to the bean counters. Never work that hard for anyone but yourself.

Take what you can and be ready to be dumped at any moment. Loyalty is a thing of the past.
 

rezerekted

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Wasn't it Irrational games that made Swat 3 and 4? Two of my fave games of all time. Fucking 2K, grrrrr.
 

Gorankar

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We don't have enough information to "know" why 2K made the decisions they did. They may not have had any good reasons at all, or they may have had what seemd like good reasons at the time. It may have been simple spite for all we know. I have seen enough of that to know it is far from uncommon. In fact, I think people underestimate how petty people can be. I have seen decisions be made for no other reason than spite for an "enemy". These decisions were made with the full knowledge that they were not in the best interest of the company, and in one of those cases cost millions of dollars in lost revenues for no gain whatsoever other than making someone look bad.
 

Rev Lemmon

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We don't have enough information to "know" why 2K made the decisions they did. They may not have had any good reasons at all, or they may have had what seemd like good reasons at the time. It may have been simple spite for all we know. I have seen enough of that to know it is far from uncommon. In fact, I think people underestimate how petty people can be. I have seen decisions be made for no other reason than spite for an "enemy". These decisions were made with the full knowledge that they were not in the best interest of the company, and in one of those cases cost millions of dollars in lost revenues for no gain whatsoever other than making someone look bad.
This happens all the time.
 

gamerk2

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All companies seem to be run this way now.

Everything gets bought by some big corp, and broken and closed.

Sad.
Because the only way CEO's can easily raise a companies stock price is to purchase other companies nowadays. And since CEO compensation is directly linked to share prices...you get the idea. In pretty much EVERY industry right now, there's a massive amount of consolidation as a result, leading to reduced competition and over-large corporations.

At some point, the entire thing will likely come crashing down. When it does, it won't be pretty.
 

VIC-20

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Because the only way CEO's can easily raise a companies stock price is to purchase other companies nowadays. And since CEO compensation is directly linked to share prices...you get the idea. In pretty much EVERY industry right now, there's a massive amount of consolidation as a result, leading to reduced competition and over-large corporations.

At some point, the entire thing will likely come crashing down. When it does, it won't be pretty.
This ^

Same thing has been happening in Alberta with all the small oil service startups. They start to do really well then go public and get bought up or stay private but sell out then watch it all burn to the ground a few years later. A lot can be learned from Notch. He refused buyouts for years and didn't sell until he was ready to be done with Minecraft. If you want to maintain control, stay small and private. Resist big money buyout offers and find other ways of investment. Those offers of letting you maintain creative or operational control in a buyout are nothing but BS. I know its easier said then done, but it makes the difference from being self employed to unemployed and the examples are endless.
 
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