Publisher 2K announced today that development has started on the first new BioShock game since 2013’s BioShock Infinite. But Ken Levine, who served as creative director on Infinite and 2007’s original BioShock (and as lead designer on System Shock 2) will not be involved with the new project.
Instead, the new game “will be in development for the next several years” by Cloud Chamber, a 2K-subsidiary studio based in both Novato, California and Montreal. Veteran Firaxis game producer Kelley Gilmore will be heading up the new studio and confirmed to GamesRadar that the BioShock project will be moving forward without Levine.
“Ken and his team at Ghost Story Games are fully engaged in developing a new experience that will surely be another incredible game for all of us to enjoy,” Gilmore told the site. “He is not affiliated with Cloud Chamber or the development of our BioShock title.”
Levine’s lack of involvement in the new project isn’t that shocking considering his 2014 announcement that BioShock studio Irrational games was “winding down” and transforming into “a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor.” Not much has been said publicly about what the rebranded Ghost Story Games has been working on since then, but Levine said in a 2017 interview that he was inspired by Shadow of Mordor‘s Nemesis system and is working on a “much more ambitious” version of it for Ghost Story’s first project.
Levine was also not directly involved with the development of 2010’s BioShock 2, which was helmed by Novato-based 2K Marin. Levine did receive a “Special and heartfelt thanks” credit for that sequel, however.
As for BioShock, the new title will feature series veterans Hoagy de la Plante (as creative director), Scott Sinclair (art director) and Jonathan Pelling (design director), Gilmore said. Former Zynga General Manager Ken Schacter will serve as studio manager for the Montreal office. Cloud Chamber is also actively recruiting for dozens of positions that will form the core of the new BioShock team.
“We founded Cloud Chamber to create yet-to-be-discovered worlds – and their stories within – that push the boundaries of what is possible in the video game medium,” said Kelley Gilmore, Global Studio Head, Cloud Chamber. “Our team believes in the beauty and strength of diversity, in both the makeup of the studio and the nature of its thinking. We are a deeply experienced group of game makers, including many responsible for BioShock’s principal creation, advancement, and longstanding notoriety, and honored to be part of the 2K family as stewards of this iconic franchise.”