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    Friday, January 13, 2006
    Gamespot Interviews Ken Levine - 1:02:34 PM EST - Dave

Hot on the heels of the acquisition their acquisition by Take-Two, Irrational Games' General Manager, Ken Levine chats to Gamespot about the Take-Two deal, BioShock and the future.

What is a new item without a snippet?

GS: How will the deal affect Irrational's operations? Will there be any layoffs?

KL: Quite the opposite. Since the acquisition, the team size on BioShock has nearly doubled.

GS: What about Irrational management--will it remain in place?

KL: I hope so, as I'm fond of money and health care. The truth is, the kind of layoffs you're talking about happen when large companies acquire other large companies and they get rid of duplicate marketing, accounting, and other functions. At a small developer, they're hiring the development talent.

GS: Will the Irrational brand remain intact or will it be renamed? Will future games carry the Irrational brand?

KL: I think the brand was one of the things they were interested in. Somebody said it recently: Irrational's games never suck. I like that for a brand identity.

You can read the rest of the interview by following the link at the top of this new item, but as you're all the way down here you might as well follow the one down here.

    Take-Two Interactive, Inc. Acquires Irrational Games - 2:44:04 AM EST - Dave
Direct from Take-Two's website

New York, NY – January 9, 2006 – Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) today announced the acquisition of Irrational Games, the award-winning development studio behind such titles as System Shock 2 and Freedom Force. Irrational Games joins the team of development studios under Take-Two's 2K Games publishing label.

2K Games has multiple titles in development at Irrational's North American and Australian studios. The first title to be published under the 2K Games label will be BioShock, a role-playing shooter for next-generation console systems and PC. Already anticipated by the gaming press as one of the most innovative next-generation titles, BioShock is planned for release in early 2007.

"We saw a rare opportunity with Irrational Games, a development studio that has consistently produced creative and original games," said Christoph Hartmann, Managing Director at 2K Games. Susan Lewis, VP of Business Development at 2K Games, added, "2K Games will provide additional resources and support to the Irrational team so they may continue to deliver cutting-edge games."

"We are excited to be aligned with a publishing label like 2K Games that shares similar development goals and vision," said Ken Levine, co-founder and President of Irrational Games. "Fans will be blown away when they see the next-generation titles we are working on."

Along with this confirmation that Irrational has been acquired by Take-Two, it also shows BioShock as having an early 2007 release. Yay!

    Take-Two Acquires Irrational? - 2:26:10 PM EST - Dave

Gamasutra has an article on unconfirmed reports that the developer of System Shock 2, Freedom Force, SWAT 4 and BioShock has been acquired by publisher Take-Two

According to unconfirmed reports from employees of developer Irrational Games, the company has been acquired by U.S. publisher Take-Two Interactive. The two companies have already been working in close conjunction, with Take-Two registering the trademark for and agreeing to publish Irrational’s forthcoming game BioShock.

BioShock has been variously described as the spiritual successor to System Shock 2 (the trademark for which, perhaps coincidentally, Electronic Arts was yesterday reported to have renewed), which was the developer’s first game in 1999. Subsequent titles have included Freedom Force, Tribes: Vengeance and SWAT 4 – produced from the company’s Boston and Braddon, Australia studios.

The staff e-mail allegedly describes the release date of BioShock as being 2007 for the PC and next generation consoles, which suggests significant confidence in the game’s quality on the part of Take-Two – with the developer not known to be working on any other titles.

Despite disappointing financial results in 2005, this new acquisition is another example of Take-Two’s attempts to expand its portfolio beyond the Rockstar and 2K Games brand. As was the case with the purchase of Civilization developer Firaxis Games last November, Irrational Games are best known for their PC titles suggesting that Take-Two stills attaches considerable importance to the format.

Make of that what you will. If true I think it's not necessarily a bad thing - there are far worse things to happen and publishes to be acquired by!

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    System Shock Trademark - 2:19:42 PM EST - GBM

I had a look at the December 15th trademark registration Electronic Arts took out for "System Shock" (serial # 78773880, if you want to go look for yourself... though it's nothing spectacular and all the pertinent info is in the quote box to follow)

"What would it be," I wondered. "Probably a combination of IP protection and getting ready for a budget version rerelease of SS2..." But that didn't sound quite right to me, seeing how -- as the publisher -- EA is perfectly within its rights to rerelease any games in its library as it sees fit.

Here's what I found as the Goods and Services descriptor:

IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer game cartridges; computer game discs; interactive multimedia computer game programs; downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; computer application software for mobile phones; computer game software and entertainment software for use on mobile and cellular phones, handheld computers, computers, video game consoles, both handheld and free standing, and other wireless devices.

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Providing a computer game that may be accessed network-wide by network users; providing an online computer game accessed and played via mobile and cellular phones and other wireless devices

Perhaps that strikes you the same way it struck me.
That is to say,

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    New SS fanfic from RocketMan - 7:07:07 PM EST - D`Arcy
RocketMan has sent us his new System Shock fanfic, The Iterative Man.

As usual, the story is available in our fanworks section, and you can also download the .doc file here.

A very entertaining read, as usual. Good work RocketMan!