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Games Entertainment

Irrational No More 50

An anonymous reader writes "Cory Banks at Gamers With Jobs has an interesting look at Irrational Games becoming '2K Boston'/'2K Australia' on the eve of the Bioshock release. It's not just about 2K and Irrational, publishers re-naming independents to generic studio names has obviously been going on for a long time. 'Rockstar Games is often credited with the Grand Theft Auto series, but the games were developed by Scottish developer DMA Designs, who were bought by Rockstar in 2002, shortly after GTA III came out, and quickly renamed Rockstar North to build up the brand recognition associated with the mega-blockbuster. Rockstar isn't even a development company at all, but a collection of development studios owned by Take-Two, sharing one brand name. The general public hardly knows the difference.'"
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Irrational No More

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  • Too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bomanbot ( 980297 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @04:46PM (#20229797)
    ...another great developer studio getting swallowed up into a publisher, like Bullfrog or Origin or countless others.

    Irrational Games was especially impressive to me because they produced some very diverse and excellent games, besides Bioshock they also made the spiritual precedessor System Shock 2 and they also developed the awesome and (IMO) underrated Freedom Force games.

    So goodbye Irrational Games, I hope 2K Games will be better to you than EA was to Bullfrog and Origin.
  • Sad but true... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ravyne ( 858869 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @04:56PM (#20229939)
    Its currently a sad fact that the game's industry is becoming more and more anonymous in many ways. There are so incredibly few "superstar" game developers - Miyamoto, Carmack, Wright, Kojima, Itagaki... If I spent some time thinking, I could probably come up with 10 or so names that have some notoriety outside of very small circles. Smaller devs are being assimilated by the big players, team sizes are growing nearly exponentially with each new generation. Its becoming a commodity business, where faceless masses simply provide a product; and it takes a great deal of personality out of the industry.

    On top of that, the publishing model works much like the music industry -- The publisher fronts money to the devs, and they don't see a profit until their royalties have paid off the development in full, sometimes with interest. Thats why there's so little innovation, and thats why a single bad title can fold a studio.
  • by CatrionaMcM ( 1088227 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:44PM (#20230445)
    "Not only won't the general public notice the swallowing of small developers, they wouldn't care if they did. Why should they?" They should care, because the small developers are the ones with a bigger incentive to try something new. If they make a bland, generic game that's just like all the other bland, generic games in the genre, the general public will buy a ever-so-slightly different generic game from the big studio name they recognise. If a small developer makes something new, then they have a better chance of getting noticed. (Yeah, I'm an optimist)
  • Re:DMA Lemmings (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Das Modell ( 969371 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:46PM (#20231903)
    A DMA game published by Psygnosis. Now DMA is Rockstar North and Psygnosis is somewhere in the bowels of Sony, called SCE Studio Liverpool. Now Irrational is just 2K Boston/2K Australia which doesn't even make any fucking sense.

    I don't like this development. Soon we'll just have games developed and published by EA, 2K, Sony or Ubisoft. Kind of like if movies were primarily identified with the studio that released them, as opposed to the director, writer, producers and actors.

    Is this really useful for publishers? Why do they want to make everything anonymous? If Irrational Games is making a name for itself, what's the benefit in getting rid of the name?
  • Re:DMA Lemmings (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Swift(void) ( 655825 ) < minus cat> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:31PM (#20232513)

    I don't like this development. Soon we'll just have games developed and published by EA, 2K, Sony or Ubisoft. Kind of like if movies were primarily identified with the studio that released them, as opposed to the director, writer, producers and actors.
    When the starting credits sequence rolls on movies, it is almost universal that the movie and production studios that were involved in the title have their logos appear on screen first, before even the actors names. I dare say what you suggest is exactly what the movie studios would want.
  • by MidniteNeko ( 1142943 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @05:13AM (#20234191) Homepage
    A small game development company/indie developer cannot afford all this publicity and ads. Not to mention they are unknown and new to begin with. A large company with a recognized brand will get more buyers and will spend much less effort to launch a new game. If Indie Game developers would cooperate on advertising and concentrate their games under single brand people would recognize and buy these games.(Yeah, they wouldn't be "Indie" anymore in the strict meaning of term.)
  • by Bagggy ( 1112373 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @02:12PM (#20239329)

    As some others here have said, its largely not about the name. It's not like 2K didn't already own Irrational Games. They've had the option to change the name if they so wished for awhile now. The Dev team at Irrational is not physically changing in any way. All the guys are still there. So it really doesn't matter unless they fire everyone on the team from Irrational, which is quite frankly, completely irrational. Why would you rename a studio and then just dissolve it?

    If there is one thing slightly upsetting about this situation, it's that Irrational Games is a much more awesome studio name than 2K Games.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats