When do we start getting worried about BioShock Infinite?
We learned today via @Superannuation that two more lead developers have left Irrational Games, this time for Microsoft.
Infinite’s Artificial Intelligence Lead Don Norbury and Combat Design Director Clint Bundrick are just the latest in the growing list of departures from Irrational’s team, following Art Director Nate Wells and Director of Product Development Tim Gerritsen in August. Before that were other leads, including the game’s Design Director, Producer, Principal Systems Designer, Senior Level Designer and Systems Designer.
On the other hand, we also know that Irrational cut a couple different multiplayer modes from Infinite, including both a tower defense and Spec Ops style mode. Additionally, the team has picked up Epic’s former Director of Production, Rod Fergusson. Creative Director Ken Levine also told Kotaku back in August that much of the team from the first BioShock is involved with Infinite: “I don’t think there’s a single senior BioShock team member that isn’t here.”
Staffing changes are inevitable during any long development process, but it’s always disconcerting to see leads leaving so close to the end of the cycle. The likely scenario is that many of these systems are likely done or in final tweaking stages, and having the same director in place just isn’t necessary. With Ken Levine’s excellent record thus far (Thief, System Shock, BioShock), we don’t have to start worrying yet, but the news certainly puts BioShock Infinite in an interesting place and has us keeping an eye on it for slightly different reasons than we’d like.