Ken Levine Wants to "Go to the Outrageous and Ridiculous" With His New Project

Ken Levine Wants to "Go to the Outrageous and Ridiculous" With His New Project

He also says he's still not involved with 2K's new BioShock.

Last year, news that 2K founded a brand new studio to work on a BioShock title had many wondering what Ken Levine and the team at Ghost Story Games are up to. Formed by Levine and a small group that stayed at Irrational Games after its downsizing in 2014, Ghost Story has been working away at a debut title. At a recent event, Levine confirmed he's not involved with the new BioShock and gave some interesting (if vague) comments on what's coming from Ghost Story.

Speaking on a panel at Gamelab Live (via Videogameschronicle), Levine confirmed that he's still "working on [his] own thing" rather than pitching in on 2K's BioShock revival. "I think I sort of said what I wanted to say about it, so I wanted to do something a little different," he adds. In December, when Take-Two unveiled 2K's Cloud Chamber and announced a new BioShock, it noted that Levine was not involved—still, given that Take-Two owns Ghost Story, some sort of arrangement would not have been out of the question.

Instead, Levine shares that while he "can't really talk about" Ghost Story's project, he can say that there's "some weird shit in it." Previously, Levine has talked about the project involving an idea he likened to "narrative Lego," allowing for a story-driven experience with a degree of replayability.

Without specifying whether he's referring to the project's content and setting or if he's talking more about the underlying systems, Levine teases that project should have people wondering if it's too out-there. "I think if you don't have people saying, 'that sounds a little insane,' you haven't gone close enough to the edge," he says. "Because the great stuff exists on the edge of 'over the top' and 'just OK' [and] sometimes you've got to push past the point and make something outrageous and ridiculous, then pull it back.

"But if you don't go to the outrageous and ridiculous, you never know where that boundary is... that means you've got to go into the office sometimes, tell people things, and they're going to look at your like you're insane, and then you sort of bring it back to something that you can actually accomplish."

Levine first discussed his concept for his current project back at GDC 2014. Not long after introducing the world to Ghost Story Games in 2017, Levine told Eurogamer's Oli Welsh that the team was interested in making a game that "tests you both with difficulty and how it works," adding that the project aims to be "a more difficult experience" than either of Irrational's BioShock titles.

It may be a long time yet before we see the debuts from Ghost Story and Cloud Chamber. Ghost Story has not shared any information on when it hopes to complete its project, and 2K says that Cloud Chamber—which has reportedly been working since at least early 2018—expects to spend "the next several years" working on its BioShock title.

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Mathew Olson

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Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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