BioShock creator and Ghost Story Games founder Ken Levine has discussed why he keeps throwing out work amidst reports of development hell.
In an interview with Arcade Attack, transcribed by VGC, Levine discussed his career at and prior to Ghost Story Games, revealing what he sees as “the most important lesson in games, which I think a lot of developers struggle with, which is you’ve got to throw out your work.”
“As a writer, there’s a saying: writing is rewriting. And it’s a luxury in the games industry to be able to do that,” Levine stated in the interview. “I have been fortunate enough to be able to have that luxury and I think most of the reason that if the work I do is good, it’s because I’ve been able to say no, this isn’t working and move on and throw it out.”
Levine may see this as a luxury in his pursuit of perfection, however many former members of Ghost Story Games staff have been critical of his management style, complaining of being left demoralized and burnt out.
In a recent Bloomberg report, former employees revealed that months of work on Ghost Story Games’ announced title would often be scrapped in order to pursue a new direction which took Levine’s fancy after he played indie darlings such as Dead Cells or Void Bastards.
There’s still no word on just what Ghost Story Games’ unannounced title is, or when it will be released, but former employees have stated that an estimated release could still be two years away.
In the interview, Levine touched on this lack of announcement, saying that he doesn’t want “a long period of having to build up interest and hype because it would end up feeling fairly inauthentic and I think that gamers want to know what they’re getting and the only way to do that really is to announce closer to launch.”
“We just don’t want to go out there and show something that won’t end up being completely representative of the final game, as much as we can,” he continued, alluding to the reveal of BioShock Infinite which he feels Irrational Games debuted too early.