BioShock studio Irrational Games closing its doors

The studio behind the seminal video game series BioShock is "winding down," series creator and studio co-founder Ken Levine announced Tuesday.

Irrational Games, which developed the original BioShock and its successor BioShock Infinite -- two of the most successful and critically celebrated games of their generation -- will be closing after 17 years so Levine can focus on a "smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two."

Irrational parent company 2K Games, itself a subsidiary of publisher Take-Two Interactive, will be laying off all but 15 members of the team. Levine has chosen to hand over the BioShock … Read more

Get the BioShock trilogy for only $20 until September 25

Video games can cost a fortune, but if you're just a little patient, sometimes an opportunity comes around to obtain hot titles for next to nothing. For example, Amazon has a screaming deal going on the entire Bioshock trilogy -- Bioshock, Bioshock 2, and Bioshock Infinite -- for only $19.99 until September 25.

According to Amazon, the deal slices 75 percent off retail pricing, which translates to $59.98 in savings. If you're not interested in buying all three games and would rather buy only Bioshock and Bioshock 2, Amazon has the duo at only $4.99.… Read more

Special feature: The Ken Levine interview (podcast)

Now that BioShock Infinite has been released to the masses, The 404 Show's Jeff Bakalar goes one-on-one with the mind behind the game, co-founder and creative director at Irrational Games, Ken Levine.… Read more

The 404 1,244: Where we take a spa day (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Microsoft may announce the next generation of Xbox on May 21.

- Chinese people burn Apple products to pay respect to the dead; Americans do it just because.

- Here's a list of porn currently being watched in the Vatican.

- The season finale of "Alf": could it have been done differently?… Read more

The 404 1,236: Where we're hidden in plain sight (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Cell phone towers disguised as trees are a puzzling attempt at aesthetics.

- You know you're rich when you have the luxury of turning down an iPad.

Bathroom break video: ASMR keyboard raindropsRead more

The 404 1,235: Where we charge you just for browsing (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Jeff's review: Using Appetize at a concert.

- The end of "just browsing:" Australian store charges $5 browsing fee.

- How the P2P era of SEO-baiting, intentionally mislabeled MP3s changed our taste in music.

- Hollywood embraces the Tweaser on Vine.

- T-Mobile finally gets the iPhone.

- T-Mobile launches 4G LTE network.… Read more

The 404 1,204: Where we're BioShocked by space rocks (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Clouds and strife: Building the world of BioShock Infinite.

- The bootleg games of Nairobi's Diamond Plaza.

- Leaked video appears to reveal Google's touch Chromebook.

- Someone forgot to pay their bill at, now Michel in Guides.

- The FBI's official tips to avoid being sexually extorted online.… Read more

Trailer: BioShock Infinite goes to the next level

With BioShock Infinite still months away, developer Irrational Games released a teaser trailer highlighting gameplay from the highly anticipated third installment of the series.

Previous BioShock games revolved around an underwater city called Rapture, but Infinite's story line -- set in the year 1912 -- takes place in a floating city names Columbia. We won't delve too much into the details, but the general synopsis is that the player "assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, who is sent to Columbia to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood," says the official Web site. … Read more

The 404 1,063: Where we get Russ on the regular (podcast)

Russ Frushtick from The Verge's Polygon gaming Zord joins us today for a preview of what's to come at next week's Electronic Gaming Expo.

Jeff and Russ will both be there to cover the show, and while casual gamers may still lament the lack of hardware announcements this year, there are still plenty of highly anticipated games to get their hands on, including "The Last of Us," "The Last Guardian," and the new "Tomb Raider."… Read more

E3 2011: Three is a magic number

LOS ANGELES--Look around the halls of E3 2011, and you might notice something strangely similar about many of the most-hyped games on display. There's Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, and Mass Effect 3. BioShock Infinite is the third game in that series, and Skyrim is the third modern/console version of an Elder Scrolls game (technically, it's the fifth game in the series, as there were a couple of prior PC games back in the '90s). We've also spotted Saints Row: the Third, Serious Sam 3, and Ninja Gaiden 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (the third game in that series), and there are probably a few others I've missed.

This collection of third-timers is partially a coincidence, and partly indicative of the industry's addiction to sequels. With production and advertising budgets at or near what Hollywood movie studios have been spending for years, there's a natural, and very understandable, attraction to finding a successful formula and sticking with it.

A trilogy is also a familiar construct from the larger media world that consumers are comfortable with, and the format is useful for putting together a compelling story arc over the course of three films or novels. But while most movies quit after three outings, there's no doubt you'll be seeing a fourth chapter in many of the game franchises above within a year or two. … Read more