Reports of the demise of Irrational Games were apparently an exaggeration, as the studio has posted job listings for two positions, one of them being a senior programmer familiar with Unreal Engine 3 and 4. Job listings aren't the sort of thing we normally pay much attention to, but earlier this year founder Ken Levine announced that he was "winding down" the studio in order to start something new and "more entrepreneurial" under the Take-Two banner.
The studio is currently seeking an IT Manager, who will "hold end-to-end responsibility for all servers, workstations, network infrastructure and applications," but it's the senior programmer position that I think is more relevant to our interests. The position requires experience "architecting and implementing AI and gameplay systems," and will "will work directly with the Lead Programmer, along with the Animation, Art and Design teams to create fun and interesting AI opponents and gameplay elements for our next title." The listing also notes that among many other desirable skills, "multiplayer experience is a plus."
There is of course no indication as to what Irrational's next project will be, but the fact that there will be one at all is interesting in and of itself because of Levine's apparent farewell to the studio in February. "I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it," he said at the time. "I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two." He said he'd initially intended to launch his new venture with a "classical startup model," but Take-Two convinced him to pursue the project under its auspices.
Presumably the "as you know it" is the key quote from Levine. He didn't explicitly state that Irrational was done, although it certainly sounded like it, and many sites reported it as such. The first and foremost question at this point, then, is whether these job listings mean Levine's new operation is bulking up, or that Take-Two is bringing the famed studio back to meaningful life. We've reached out for more information, and will update if and when we receive a reply.