Ken Levine: Irrational’s Culture Of Mistakes
In an exclusive interview for games™’s 100th issue, Irrational Games’ creative director Ken Levine discusses the working culture that has made the studio a success, and contributed to the long gestation of BioShock Infinite.
The wait is over. Irrational’s grand secret has been revealed as BioShock Infinite, and Ken Levine is in a reflective mood. In an exclusive interview for games™’s landmark 100th issue, the studio’s celebrated creative director discussed the secret to making a great game. It doesn’t lie in getting it right, but in understanding when you’ve got it wrong.
“In terms of mistakes? Dude, games aren’t paintings. It’s more like sculpture, where you have this big rock and you keep chipping away, and it’s wrong and it’s wrong and it’s wrong until it’s right. If your culture doesn’t allow for mistakes, you’re never going to make good games. Iteration is really important here. There’s no idea that’s holy – whether it’s my idea, or Nate Wells’s idea, or Alex Kay’s idea, it gets thrown out there and people beat the crap out of it to see if it’s any good. And that requires a certain kind of personality to be okay with, because it can be kind of brutal.”
“Nothing is precious, and something that can be frustrating for people here is that we have so much iteration and there’s so much flux. I’m not a genius; nobody here is a genius, I don’t think, we just work on stuff… well, maybe a couple of geniuses, but I’m not one. We just work on stuff until it’s good. There’s no magic formula: you have some smart people, and they have the time to work on it until it’s good. You can put a patent on that.”
Issue 100 of games™ will be on-sale 2nd September. For more information follow this link.
To avoid disappointment, you can order a copy through Imagine Publishing’s e-Shop.