BioShock creator Ken Levine has been relatively quiet since the release of BioShock Infinite in 2013, but he’s still at work on new video game projects. In fact, his latest one is already playable, but he’s only rolling it out among a very select few participants.
In a tweet, Levine told a fan, “We’ve done some friends and family testing but that’s all at this stage.” Friends and family tests are usually conducted relatively early in development. It does mean the game exists in some form of playable state, however.
Levine hasn’t talked much about the direction for his next project. He gave a talk at GDC 2014 about a concept he dubbed “Narrative Legos.” The idea involves distinct storytelling pieces that can be reassembled to make new combinations and in different orders, making a story-driven game that can be replayed endlessly.
He said in an interview in 2016 that he stopped leading BioShock games due to adverse effects on his health and relationships. He said at the time he’s more interested in smaller, experimental games–possibly like the Narrative Legos concept he outlined. Levine still heads up the studio formerly known as Irrational Games, now Ghost Story Games, though it has scaled down significantly since making the BioShock series.
BioShock and BioShock Infinite were both critically acclaimed. “BioShock Infinite isn’t afraid to magnify the way religious and racial extremism inform our culture and change lives,” critic Kevin VanOrd wrote in GameSpot’s BioShock Infinite review. “It isn’t afraid to depict a less-than-holy trinity diseased by power, deception, and manipulation. As the story circles back on itself, you’re left wondering whether redemption cleanses us of our atrocities, or simply invites us to commit greater ones. Once the finale comes, you will want to play again, watching each event and image through the lens of information you can never un-know. BioShock Infinite is more than just a quality game: it’s an important one.”