Take-Two Interactive, owners of 2K Games are considering a new contract with BioShock creator Ken Levine. Sources close to the negotiations are saying the deal will give Levine more creative control over his projects on top of the ability to develop new franchises. Not a bad spot to be in, certainly, and as a fan, I'd certainly respect that decision from an artistic standpoint (BioShock is one title I personally have no hesitations about defining as art). This is something at least a few musicians in the music industry have agreed upon, and it's worked out well for them (mostly), so this looks like a positive move on the part of everyone and should benefit the fans in the long run. Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson says Levine is a valuable asset to the company, relating the talks to the EA/Take-Two buyout negotiations:
"Having certifiable hit makers on staff is rare," Wilson said. "If Take-Two tried to sell without development talent, then what would EA really be buying?"
One anonymous source commented on the salary aspect of the deal:
"Levine delivered a big hit for Take-Two and they want to give him a good deal going forward," said one source. "But 'BioShock' isn't 'Grand Theft Auto.' It's not even in the same universe."
Indeed, Bioshock has sold more than 2.2 million units, but GTA comes far closer to fitting the definition of a 'craze': it moved more four times than many units in less than three months. Not to be one of those people, but I kind of think of BioShock then as the cult superstar or whatever.
Another source says the contract could include the potential to 'earn points' as actors do with movies. Basically, he'd be making a commission on his games, 1-3% to be exact; presumably this is in addition to a standard salary. This is not entirely new in the the video game world, and I wonder if this became the standard, would it make for a more or less stable industry? Interesting.
Take-Two and Levine's representative declined comment on the negotiations.