We haven’t heard much from Ken Levine since 2013’s BioShock: Infinite, but his renamed and restructured studio, Ghost Story Games, has been up and running for a while now. We’ve only heard the vaguest hints about their next project, but there are some clues to be found in a new job ad.
We can only assume BioShock's omission from our list of the best FPS games on PC is due to some nasal-voiced pedant arguing that "technically, it's a narrative sim."
Ghost Story’s art and animation department are hiring a level builder. Poring over the responsibilities and requirements, the following bullet-points stood out to us:
- Tell deep and meaningful stories within the environment.
- Unreal Engine 4 experience, including terrain/landscape editing.
- Experience in first-person shooters and semi-open (e.g., Borderlands/Shadows of Mordor) or open-world game.
- Deep knowledge of and experience with development of FPS/action/RPG/strategy/immersive sim titles.
- Passion for narrative first-person shooters a plus.
- Traditional art skills (figure drawing, landscape, animals, painting, composition, perspective, etc.) a plus.
- Understanding of procedural art systems in games
Some of these requirements cropped up in an earlier ad. The least we can surmise from all this is it's going to be a story-focused game built in Unreal 4, likely with a lot of action and environmental storytelling. It's harder to say much more with confidence since almost every major game genre is name-checked at least once, but shooters are referenced three times, and mention of open worlds is interesting.
Based on scraps from recent talks at EGX Rezzed, and a while back at GDC, we know Levine is aiming to experiment with the structure and replayability of narrative in games, which possibly explains the need for an understanding of "procedural art systems." Will some environments or assets be algorithmically generated to reflect story developments, or choices?
You can check the job ad for yourself here. Incidentally, Ghost Story say they're tied for first place in the games industry for employee satisfaction, with 96% of staff saying it's a great place to work.
Also, they have a bathysphere whiskey bar. I mean, I've no complaints about the PCGamesN office - the granola is great and all - but come on.