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Bioshock Infinite loses "Spec Ops", tower defence multiplayer, gains Gears of War producer - report

"I've played Infinite and it's amazing!" says former Epic man

Matters of intrigue are proceeding at Bioshock Infinite developer Irrational Games, as OXM regulars have already noted. Two Bioshock Infinite multiplayer modes have reportedly been dumped, and a significant number of key staff have resigned, including a 13 year veteran. It's not all downside, though. Epic's director of production Rod Fergusson has announced that he's left the Gears of War studio to serve as Irrational's new executive vice-president of development.

As claimed by Kotaku sources, one of the canned multiplayer modes was a riff on the cooperative Spec Ops archetype, popularised by Modern Warfare 2. The other, bizarrely, saw players shrinking down to the size of pinballs in order to battle waves of arcade machine toys, tower defence style.

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Team members said to have left the studio include art director Nate Wells, director of product development Tim Gerritsen, design director Jeff McGann, producer Joe Faulstick, principal systems designer Ken Strickland, senior level designer Steve Gaynor and systems designer Tynan Sylvester.

Irrational boss Ken Levine played down the report, commenting "in a company of 200 people you're going to have turnover." He added later: "I don't think there's a single senior BioShock team member that isn't here, which I think is amazing and a testament to their commitment to the studio."

Kotaku's contacts speak of a culture of mismanagement within the company, leading to much time wasted on "doomed" concepts. Levine wouldn't be drawn on any of this, observing only that "it's always challenging when you're trying to make a game that does a lot of different things". Chopping out features that don't quite gel is all part of development, he went on: at one point, the Bioshock Infinite team even debated cutting main supporting character Elizabeth.

As for Fergusson, he's all smiles. "I've played Infinite and it's amazing!" the former Epic exec Tweeted last night. "Can't wait for you guys to get your hands on it."

For the bulk of what's currently known about the game, read our massive Bioshock Infinite Q&A. It's out in February 2013.

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