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Ken Levine's next game is a "small-scale open world"

"The AAA, single-player narrative game is starting to disappear."

BioShock creator Ken Levine's mysterious new project features a small-scale open world.

Sorry, Liz.

Levine revealed the detail last night speaking on NPR's On Point show (thanks, Gamespot).

The decision to feature open world gameplay stems from something Levine has been discussing for a while: how to increase the replayability of top-notch narrative games.

"The AAA, single-player narrative game is starting to disappear," Levine explained. "Kind of games like BioShock. There's fewer of them being made.

"The real reason is they're very expensive to make and I think gamers are saying pretty loud and clear that if they're going to spend $40, $50, $60, they want an experience that lasts more than 10-12 hours. That's a lot to ask somebody to spend."

BioShock Infinite was the final title from Levine's Irrational Games studio as we knew it. The developer has since been rebooted with a small team of veteran staff.

The studio is still part of publisher 2K, which is also exploring new options for the future of BioShock - likely, a new game made by a developer other than Levine.

"We started this experiment after we finished BioShock Infinite," Levine continued, "which was, 'How do you make a narrative game feel like the kind of games we've made before but make it replayable and make it extend and make it react to the players?'

"[You] make it replayable by giving players different ways to approach the problems and really letting them dictate the experience. That is not a simple problem to solve."

This approach - constructing a replayable story in a world which can be revisited multiple times - is a change for Levine after two big narrative-driven titles, where a singular story is being told.

Levine has previously described this approach as "narrative Lego".

There's no word yet on when we'll hear more of his new project, or when it will be released.