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Activision Moves To Close Bizarre Creations
Activision Moves To Close Bizarre Creations
January 19, 2011 | By Kris Graft

January 19, 2011 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

After announcing that it would consider the sale of Project Gotham and Blur developer Bizarre Creations, Activision said Wednesday it is now recommending closing the wholly-owned studio.

A UK Activision representative confirmed to Gamasutra reports that time is up for the Liverpool-based studio to find a buyer, as chances of a new owner have diminished to virtually nil.

Activision purchased Bizarre in 2007, as the publisher aimed to gain a greater foothold in the racing game genre. But the studio's most recent racing game Blur "did not find a commercial audience," according to the publisher.

Activision announced in November that it put Bizarre's staff on a 90-day notice that some type of restructuring or closure could take place. The three-month window is in accordance with UK labor laws.

Now that Activision has recommended the closure of the studio, Bizarre will accept the recommendation, Activision Worldwide Studios COO Coddy Johnson told UK-based website Develop.

"I want to be clear, our first choice was to try and keep this group together and find a buyer for the studio," he said. "This decision comes after a few months of exhausted examination of a number of different options across the board."

"We of course care about this team. We're offering the studio as many resources as possible, including counselling, external placement services and external career fairs," he added. Johnson said the recommendation of the studio's closure is "a last resort."

Bizarre released the combat racing game Blur in May 2010, and the console versions of action title James Bond 007: Blood Stone in November. The company is also behind the Project Gotham Racing and Geometry Wars series.

The UK developer formed as Bizarre Creations in 1994, although the studio's roots go back into the 1980s. Last year, the developer had 200 workers.

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Sad to see them go. Good luck Bizarre.

Jonathan Fallert
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Very sad news. If Bizarre does close, we will be losing one of the best racing developers in the industry. I wish them all the best and hope to see them reform into a new studio to keep that incredible tech and game design knowledge together. P.S. Blur is fantastic.

Matthew Mouras
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Blur is a gem - as is Geometry Wars... Hope a good portion of the team stays together and moves on to a project they enjoy.

Kenneth Bruton
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M$ should have bought them. They made the Gotham Racing Series and the GEOMETRY WARS was a huge hit on XBLA...Maybe they still can...

Glenn Sturgeon
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Its a shame to see a developer of Bizarre Creations quality go.

Thanks for the great titles over the years.

Best wishes to you all!!

Lo Pan
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How many developers have delivered quality/good games in the last two years, only to see the game fail or under perform at retail. Unsure of where the blame lays for this (customers, price point, marketing), but good teams are being disbanded due to it. In the brutal bottom-line/shareholder is king system ATVI runs, this is the result.

Good luck to all affected.

Paul Lazenby
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So with this latest (potential) closure, Activision once again proves that they have a really hard time managing studios under their wing. In fact, I'd imagine that if it wasn't for COD and Blizzard, there would be no profit in the company at all.

BC is unfortunately failing at their own hands - they needed to reinvent the racing genre, and Blur was anything but that. I have to honestly admit that I liked Split Second way better.

Maybe the devs will have another chance with a new company....

Scott Jordan
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I wonder how aware the shareholders of Activision are of it's low regard within the industry and with fans?

At our small company we are looking for a project, making pitches and proposals to various entities and if an idea in any way involves Activision it goes right to the bottom of the list.

Mark Harris
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CoD is selling 20 million copies, and WoW is still sucking in major amounts of cash. That is what shareholders care about.

Blur didn't sell, so shareholders aren't going to get up in arms over the studio closure. Even if they were wholly independent they still would have to close or sell because their games haven't been selling.

Now, we can only speculate as to WHY their games haven't sold, and that could possibly be put on ATVI's shoulders, but as long as they have their cash cows the investors won't complain.

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Samuel Batista
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To developers that will get laid off:

Please form a new studio and focus on creating Geometry Wars style games. I loved the one for the Wii (Galaxies?) and DS, please make those kinds of games for XBLA.

I need more of that kind of game. Please.

Kevin Patterson
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Blur was a good game, it didn't get the attention it deserved.

I'll admit I'm not a PGR or MSR fan, but I know plenty of people that are.

My hope is that MS provides funds for some of these guys to form a new studio and make a new PGR.

Dragos Inoan
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Geometry Wars IS one of the best games ever made. Sad to see that the few people that worked on it were fired instead of the other 100 people present on the credits. Sadly their other projects were mediocre. Don't know why, but that's the sad reality. Anyways, hope the guys that actually did the development bounce back quickly

Amir Sharar
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Though I'm a huge racing game fan, BC have been one of my most favourite developers in general. I was really, really hoping that MS or Sony would have picked them up.

I understand that Codemasters absorbed the SEGA Racing Team years prior and probably can't do the same for Bizarre...but the talent at Bizarre would be too good to pass up.

I wish the best for all those involved.

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Rob Hughes
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PGR2 was a labour of love, and it's quality really helped it sell. In my opinion, when MS offered them large bonuses to get PGR3 done in time for X360 launch (I spoke with a dev at the time) and they released a game lacking in quality compared to PGR2 (in features, track quality, etc.), they started down a slippery slope that they never recovered from. Playing Blur and Blood Stone recently I have been left annoyed at Bizarre for what I feel is a lack of innovation (Blur was nothing new, Blood Stone is very limited outside of the story).

I do hope they re-form and make different games again, ones that are interesting and fun again.