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Activision poised to call time on Bizarre Creations

Wed 19 Jan 2011 1:39pm GMT / 8:39am EST / 5:39am PST
Development

Publisher "recommends closure" after failure to find a buyer

Activision Blizzard

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is a worldwide pure-play online...

activisionblizzard.c...

Bizarre Creations

Bizarre Creations is a medium sized video game developer based in Liverpool, England.

Established...

bizarrecreations.com

Bizarre Creations, the UK developer behind Project Gotham, Blur and Geometry Wars, is increasingly likely to close its doors after Activision recommended such action to the studio and its parent corporation today.

The move comes after the company spent nearly three months searching for a buyer to keep the studio operating as a single business concern after staff were placed on a 90 day notice period in November.

Activision COO Coddy Johnson made a statement to Develop Online explaining the decision earlier today.

"We've recommended a final option with the Bizarre team today. We've looked at all options. I want to be clear, our first choice was to try and keep this group together and find a buyer for the studio.

"We explored a lot of leads pretty much anyone you can imagine in the industry. Unfortunately, so far we've not been able to find and interested parties.

"So we've made as a last resort, a recommendation to the team for closure."

Blur was an experimental new IP for the studio, moving away from the more accurate simulation driving games which the studio had previously been known for, and was reported to have sold less that less than 200,000 copies in its month of release.

Then, in November last year, stories began to emerge that the studio was looking at redundancies and a possible closure, with Activision looking to find a buyer as soon as possible. Despite rumours that several parties were interested in the acquisition, none have yet emerged.

22 Comments

Pierre Vandenbroucke
Assistant de production

47 0 0.0
C'mon guys!
A MSR remake on XBLA and PSN, a PGR 5 on Xbox 360, and everything running again.
Well, these are my hopes, maybe Microsoft is waiting for the last moment to give a just fairly decent offer.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Steven Pick
Lead Graphic Designer

70 14 0.2
Horrible, horrible news. I wish everyone affected the best and hope you all land on your feet.

Side note - Blur is fantastic.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Sad news.
Best of luck to you all.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

David Blewett
Lead Artist

6 0 0.0
A team this good deserves to stay together. Here's hoping for a last second buyer, so you can continue the cracking development work, and carry on flying the flag for the UK games industry.

If not, all the best to every individual.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Nick Burcombe
CEO & Co Founder

53 16 0.3
Awful news in the Liverpool area again.....what a mess this industry is in.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Allan Wales
Senior artist

4 0 0.0
Once again Liverpool bears the brunt and the expandng wasteland of development within the Northwest widens, a sad day.

Best of luck to everyone.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Alex Wright-Manning
Talent Acquisition Manager

172 2 0.0
@Allan.

Too true; the North West has taken a hell of a beating over the last couple of years. I feel for those guys who've put in so much effort to make Bizarre what it was - a world class studio that attracted the attentions of the one of the world's biggest publishers.

There'll be all sorts of dissections as to what went wrong, but ultimately it's the UK industry that'll suffer as a whole. Sure, a lot of these guys will be able to find new roles here - I'm helping a bunch of them - but there are equally as many who'll be making the jump across the pond. Dark days for the UK indeed.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Martin Mathers
Copywriter/Journalist

39 0 0.0
@Steven - So are a lot of games that don't sell very well. Okami springs immediately to mind...

Posted:3 years ago

#8
A real shame as there were a lot of great people there. Hopefully we will have a chance to work together again soon.

Posted:3 years ago

#9
This is terrible news.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Josef Brett
Animator

296 0 0.0
A great shame if this is the case. A fantastic and historically successful studio.

Good luck to you all.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Christopher Bowen
Owner, Gaming Bus

118 0 0.0
Pathetic. After all of the great things this studio did, they had one flop - a flop largely caused by their parent company's stupid decision to put that game in direct competition with two similar titles, all at $60 USD - and now they're looking at closure. Why any studio would willingly sign with Activision is beyond me, and the constant defending we hear from their active studios whenever something like this happens - usually to the tune of "Activision is a great place to work for! They're really nice! They're amazing oh god don't hurt me..." - has the stink of one protesting too much.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
This is awful; yet another big British developer facing the axe. Best of luck to all involved - you've made some wonderful games over the years, and I hope there's a light at the end of the tunnel or someone comes in with an eleventh hour buyout offer.

My other thought is that hopefully people at Bizarre have something up their sleeves and may form a new development team from Bizarre's ashes, as apparently they've been receptive to the suggestion of the studio closure.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Steven Dobbs
programmer

4 0 0.0
a great pity. How can it make sense for such a great studio to be closed?

Posted:3 years ago

#14

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Christopher, its true the last year has tarnished the reputation of Activision as a parent company/Employer but its not to say that they are a bad publisher.

They do have alot of tallent and experience and sure do not always publish AAA in everything they do.

Its always easy to sit back and look at the mistakes in a title after it being released but not so much when you are working on it getting it ready for release.

Over the years I have worked with some quality teams in studios who are a shell of their former selves or no longer exist its sad but its been a very bad year for the industry and lets hope things are about to get better.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Chris Kay
Senior Level Designer

14 0 0.0
Darn, I'm confident such talented developers will have no problem finding other work. All the best to everyone there.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Richard Westmoreland
Game Desginer

138 90 0.7
This is such a shame. It's disgraceful a publisher as successful as Activision can't find use for 200 talented staff.

Posted:3 years ago

#17
Good luck to all the guys at Bizarre, my thoughts are with you. Another terrible day for the North West!

Posted:3 years ago

#18
Best of luck to those guys, very professional studio to work with. :(

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Phil Morris
Audio Producer

11 2 0.2
Fingers crossed for these guys!

Posted:3 years ago

#20

James Dobrowski
Head of Support

7 0 0.0
This is terrible news - best of luck to everyone up there!

Posted:3 years ago

#21

Jordan Woodward
Level Designer

44 0 0.0
I really hope they do find a buyer. I absolutely loved Blur, great concept. I have no idea why it didn't sell better.

Good luck to the Bizarre guys!

Posted:3 years ago

#22

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