Activision poised to call time on Bizarre Creations

Publisher "recommends closure" after failure to find a buyer

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.

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Latest comments (22)

Pierre Vandenbroucke Assistant de production, Gorgone Productions11 years ago
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.
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Steven Pick Lead Graphic Designer, Atomhawk Design11 years ago
Horrible, horrible news. I wish everyone affected the best and hope you all land on your feet.

Side note - Blur is fantastic.

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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 11 years ago
Sad news.
Best of luck to you all.
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Show all comments (22)
David Blewett Lead Artist, SUMO Digital11 years ago
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.
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Nick Burcombe CEO & Co Founder, Playrise Digital Ltd.11 years ago
Awful news in the Liverpool area again.....what a mess this industry is in.
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Allan Wales Senior artist, Evolution Studios11 years ago
Once again Liverpool bears the brunt and the expandng wasteland of development within the Northwest widens, a sad day.

Best of luck to everyone.
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Alex Wright-Manning Head of Recruitment, Splash Damage Ltd11 years ago

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.
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Martin Mathers Copywriter/Journalist 11 years ago
@Steven - So are a lot of games that don't sell very well. Okami springs immediately to mind...
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A real shame as there were a lot of great people there. Hopefully we will have a chance to work together again soon.
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This is terrible news.
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Josef Brett Animator 11 years ago
A great shame if this is the case. A fantastic and historically successful studio.

Good luck to you all.
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Christopher Bowen Owner, Gaming Bus 11 years ago
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.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
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.
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Steven Dobbs programmer, thunderworks11 years ago
a great pity. How can it make sense for such a great studio to be closed?
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 11 years ago
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.
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Chris Kay Senior Level Designer, Crytek11 years ago
Darn, I'm confident such talented developers will have no problem finding other work. All the best to everyone there.
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Richard Westmoreland Senior Game Designer, Codemasters Birmingham11 years ago
This is such a shame. It's disgraceful a publisher as successful as Activision can't find use for 200 talented staff.
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Good luck to all the guys at Bizarre, my thoughts are with you. Another terrible day for the North West!
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Best of luck to those guys, very professional studio to work with. :(
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Phil Morris Audio Producer 11 years ago
Fingers crossed for these guys!
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James Dobrowski Head of Support, Geomerics11 years ago
This is terrible news - best of luck to everyone up there!
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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Codemasters Birmingham11 years ago
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!
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