Codemasters buys Sega Racing Studio

British developer back from the brink as publisher steps in to take it over.

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Earlier in April, it looked like the death knell had been sounded for Sega Racing Studio, when Sega confirmed that the Solihull-based studio was to be shut down. However, the Sega Rally Revo developer is being saved from the scrapyard, as today Codemasters announced that it will take over the studio with immediate effect.

Codemasters is already well established in the racing genre, having produced the Colin McRae series of rally racing games, which evolved into DiRT last year, as well as the TOCA racing series, known in its upcoming iteration as Grid.

"In seizing this opportunity, we have created additional resources to escalate our plans in the racing segment," Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens said. "We hope to welcome more than 40 people to the company and we have enjoyed the full cooperation of our friends at Sega in making this happen."

As for why the racing studio was set for closure in the first place, Sega cited the underwhelming sales performance of its flagship title, last year's Sega Rally Revo, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, as a factor. A PSP edition of the game was handled by external studio Bugbear Entertainment.

"The decision is part of a review of Sega's Western Development Studios to ensure that each studio is a profitable entity in its own right," the company said, "and unfortunately the Sega Racing Studio's five-year plan would not result in a successful return for the Sega business moving forward."

The closure would have been yet another blow for the British game development industry, which has slipped from third to fourth place in the global rankings as Canada has increased its investment into the industry. This is despite the increase in game sales in the UK, which generated revenue of £418.4 million ($828.9 million) in the first quarter of 2008, according to the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association.

Gavin Cheshire, vice president of Codemasters Studios, told GameSpot, "Codemasters Studios is on a constant growth curve; in the last 12 months we have opened and staffed up our Guildford studio, and taking over the Sega Racing Studio could take our development headcount over the 350 mark, creating a massive force in British game development. We've invested in talent, created smart technology, and, with this move, we're very proud to be able to offer the development talent at Sega Racing Studio the opportunity to be part of a great team."

Discussion

39 comments
sidious
sidious

OH, but I do want to add to the "favorites" here, my favorite Rally series is still the long lost RallySport Challenge series from the OG XBox. It may not have been as technically impressive as some, but the sheer amount of pure racing fun I've yet to see matched. My pals and I played four player split screen on RSC 1 almost as much as we played Halo. Good times.

sidious
sidious

I'm glad to see this happen. Dispite lack luster sales, I personally loved Sega Rally (the latest version), and thought it was a more complete game than Dirt, even if it wasn't as pretty. Glad to see these great developers join forces.

magicalclick
magicalclick

Totally agree with revelations. Codemasters racing games is good, but not as good as RSC2, Forza, and GT. Too bad RSC series is dead after EA bought Digital Illusion. MS should have bought it. Anyway, I think Sega Rally developer is really talented because the track deformation is really nice. However, they certainly need a good direction on how to make the game more fun and more console attractive.

Meta_Knight
Meta_Knight

Sega Rally is my favourite rally game ever!!! :)

revelations
revelations

Codemasters is always one step away from that perfect racing game. I don't know if they'll ever reach the top. Dirt was fantastic and Grid looks awesome, but do those come close to Rallisport Challenge 2, Forza, GT? Not quite. We don't get enough good racing games as it is so I take what I can get. But I still hope they can one day reach that level of quality the other (older in some cases) games have been for the genre. A genre...I might add....that has been solid only because of a few great franchises. Need for Speed and Ridge Racer have not done a whole lot of good in my opinion. But luckily Criterion and Bizarre Creations have so, more of that would be welcomed!

jackrocks123
jackrocks123

well codemasters messed up on turning point, so shows you that they don't make shooting games, lets hope they make better racing games

PacoL250
PacoL250

@DrKill09: Sometimes, there's a bit of user error involved in installation processes. Plus, a demo is a demo; it's not supposed to represent the finished product anyway.

bunnyman14
bunnyman14

If Sega brings track deformation, and Codemasters brings back simulation and weather effects they would make a perfect rally game.

cooldude03
cooldude03

Sega Rally and Colin McRae(DiRT) are both awesome rally franchises. With Motorstorm2 in the works Codemasters need all the resources they can get to compete in the rally circuit.

DrKill09
DrKill09

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I freaking HATE Codemasters! I've never liked them, and I don't want them to do ANYTHING with any former Sega studio. Their NES games were bad, and their more recent games weren't much better. On top of that, their freaking DiRT demo installed Starforce on my computer and then wouldn't run... then again, same thing with Sega Rally Revo, I guess both of these loser companies will do great together, but I ******** HATE starforce! It is killing PC gaming!

damariners
damariners

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mrklorox
mrklorox

This is good news! Codemasters make some pretty hardcore racing games for some pretty hardcore racing gamers. It is easy to blame Sega for the poor performance of the dev's last racing game... but it will be much more difficult to do so with Codemasters in the driver's seat.

Lum_Yatsura
Lum_Yatsura

I'm not too familiar with Codemasters racing games. But I hope Sega gets the genre right again. Daytona USA and OutRun 2 are awesome. ^_^

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

Glad to hear that they can make the next dirt game even better. For sega saying Sega Rally Revo was there flag ship title?? If it was I would have think they could have advertised it more. Felt like it got no attention at all. Not to mention I felt like the demo included 1 of the hardest tracks in the game (my opinion). Im talking about the Canyon track not the Safari track.

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

The brits gonna buy before they can learn it from the japs.

Mcgnnis1
Mcgnnis1

Hmm..It seems like Codemasters really want to be the dominant Racing game makers in Game industry. But nonetheless..good save for the studio. At least they will be working with some really good people in the racing game business.

EPaul
EPaul

Nice Save Codemasters

ise1880
ise1880

I guess the sega racing studio will have to change it's name since now there not owned by Sega anymore huh. Any name suggestions?

EnderSR388
EnderSR388

SWEET!!!! This is awesome news!!

majidok
majidok

Thanks Codemasters ! If only you could join forces with polyphony digital :)

speedjunkie4
speedjunkie4

zoe, you forgot that they can still make DiRT without Colin McRae's name on it.

larlarbd
larlarbd

Go CANADA to No.1 , UBI gogo UBI gogo.

Irve
Irve

that's cool ... they made a couple of good games

Gribb85
Gribb85

Brilliant move by Codemasters! SRS were of my favourite breakthrough studios of the last few years and this is a great news for British game development.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

I much prefered Dirt to Sega Rally, but with the teams combined I'm sure they will make some great racing games

Hedfix
Hedfix

Good. Now gets Flashpoint out!

zoe256
zoe256

I guess they can now make the Colin McRae brand the Sega Rally brand now, because they probably wouldn't be able to further the series now he's dead, so they'll probably make McRae games with a Sega Rally label now, still they're both great studios so only good can come from this!

Lazdude
Lazdude

Sounds like a good combination. I expect Sega's team will help in the development of the new Race Driver series of games by Codemasters.

Lord-Viru
Lord-Viru

This is the proper way of aquiring developers, EA should be taking Codemaster's example of buying businesses in danger of failing and helping them make better games instead of buying them when they're in their prime.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Good job Codemasters. You're a premier development and publishing studio - and a model for the industry. I wish you success Sega Racing Studio.

Gregoroth
Gregoroth

I thought Sega Racing Studio did a great job on Sega Rally, especially as it was their first game? I sense good things to come from this takeover. Maybe now we'll get better car handling from Sega Racing Studio devs.

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

I'm really glad Codemasters saved them. Sega Rally is a great game. It's unfortunate it didn't receive the sales it deserves.

GlaciusXL
GlaciusXL

Hell yeah! Both DiRT and Sega Rally are great games in their own respect. Anyway you mix it theres good things to come of it for Rally fans.