[UPDATE] Unable to find buyer, Activision is recommending Blur studio be shuttered; US reps say shutdown "only likely option."
In November, Activision revealed that it had given the employees of British studio Bizarre Creations 90 days' notice that it might close the facility. The move came following lackluster sales of the well-reviewed Blur, an all-new racing/car-combat title that debuted in late May. The Liverpool, England-based studio's latest game, James Bond 007: Blood Stone, also did not make much of a mark at retail, despite a positive critical reception.
Since giving the 90-day notice, Activision had been looking for a buyer for Bizarre Creations, which also developed the Project Gotham Racing series for Microsoft. However, Develop reports today that no deals could be struck and that Activision is now recommending the studio be shut down.
"[We] explored a lot of leads--pretty much anyone you can imagine in the industry. But unfortunately, so far we've not been able to find any interested parties. So we've made as a last resort, a recommendation to the team for closure," Coddy Johnson, Activision Worldwide Studios' chief operating officer, told Develop. "I want to be clear, our first choice was to try and keep this group together and find a buyer for the studio. This decision comes after a few months of exhausted examination of a number of different options across the board."
A US Activision rep offered the following statement: "Having explored a range of options, including a potential sale of the business, and consulted with the staff about the options, we now believe that the only likely option is to close Bizarre Creations....Bizarre has been a great partner to Activision and we thank them for all of their efforts."
The rep continued, "We are moving to individual consultation with each of the employees who are provisionally affected by this proposal. These employees are highly skilled. We shall be consulting with them about potential suitable alternative employment, including possible redeployment in other parts of the business within Activision Publishing. We will be offering a number of tools and resources, including outplacement counseling services, to those who are impacted and we will continue to consult with employees."
If Activision does close Bizarre Creations, it would mark the end of the studio's nearly 17-year run. Initially an independent operation, it was acquired by Activision in September 2007, after which it released Project Gotham Racing 4, Geometry Wars 2, and the two aforementioned games.
Always a shame to hear studio closures, personally i've never been a massive fan of any of their games though... and the low sales indicates that not many people were. pgr3 was good for a while though.
Blur was alright, but you guys really need to try "Split/Second" because that's how you make an intense racing game properly. If they make a sequel for it they have a really good chance at perfecting it.
Activision should be destroyed along with Warner Music Group and Viacom, greedy corporate bastards. Activision's decisions are so short-sighted and dim-witted.
Too bad, they made really fun games (lookin at you Blur). I'm gonna go ahead and blame Activision for this. Way to f*** the industry some more. Bad part about gaming getting more recognition and funds is that ($_$)'s in suits start making decisions. Go back to making buttons or something.
You loose money, you loose your job. It's how it works for all professionals. Until some years ago ,there was a shortage of talent in the gaming industry, No more. Now they are affected by the same haarsh economic laws we all have to deal with in our careers.
Bizarre choice for them to move to Axe-tivision.... people still not seing the 'Pit-Falls' after all these years.... go on MS or EA buy them...plz
Do Bizzare actualy own any of the rights to the games they developed? I guess not otherwise someone would snap them up Activision must be trying to sell the studio whilst retaining IP rights. Shame cos they if they had the rights to just one game ie. PG racing or Blur they could probably get funding from a bank to make another game and go independent.
At the end of the day I am sad to see another British studio die, and once again I blame the current government for not go ahead with the developer tax relief scheme. I honestly believe that if this tax break had happened Bizarre would have remained open. In addition to this Activision are currently in a very messy case with the COD guys and are looking to cut costs where ever. Also all the top creatives will get excellent packages, and great job offers, some possibly from Microsoft. The people that always get shafted in these things are the admin people, and the guys at the local shops who rely on these guys for their business. We may all say how much we hate Activision but that soon goes out the window when they release a cracking game that we all want to play.........
no way. i dont believe this one. i thought Activision would be smarter than this but i guess i overestimated them. (sigh) anyways, what is this, number four of the great potential-having companies that Activision has closed? im starting to lose count.
whaaaaat!? oh c'mon Activision. these are great artists. do what you do best, make them make a PGR5. now, sadly that may never be =(
Only got blur this week, can't believe i never got it before. I don't see how the company that made that game is now being closed when it has so much potential. Suks
Blur and Bond were good games. Bizarre did their part. It's up to Activision to go out and sell them. You can't blame Bizarre for the sales not meeting your expectations. Shutting them is the wrong move. This studio is very talented. I suspect Activision just wants to close them. I bet they didn't ask EA if they'd like to buy them. Especially after that ordeal with the heads of Infinity Ward moving to EA. Activision sucks. Everyone should stop supporting them.
Nooooo! Such a good company I loved PGR4, I so wanted them to do PGR5, i think if they had instead of blur they would have had a hit and been able to carry on! RIP Bizarre you will be missed :-(
I blame CoD for this. Now blame yourselves stupid people. I giuess this shows the casual consumer won and why the N.Wii is on top without being HD and technological
RIP Bizarre - you will be forever remembered for Project Gotham. Given the strength of racing games developers in the UK I would hope maybe Codemasters could make use of the talent, though as they already had their own racing developers, and bought the ex-Sega racing studio only a couple of years ago, they already have a lot of racing focus developers.
That's just pathetic if you think about it. Man someone pick em up, they're a good studio. Heck Harmonix was bought for 50 bucks (along with royalty fees/inventory stuff).
Sad part is, I've only just wanted to purchase Blur. Damn, I should have bought it 6 months ago! Maybe if more of us did... RIP Bizarre Creations. I will remember Project Gotham...always.
im actually quite angry about this, feel gutted for them. Lets just hope that they get 'Snapped up' by a reputable company.
@makryu sad man there will be always People who will buy even "cod we are back again" 100-ed game, They will sink blizzard too if they won't became independents again. Remember warcraft 1,2,3, Wow, Diablo 1,2 and sc 1, 2nd game is cool but something is missing still :D, games were much cool before Craptivision. yes they are making much money yes i love cataclysm because they have returned with hard dungeons and Cool pvp it's like litle vanilla but it's also not Epic as it was in old days.
damned actvision, WTF they made good games and now they are cloosing BECAUSE it games DID NOT SOLD LIKE COD7 or blizzards cataclysm? blizzard leave activission 1 unluck and your company will be closed by Kotik so leave them fast as possible pls.
Very bad news for this well established dev - it's too bad they got bought up by Activision. Hopefully another company will get them before it's too late. PGR3 was the first game I played on Xbox 360.
So this developer had been going for 13-14 years then Activision buy them and within 4 years they get closed down? What the hell kind of company are they running over there?!
Bizarre have made some of my favourite games from the last few years, this sucks one more reason to hate Activision
Well there is still time. I think many of you would agree that Activision is far worse than EA ever was. These people have bills to pay just like all of us. Hopefully someone picks them up soon. Microsoft would be fitting. Even Sony or Nintendo. Actually I think Nintendo would benifit most from purchasing them. I hope it all works out in the end.
I didn't play either of those games, but from what I hear they were pretty good. But obviously that doesn't matter at all to Activision. All that matters is gross sales, which is dependent upon things like advertising, what genre the game is in, what other games came out at around the same time, and perhaps even the fact that a whole lot of people wouldn't buy an Activision game. But I guess that's what you get for hitching your wagon to a Kotick's horse.
I'm really sorry to read this, and hope that if Act strikes them down, Bizarre Creations shall become more powerful than Act can possibly imagine.
@Ronaldo27 That may be a better idea. That or just get them to make a good IP or capitalize on their current titles.
@blackace No, Activision bought Red Octane and the Guitar Hero franchise as they owned the rights. They handed the Guitar Hero franchise over to Neversoft and closed Red Octane down last year. Harmonix was bought by Viacom and they published the games under the EA Partners program, so EA had no part in the ownership. Harmonix is now independent again and will most likely retain their publishing agreement with EA for Rock Band.
The same reason was given when capcom closed down clover studios but the developers got together and formed platinum games giving us two awesome games this year(bayonetta,vanquish). I loved blur and i believe that developers at bizzare will find a better future for themselves without Craptivision overpricing their games!!!
as much fun as PGR is (I love that game!) i loved fur fighters more. Yes, not the best game ever, but i had alot of fun with it. Guess there will NEVER be another one..
That really sucks. It isn't their fault Activision had them put out an unfinished Bond title. As fun as Blur was, it didn't have mass-market appeal in its concept.
whats sad is this is the going to happen to other small developers. bizarre creations made fun and original tittles, yet everyone in the market is only buying the new installment in whatever series for strictly online or the game with nice graphics and 'orignal story' thats half cooked. gonna miss you bizarre!
Activision in their arrogance fail to see that there are many gamers out there that has boycott from buying their products despite whatever review the game received. So developers should seek better publishers because for myself I have stopped buying any games published by Activision since 2009. And I'm not alone. Activision doesn't provide their developers full facilities, benefits as other publishers do. Actvision are so arrogant that they releise sub-par games and then lure gamers into buying over price DLC. Most importantly Activision uses gamers without gamers realizing it as a marketing tool. Remember veteran gamers are the ones directing this industry, so if Activision think they can fool new gamers without noticing the veterans who are now around 30-45 years old, have the fund, the resources, and extreeme gaming hobbyist, then they can advertise to teens and kids who still depend on their parents for pocket money. Games are more expensive now, and DLCs aren't really the way if you release it overprice. So much competition for DLC. Feel sorry for Bizarre Creation but thats what you get for joining Actvision! Gaming since 1978, Happy gaming :)
Activision is printing money with WoW, and they won't hang on to a good studio? There must be something else we don't know about. Maybe the CEOs don't like each other or somebody slept with someone's wife. Enjoyed Blur and was looking forward to a sequel; oh well.
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