Budcat put down

Activision shake-up continues with closure of studio behind Blast Works, Guitar Hero ports, trimming of California QA team; 88 positions impacted.


After finding instant success with the acquisition of Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane in 2006, Activision went on a spending spree of sorts. The publisher picked up Bizarre Creations in 2007 to jump-start its efforts to establish a presence in the racing genre and purchased Blast Works developer Budcat in 2008 for its work on the Guitar Hero franchise and Nintendo platforms.

Here's hoping the Budcat crew land on their feet.
Here's hoping the Budcat crew land on their feet.

The publisher is apparently enduring some buyer's remorse, as Activision confirmed for GameSpot today that it is considering selling Bizarre and has outright closed Budcat.

"We continue to streamline our music development resources to ensure that they are aligned against our slate and strategic goals," the company statement reads. "As a result, we are implementing a targeted reduction in jobs in our Quality Assurance team in California and closing our Budcat studio in Iowa. Budcat has been a great partner to Activision and has created a lasting impact on the Guitar Hero franchise.

"Approximately 88 positions, or approximately 1 percent of our global workforce, will be impacted by these reductions," the statement continued. "We are working to redirect those employees that are impacted to other parts of the company where possible, as well as offering them outplacement counseling services."

Budcat already had a working relationship with Activision before being acquired by the publisher, having developed the PlayStation 2 ports of Guitar Hero games like World Tour, Legends of Rock, and the Aerosmith-dedicated spin-off. Beyond that, the developer had worked on ports for the Madden NFL series and Psychonauts, as well as original titles like New York Times Crosswords on the DS and Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy on the Wii.

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