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Activision Is 'Exploring Its Options' Regarding The Future Of Bizarre Creations

Sources say the house that created Project Gotham Racing and Blur has been shuttered.

Bizarre Creations, the developer behind Project Gotham Racing, Blur, Geometry Wars, and the latest James Bond game, sub-titled Bloodstone, has been closed by Activision, according to a NeoGAF thread and our own confidential sources. 
 
According to a source, Bizarre Creations will be going through a "90-day consultation period, statutory redundancy." The NeoGAF thread on this subject states that all 200 or so staff at the studio have been made redundant. Bizarre employees have known about today's closure for just about three hours.
 
A press release about this is said to be forthcoming.  
 


UPDATE: Joystiq has a bit of clarification on the "90-day consultation, statutory redundancy" thing. Bizarre is sorta in the process of closing. This 90-day period gives notice to employees that a company is going to be shuttered or sold or downsized.  
 
UPDATE 2: Shacknews and other websites have received the following boilerplate from Activision regarding this. Just to be extra clear, our sources believed Bizarre was toast at the time we reported this. It appears now, though, that the studio isn't closing immediately as was feared. It's possible that within this 90-day period someone can buy Bizarre and save the jobs that were supposedly made redundant.
 

Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations, the fundamentals of the racing genre have changed significantly. Although we made a substantial investment in creating a new IP, Blur, it did not find a commercial audience. Bizarre is a very talented team of developers, however, because of the broader economic factors impacting the market, we are exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business.    

454 Comments
Posted by Tordah

What the hell? This was totally unexpected. Bizarre Creations is an awesome studio. :(

Posted by DarkTravesty
@sharma55 said:
" FU ACTIVISION! "
this, the majority of savvy gamers knew this was going to happen. activision buyout crank out a few games and shutter the studio. bizarre should have stayed with microsoft.
Posted by SlightConfuse

maybe they will form another studio and becom an EA partner or something.  
 
back to microsoft ?
Posted by Wacomole
@animathias said:
Seriously! Who at Activision thought it'd be smart to release a new IP in the same window as Split/Second and ModNation Racers? They could have waited 1 month and been completely clear of all other racing competition, or released it a month earlier with promises of a free DLC pack with a bugfix patch to hit right before Split/Second. "
From the current wave of releases being delayed left right and centre, one might think that the industry has learned a lesson from that.  But they probably haven't.
Posted by Zlimness

Wasn't matter of IF Activision would shut down Bizarre, but WHEN. Its always sad to see a racing game developer go.

Posted by TheKing

Sell your soul to the devil and this is what happens. Look forward to a similar fate Bungie.

Posted by ___pocalypse

:( I love Geometry Wars!

Posted by cmsJustin

Ha! There's the obligatory topical fake twitter account: http://twitter.com/BobbyKotickCEO

Posted by hi_im_rob

This is a disgrace

Posted by shinluis
@ThrdDegreeBurns said:
" Just furthers my disgust for Activision. "
Yes.
Posted by stinky

  
doing some googling it appears as if its been a long time since anything they did was a financial success.  bomb after bomb in terms of sales. 
  
didn't see the figures for james bond but im going to go out on a limb here and say it was no Halo.
 
in short, you can't blame activision. 
condolences to those who lost their jobs.

Posted by Genjai
@raiz265 said:
" Kotick'd "
Posted by astonish

Hopefully from the ashes a new studio to continue the PGR franchise will arise. MS still owns the PGR license and the entire tool chain

Posted by AndyMP

The point here is that Bizarre made totally awesome games before being taken by Activision. PGR !!! Geo Wars !!! Activision take control and Bizarre takes the flak for their incompetence. Was it Bizarre or Activision for example who chose to release Blur the exact same time as Split/Second, a game totally competing for the same market. That's incompetence imo.

Posted by MJHAYLETT

should have maybe stuck to PGR games.

Posted by murse2008
@Kyreo: They could band together and make Indie games. At least that way you get new IPs.  Still though, my condolences to the people involved. 
Posted by voltan

I loved PGR series and Blur. Now I really feel bad for buying BLOPS.

Posted by Sil3n7

This is really messed up.

Posted by MasterXell

It's getting to the point where Activision is the new EA. They are constantly making it harder and harder to like them, running their companies like god damn sweat shops. I pray to god, or whoever that Microsoft comes in and saves BC, because its a great company, with potential when in the right hands.

Posted by HistoryInRust
@DukeTogo: We'll have to agree to disagree. It's not really a matter of "correct" or "incorrect."  
 
All their products were technically sound and competent at worst. At best, they scored with several cult classics. It was a talented studio. And even if you didn't dig the stuff they made, that's not a justifiable reason to sanction the studio's being closed.
Posted by Halberdierv2

*facepalm*
Posted by TadThuggish
@Ragdrazi said:
" I'd like to again remind everyone who bought Black Ops that they are part of the problem. "
These are not correlated.  People who play games should be out to play good games, not pick and chose in an effort to "stick it to tha man!"  If that's the case, you don't love video games as much as you love having a community that creates and reinforces your beliefs.
 
Why do you even go to Giant Bomb, a gaming criticism website where you pay attention to a set of people and their viewpoints, if you're going to say something so narrow-minded and uneducated?  Why go to a website that's all about critical thought, when you're more at home at NeoGaf or 4chan where all your opinions can fit into a short, unnecessarily fringed sentence?
Posted by Nicholas

ACTI-ASSHOLES. Fuckers. YOU'RE REDUNDANT!

Posted by MeatSim

Well that sucks.

Posted by TadThuggish
@AndyMP said:
" The point here is that Bizarre made totally awesome games before being taken by Activision. PGR !!! Geo Wars !!! Activision take control and Bizarre takes the flak for their incompetence. Was it Bizarre or Activision for example who chose to release Blur the exact same time as Split/Second, a game totally competing for the same market. That's incompetence imo. "
Geometry Wars 2 was released under Activision.
Posted by Bobby_The_Great
@TheMasterDS:

Yeah, Blur sold really poorly. And while playing online, there were only 200-400 people online at most worldwide... :(
Posted by Foxillusion

Activision's mom is redundant.

Posted by radioactivez0r
@stinky said:
"   doing some googling it appears as if its been a long time since anything they did was a financial success.  bomb after bomb in terms of sales.   didn't see the figures for james bond but im going to go out on a limb here and say it was no Halo. in short, you can't blame activision. condolences to those who lost their jobs. "
If a studio makes solid games that don't sell well, yeah, you can blame Activision.  Should Bizarre have done their own marketing?  Whatever, I get that there's a bottom line in this industry and it's very "what have you done for me lately", but this is totally unexpected.  Have an off year and you suddenly are dragging the ship down.  Sigh.
Posted by carlthenimrod

This is awful news.

Posted by Lokno

I had heard that sales over the first two weeks of a game's release are seen as determinant of its overall success. This must be proof-positive that such an understanding is in practice, since its been two weeks exactly since the release of Jame Bond 007 : Blood Stone.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Anyone else think it's really suspicious that they couldn't find a way to advertise Blood Stone, yet this is the company that has an extremely aggressive advertising campaign for every single Guitar Hero game that comes out? 
 
I get the feeling that Activision wanted to set Bizarre up for a shut-down... 
 
Activision: "Hey, I know we made you release a new racing IP alongside two other racing IPs in May, but we'll make it up to you by letting you make a James Bond game that'll come out alongside one of the most hyped games on the Wii...ANOTHER JAMES BOND GAME!" 
 
Bizarre: "Well, okay, I guess we can do that if we have to. But, uh, you haven't announced this game yet...are you going to advertise it or anything?" 
 
Activision: "Pfft, no! We've got GoldenEye, Black Ops and Warriors of Rock to advertise! Don't worry, you guys'll do fine." 
 
Bizarre: "Uh..." 
 
Yeah, Activision definitely fucked them. Did they do it on purpose? I'll let you decide...but the answer is yes. 
 
And if this fucks with Geometry Wars, Kotick is going down.

Edited by Phished0ne
@Ragdrazi said:

" I'd like to again remind everyone who bought Black Ops that they are part of the problem. "

 What if i like to make sure Treyarch stays in business? 
 
using that logic, maybe everyone who liked PGR or geo wars should have went out and bought Blur regardless of whether or not they liked the game, just to make sure Acti couldn't have shuttered Bizarre. 
Posted by ImperiousRix

Well this sucks.
'nuff said.

Edited by EgoCheck616

You can all talk as much trash about Activision as you want but.. 
How many of you bought Call of Duty: Black Ops? 
How many of you have running WoW subscriptions? 
 
I have neither. 
This company can burn in hell. And don't tell me "Well don't blame Treyarch". Really? You think Call of Duty will end with Treyarch? Hell no. It will just get handed off to someone else until it dies just like Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero did.

Posted by Bigheart711
How awful! D:
Posted by mystakin
@Lokno said:
" I went straight to metacritic to look at the over-score on Bloodstone. This is really odd: 1up gave the game a B-, and metacritic translated that as a 67. How does that figure? Wouldn't a B- be an 80? "
You're just NOW starting to realize that metacritic is completely broken? :P
Posted by RecSpec
@Ragdrazi said:
" I'd like to again remind everyone who bought Black Ops that they are part of the problem. "
So you're saying all these people should have bought Blood Stone?
Posted by AndyMP
@TadThuggish: But my understanding is that it was developed as a private project, without any interference by Activision. In fact, my understanding is that the Geo Wars property is privately owned and could still be released in the future. My main point still applies :)
Posted by TadThuggish

Guys, I'm soooorry to have to break the news to you, but I've truthfully been blessed with this knowledge. 
 
If you drive a car, the oil spill is your fault.  Way to fucking go, sheeple!

Posted by KingPossum

I don't play WoW (haven't in over 4 years and even that was for less than 4 months) 
and the last activision game I bought was MW2. 
 
If I pick up CODBLOPS it'll be in a used bin.

Posted by Bravestar

Why is Activision ruining everything? :(

Posted by Wandering_Idiot

There were definitely some talented people at the studio, but I feel like they tended to make some odd decisions sometimes.  Like all the shitty Kudos/etc races they forced you through in PGR4, or the fact that they put out a public beta (demo, really) of Blur with a completely broken turning model that favored scraping the sides of the walls over actually trying to turn.  Guys, it's a racing game.  Making corners is kind of the basis of the exercise.  Maybe test that at some point before releasing it to the public?  The Club was kind of an oddity that didn't really communicate its intentions well on first impression.  They probably should have gone with a more abstract visual style if they wanted to emphasis the score and chaining aspects instead of people trying to play it as a third-person shooter.  Basically, I think Geometry Wars has been their only entirely successful franchise from a design standpoint for some time.  That's never a good sign for a developer with several hundred people on staff.

Posted by Rasta_Zergling

Activision continues to give me more reasons to continue my boycott of their games

Posted by stoodspoon

Bobby Kotick you mother fucker

Posted by LordAndrew

*sigh*

Posted by Egge

I've never been a fan of driving games but Blur always looked really sweet and a nice, original take on the kart racing subgenre. Introducing tax subsidies usually isn't my favorite policy initiative, but if the UK games industry doesn't have enough juice to keep even a well-regarded developer like Bizarre going then it really is true that the British scene has seen better days and needs some government support ASAP...

Posted by Arker101

Ah, man. I liked them.
Posted by Terranova

a sad day indeed, a friend of mine use to work for them back in the old PSone days when they made F1 97 for Psygnosis a good studio that has gone on to do some great stuff. 
 
I dont get why Activision has a need to shut down or piss off every great developer that has made good money for them, HMX, Red Octane, IW, now bizzare creations If i were a developer i would want to stay well away from activision they don't deserve what they have.  
 
    
Edited by fox01313

Wow, didn't expect that as they've been doing quality work for quite a while before Bloodstone. It's things like this that make me not want to work for Activision. Best of luck to everyone who was @ Bizzare Creations. 
 
Edit: After thinking about it for a bit, it seems that between Infinity Ward/Treyarch/Blizzard that they are rolling in enough money that they should give their other studios some leeway or at least give them breaks away from some franchises to work on something else (instead of closing them outright. Activision should at least realize that not every studio is going to hit IW/Treyarch/Blizz levels of success almost overnight.

Posted by BigStupidFace

Man, that's weak, I only just bought Blur too. Will this impact on multiplayer? Can assume that will be closing soon too? :( 
 
Still, what's stopping the employees at BC setting up another studio straight away? Does that not happen these days because it's difficult to get backing?