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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 Everyones_A_Critic

That sucks big time. I loved Geometry Wars :'(

Online
Posted by DukesT3

Nothing like getting fired a month before Christmas. Stay classy Activision. 

Posted by SharpCypher
@MoleyUK: No way.  Blizzard pulls in over $100,000,000 a month with World of Warcraft.  That's over $1,200,000,000 (billion with a "b") a year.  Nobody gives up that much money.
Posted by elko84

GREAT SCOTT!!

Posted by Claude

Who's going to make Call of Duty Kart Racing now? Dammit.

Posted by StingerMK2

fucking activision AGAIN  
 
hopefully they'll go onto start a new studio, because their racing games were always hella good, PGR was always a favourite of mine, pretty gutted for them

Posted by AlisterCat

Noooo! I wanted geometry Wars 3. :/

Online
Posted by Battletoad

Bizarre was a good developer, but they kind of got what they deserved when they sold out to Activision. If they had stayed partnered with MS, they would all have jobs this holiday. Bungie might be a "to big to fail" exception, but Activision is really good at running both developers and franchises to the ground so who knows.
Posted by Hamz

Terrible news, really disheartening to see so many folks lose a job with Christmas pretty much round the corner. Worse still that Blur had potential to be an interesting series if they wanted to make a second game. Disappointing news indeed.

Posted by Zinc

I did not expect this news at all. I just hope that they will all be able to find jobs in the near future.

Posted by Jace

This is sad, but stop the fucking "If you own blops, you're the cause of this"
 
I bought blops because I think it's a good fucking game.
I didn't buy bloodstone, blur, or whatever else the fuck Bizzare put out because none of those interested me.
 
So here is a fucking idea. 
 
None of this is the consumer's fault, because they just bought what made them happy.
 
So a BIG GIANT FUCK YOU to anyone who wants to blame the people who buy games.

Posted by Wacomole

So what are the chances of  the first game from Respawn having some great driving sections (as well as little dual joystick minigame included somewhere in it) ?

Posted by VibratingDonkey

Wow.
 
Wow.

Posted by Kibblez

Very shocking to see them just closed down entirely. My heart goes out to all the dudes there

Posted by Scotto

I still don't understand why developers choose to let themselves be acquired by Activision.  Bizarre Creations had a good deal going when they published their titles with Microsoft - they made what was essentially the flagship racing game for the console, and had the backing of a major publisher. 
 
Then they gave up the PGR IP to do what?  Go to Activision and publish ANOTHER racing game, a Bond game, then get shut down in typical classless Activision fashion?  Was it worth it? 
 
They went from being a major "2nd party" XBOX 360 publisher, to yet another shuttered Activision sub-brand within two years. 
 
- Scott

Posted by Zaxex

Thanks Activision, more game series I gave a shit about gone. Bungie better make a multi-million selling shooter every damn year or their screwed too.  
 
Activision is like a force of the recession intent on stifling creativity and tightening belts, taking safe, predictable options and making people miserable and/or unemployed.  
   
Robbing from and subsequently losing a great portion of Infinity ward wasn't enough, taking their IP and hard work and divvying it out to Treyarch to churn it out quickly enough for yearly releases wasn't enough. 
  
Too bad a lot of people don't even know who Activision is or what they do except release the Call of Duty games. I assume there's a fair amount of people who like there being more than 1 game series; with employee's who've made it what it is and can stomach sticking with their publisher. 
 
I wouldn't be so angry if Activision didn't coldly fuck everyone they work with over. It's a business, I get that but surely some level of good will, employee happiness or not being a scumbag is worth some minute amount of profit. Their biggest success wasn't a result of their hard work or dedication. They bought a developer, took their shit, watered it down, made more products that ape the source material and couldn't care less. 
 
They've whored the Call of Duty series, decimated the Tony Hawk series; not only drowned the Guitar Hero series but practically ended the rhythm game genre. A few other series without a "good" release in years despite unrelenting attempts: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, James Bond and Spiderman.  
 
Rather than try anything rather than generic branded sequels and movie games fire over 200 people. Fuck you Activision.

Posted by JoelTGM

I really really liked the Project Gotham games, but... nowadays Forza is the racing game to play on the 360.  I guess that's why Blur happened, making an arcade racer to be different than the simulation stuff, but I guess people aren't up to paying $60 for linear arcade racers, and that other game Split/Second was very similar to blur so that doesn't help sales.

Edited by EgoCheck616

You know what really pisses me off?  
5 Oct 2007  -  Activision: 'Bizarre buy is just the beginning' 
SOURCE
  
"Their financial support and marketing prowess will also enable us to build upon the commercial success that we currently enjoy, and take the company -- and our games -- to an even higher level." 
 
Yea, I really saw that support when Bloodstone came out.  
Blur had hardly anything backing it. Just a commercial that made fun of Mario Kart. 
 
And it got wrecked by Split/Second and Modnation Racers. 
 
Cheers, Activision. What will they think of next?

Posted by CrazedMaverick

Shame. Blur and Geometry Wars were good games.

Edited by HistoryInRust
@Battletoad said:

" Bizarre was a good developer, but  they kind of got what they deserved  when they sold out to Activision. 

Seriously, dude?
Posted by Mikewrestler5

Wow, this sucks. I hate seeing shit like this. I would have liked another PGR game. :(
 


Posted by Rasgueado
@Jace said:
" This is sad, but stop the fucking "If you own blops, you're the cause of this"  I bought blops because I think it's a good fucking game. I didn't buy bloodstone, blur, or whatever else the fuck Bizzare put out because none of those interested me.  So here is a fucking idea.   None of this is the consumer's fault, because they just bought what made them happy.  So a BIG GIANT FUCK YOU to anyone who wants to blame the people who buy games. "
Whew! It's good to know that people haven't forgotten to also "eat" their cake.
Posted by HistoryInRust
@Mikewrestler5: I wonder if it can still happen, maybe? Weren't there rumblings at a point that Turn 10 was hammering away at a new PGR title? I don't know the numbers on this lay-off, or how willing Microsoft is to swoop in for these guys all Guardian Angel-like, but who knows. Fingers crossed.
Posted by EdTwo

goddammit Activision.

Posted by Diablochicken14

My heart dropped as I saw this :(

Posted by paisan13

Activision sez: "We care about our studios".
Me sez: "F**k Activision".

Posted by Aetheldod
@Ragdrazi said:
" I'd like to again remind everyone who bought Black Ops that they are part of the problem. "
Agree .... Its official never ever buying an Actimilktion game again , not even the Bungie game (In the case that it is a good game) .... Dear lord what will become of the videogame industry?
Edited by coryrx8

Wow, and Activision hadn't even owned them all that long. What exactly is the point of buying a developer, doing nothing with any of their existing IP, and then shutting them down? Stupid, stupid. 
 
Maybe the next developer will think twice when Activision knocks on its door with its checkbook out. 
 
I can't help but hope that Microsoft swoops in and buys them (or anybody else, but I'm thinking that MS would be the most likely). I can see them wanting a new PGR and a new Geometry Wars. Activision buying Bizarre was a big blow to MS, and this would give them a chance to get those exclusives back.
Posted by SiN13

I wonder what this means for the multiplayer component of Blur. I'm still having a lot of fun with it. Be a shame to see it shut down. You'd think with all the profits from Blizzard and Call of Duty they would have the revenue stream to keep the less profitable studios open. I guess game making really is all about the bottom dollar these days.

Posted by HistoryInRust

Well, I hope someone snags this studio. 

Posted by VilhelmNielsen

So 1 game bombs, and the studio is shut down? Disturbing.

Posted by JetForceGemini

This sucks. I love Bizarre :/ Maybe they should have called Blur... Call of Duty: Racerz?

Posted by bingbangboom

Sucks but this is a "What have you done for me lately?" industry. Between Blur, The Club and now 007, the games havn't sold that great but also Activision hasn't really invested the same amount of money into the games like Hero and Call of Duty. I would hope they get picked up, maybe even by Microsoft because there is talent there. Blur was mismanaged and got delayed so it missed it's best release date. 
 
Problem is what publisher really wants another racing developer? EA is pretty stocked right now. That brings us to Namco, Sega, Capcom, etc and they either have their own thing or don't want to dive into those games. EA itself makes enough racing games to dominate the market: Need for Speed, Shift, Burnout, etc. Sucks for them but it is what it is.

Posted by Skilbs

Losing the tax breaks was huge. Why would a company operate here when they can start up in Canada for a fraction of the cost and receive regular grants from the government. Bizarre were not the first and they wont be the last. 
  
To quote the cover of this month's DEVELOP magazine; "Will the last developer to leave Britain please turn out the lights"

Posted by Levio

If you want to hurt Activision without giving up their games, just make sure to buy their games used.  Its that easy (and stop paying hand over fist for bad DLC).

Posted by OneKillWonder_

Fucking terrible news. Bizarre is a fantastic studio. As if enough good developers weren't shutting down these days, Activision just thought "one more couldn't hurt, right?". Fuck them. Guess it'll be awhile before we get to see Geometry Wars 3 now...

Edited by Baconator

Awww man, that sucks. They delivered quality products. As they're stating in the quote Blur tanking broke their neck. It's a real shame.

Posted by Wacomole
@MoleyUK said:

" Activision make hundreds of millions on MW2 then decimate Infinity Ward. Black Ops does well so they take out Bizzare. Any guesses which studio's going to get the chop when WOW:Cataclysm sells bucketloads? "

 @SharpCypher said:

" @MoleyUK: No way.  Blizzard pulls in over $100,000,000 a month with World of Warcraft.  That's over $1,200,000,000 (billion with a "b") a year.  Nobody gives up that much money. "

You may have misinterpreted my point there.
It's exactly because they make that much money that with the release of their next big game, Cataclysm, the odds are high that Activision would look at another of the smaller loss-making houses it owns to ditch.
Posted by Vinny_Says

so what racing games out there killed PGR? Was it forza? or Burnout? Man I remember when PGR was published by Microsoft, those were great games. Sad for all the employees

Posted by BulletproofMonk
@Battletoad said:
" Bizarre was a good developer, but they kind of got what they deserved when they sold out to Activision.   
 That's the dumbest thing I've read in a while. You really think that those 200 developers deserved to lose their jobs?
Posted by HistoryInRust
@SiN13 said:
" I wonder what this means for the multiplayer component of Blur. I'm still having a lot of fun with it. Be a shame to see it shut down. You'd think with all the profits from Blizzard and Call of Duty they would have the revenue stream to keep the less profitable studios open. I guess game making really is all about the bottom dollar these days. "
I'd like to see the hard numbers on some of these games. The budget for producing Call of Duty: Black Ops and its budget for marketing versus the straight-up profitable returns the studio raked in. Then, I'd like to see the same numbers for something like Blur, or even this James Bond thing. I'd be curious to see if the thing's sales even broke even with the production/marketing costs. But you're right, you'd think the publisher would be more willing to support these lesser studios, especially when it seemed like Blur could be a successful franchise in the making. 
Posted by JerichoBlyth

Activision are the biggest super-power in gaming right now...why would they let go of some of its best developers? FOR FUCK SAKE.

Posted by Rasgueado

That latest paragraph about Bizarre being a "talented team" is gross PR doublespeak. Activision doesn't want the asset because it is becoming too expensive for them, but they also don't want to SELL the asset in case something they have in their catalog becomes profitable for a competitor. 
 
So what does that mean? They don't *have* to shut them down... they could try and sell them, but won't. So instead, they just shut the studio down and hold on to the IP's until a later date when they might find a way to reboot them with a cheaper team. Bad for people, good for business.

Posted by megalowho

Raven Software, you're next.

Posted by TadThuggish
@Rasgueado said:
" @Jace said:
" This is sad, but stop the fucking "If you own blops, you're the cause of this"  I bought blops because I think it's a good fucking game. I didn't buy bloodstone, blur, or whatever else the fuck Bizzare put out because none of those interested me.  So here is a fucking idea.   None of this is the consumer's fault, because they just bought what made them happy.  So a BIG GIANT FUCK YOU to anyone who wants to blame the people who buy games. "
Whew! It's good to know that people haven't forgotten to also "eat" their cake. "
Some people love good video games more than the drama and boycotts and angry 12-year-olds on the internet pounding on their keyboards that surrounds it.  Bizarre Creations being a good developer does not make Treyarch a bad one.  Activision has acted horribly over the years, but that doesn't mean Call of Duty: Black Ops is not a quality product that people who are interested should purchase. 
 
You, and many others doing the whole complain-about-the-man-while-listening-to-rage-against-the-machine thing have a massively negative Us vs. Them mentality.  Reality doesn't work that way.  Video games don't work that way.  Message boards on the internet, however, warp people into thinking it's how the world turns.
Posted by 234r2we232

I love Bizarre. Damn you, Activision!

Posted by General_D23
@megalowho said:
" Raven Software, you're next. "
.......Fuck.
Posted by DonPixel

keep buying COD rehersals..

Posted by Shrimp

This seriously, seriously sucks.
 
Bizarre are seriously what I would consider the best "non-sim" racing game devs around. I'm really going to miss whatever future stuff they might have been able to do, along the lines of PGR or a better take on Blur (enjoyed the beta but didn't grab me enough to buy the game sadly. Now I feel bad for that).
 
Hopefully the devs find jobs with someone like Codemasters, who also make great non-quite-sim racing games :)

Posted by ThaMilkMan

Man this news is straight up terrible, just a few days ago we here about Call of Duty Black ops being the "highest entertainment launch in history" with 360million dollars in sales, then a company that comes out with a new ip that loses a billion dollar company a few million is shut down, like they couldn't incur these losses and come out with another blur that would sell better. Cmon activision, granted they did the same thing MTV did and just paid far too much for the company firsthand, just as Microsoft did with Rare. These companies need to know what the true value of a studio is and not over pay for companies, at the same time expect a loss on a new ip initially that's just how it works UGH! and now I feel GREAT that I haven't bought Call of Duty Black ops, I'll get it used TAKE THAT!