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Activision Closes Bizarre and Budcat Subsidiaries

by Karlie Yeung - November 16, 2010, 4:47 pm PST
Total comments: 11 Source: http://www.joystiq.com/2010/11/16/activision-repor..., (PC Gamer)

Budcat Creations is closed as of today, and Bizarre Creations' closure is expected in the near future.

Bizarre Creations is in the process of possibly being shut down by the parent company, Activision. The company has filed notice to their employees that a sale or closure is likely in 90 days, a legal requirement for the UK-based developer. Bizarre created the Geometry Wars series and more recently developed James Bond 007: Blood Stone, which came out November 2.

Activision's official statement, reproduced below, gives the impression that they are considering the studio's future, with a sale or closure being a possibility.

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.

Budcat Creations, also an Activision subsidiary, has been closed as of today according to an anonymous source at PC Gamer. There has been no official word on the closure of the developer, whose work included ports of Guitar Hero games for Wii and PS2 since they were acquired by Activision in 2008.

Talkback

Dirk TemporoNovember 16, 2010

WHAT? You mean when we make a racing game developer develop a third-person action shooter James Bond game with no movie tie-in, IT DOES POORLY?

Also, I don't think that half a million sales for a BRAND NEW IP which is basically Realism: The Kart Racer is that terrible. I feel like Activision is used to sales like Call of Duty, and if something sells less than a million, they think something is wrong. 500k is respectable for a no-name game from a no-name company. I love Blur, but I feel like not enough people got exposed to it.

Quote from: Dirk

WHAT? You mean when we make a racing game developer develop a third-person action shooter James Bond game with no movie tie-in, IT DOES POORLY?

Also, I don't think that half a million sales for a BRAND NEW IP which is basically Realism: The Kart Racer is that terrible. I feel like Activision is used to sales like Call of Duty, and if something sells less than a million, they think something is wrong. 500k is respectable for a no-name game from a no-name company. I love Blur, but I feel like not enough people got exposed to it.

I completely agree with everything in this post.

NemoNovember 17, 2010

"Bizarre Creations is in the process of possibly be shut down by the parent company, Activision."I feel like the grammar is a bit off.

Edit: Thanks for fixing that.

TJ SpykeNovember 17, 2010

Dirk, they don't mention anything about how 007: Blood Stone did, especially since it only came out about 2 weeks ago.

Always sad to see developers shut down.

BranDonk KongNovember 17, 2010

Bizarre also made Project Gotham Racing, which is excellent.

BlackNMild2k1November 17, 2010

Maybe Nintendo will buy them and get a 1st party entry to compete with Forza & GT.

I don't know exactly what Blur is, but I do remember a commercial that mocked Mario Kart, and maybe Nintendo could use a few games that cater directly to the core coming from an internal studio.

TJ SpykeNovember 17, 2010

Blur was a arcade style racing game that used real world cars. I have no idea if the game was any good though as I never played it and have no intention to do so )the only racing games I really enjoy are kart racers).

Dirk TemporoNovember 17, 2010

Blur IS a kart racer. You race through events with between 9 and 19 other racers, pick up powerups on the track that do various things (long range homing attack, series of three straight-line "bolts" to spin out your opponent, etc.), of course with some "modern twists" thrown on, namely that as you race, you go up in rank, which unlocks new cars and what they call mods, which modify either the performance of your car or your powerups, for instance making it so any time you drop a powerup on the track (as opposed to using it, just ditching it), it drops a decoy powerup, or just making it so that your car takes less damage from other people's powerups.

It's a ridiculously fun game. I spent about 24 hours just playing the demo on Xbox Live before the game came out. One of the interesting things about it is that it has a pretty solid learning curve. If you just jump into ten-player matches, you can usually do pretty well, but 20-player matches are crazy and winning (if you're insanely lucky, if you're just lucky, you might get top 3) takes some serious maneuvering, knowledge of the track, and strategic powerup use.

I know they put the demo back up on Xbox Live after release in an attempt to drive sales. Not sure about PSN or if it's still up on either, but honestly I would recommend that anybody who enjoys kart-racing style games with powerups check it out in some capacity.

And yeah, I know that they didn't SAY anything about Blood Stone, but you really think that this coming out two weeks after the game tanked both in terms of review scores AND sales is a coincidence?

KDR_11kNovember 17, 2010

Quote from: Dirk

WHAT? You mean when we make a racing game developer develop a third-person action shooter James Bond game with no movie tie-in, IT DOES POORLY?

Also, I don't think that half a million sales for a BRAND NEW IP which is basically Realism: The Kart Racer is that terrible. I feel like Activision is used to sales like Call of Duty, and if something sells less than a million, they think something is wrong. 500k is respectable for a no-name game from a no-name company. I love Blur, but I feel like not enough people got exposed to it.

That depends on the investment. According to the rule of thumb 500k sales is only enough to cover a dev budget of around 5M which is pretty low for an HD game so most likely the game was a money loser.

If they were planning to close the studio they could have delayed the announcement until they got their game done so the morale impact will not hurt the game in development.

TJ SpykeNovember 17, 2010

Quote from: Dirk

And yeah, I know that they didn't SAY anything about Blood Stone, but you really think that this coming out two weeks after the game tanked both in terms of review scores AND sales is a coincidence?

You have claimed this in two threads, but in neither on have you provided any proof of how the game has sold.

KDR_11kNovember 18, 2010

Also Budcat's closure doesn't surprise me considering how lame Blast Works was (pretty much everything they did was inferior to the original Tumiki Fighters).

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