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Activision shuts down Bizarre Creations


Corleth the Fey
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The only two games Bizarre Creations made under Activision are Blur and 007: Blood Stone. Both were released at the worst possible times (at the same time as Red Dead Redemption and Split/Second, and the latter on the same DAY als GoldenEye 007 and Call of Duty: Black Ops). And they were poorly marketed, too.

It just seems Bizarre never had a fair chance under the reign of Activision. That's what pisses so many fans off, mostly.

Pretty much, but I think its Activision's practices on a whole. Almost the same thing has happened with Raven, although whats left of that team are now making CoD expansions. They pretty much killed the music genre by releasing so many Guitar Hero games in a small amount of time, tried to screw over Infinity Ward resulting in most of the team to walk out, shut down several of their studios, tried to prevent Brutal Legend getting released. Bought out 7 Studios while they were halfway through developing a game that would compete with DJ hero, then sacked half of them after it was released. Demanding the UK government to give them tax cuts or else they would get rid of their UK studios. Why anyone would want to be bought by this company is amazing. The people who sold Bizarre to Activision are the ones to blame for this as it was obvious what was going to happen.

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Pretty much, but I think its Activision's practices on a whole. Almost the same thing has happened with Raven, although whats left of that team are now making CoD expansions. They pretty much killed the music genre by releasing so many Guitar Hero games in a small amount of time, tried to screw over Infinity Ward resulting in most of the team to walk out, shut down several of their studios, tried to prevent Brutal Legend getting released. Bought out 7 Studios while they were halfway through developing a game that would compete with DJ hero, then sacked half of them after it was released. Demanding the UK government to give them tax cuts or else they would get rid of their UK studios. Why anyone would want to be bought by this company is amazing. The people who sold Bizarre to Activision are the ones to blame for this as it was obvious what was going to happen.

I'm pretty sure most of that happened after Bizarre was brought by Activision.

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Lucid Games rises from the ashes...

From the ashes of Liverpool developer Bizarre Creations' closure emerges a new studio: Lucid Games.

It's just been formed by some of the brains behind Bizarre, and found a home in familiar territory – the north west of England.

And they're hiring.

The staff already at Lucid are behind games including Geometry Wars, the Project Gotham Racing series, Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone.

Pete Wallace, a former Bizarre senior manager and now Lucid managing director, said: "With the great history of Bizarre behind us, we are proud to be part of Lucid and are committed to the UK game development community.

"We plan to build a studio which encourages open communication with its partners, customers and other developers."

Lucid is already talking to several publishers regarding potential projects, it said.

"Our approach is to create for fun, quality and simplicity – it's how our games make you feel that matters to us," Wallace continued. "We are committed to hiring character, hiring talent and training skill.

"It's not about qualifications or years in the industry, we are looking for creatives with a positive attitude and plenty of aptitude.

"If you are interested in being a part of something new and feel you can meet or exceed the standards you have seen in our previous games then get in touch."

Activision's January 2011 announcement that it intended to terminate Bizarre came after a three month long search for a buyer.

Many staff at Bizarre used that time to search for new jobs. Ex-design manager Gareth Wilson, who spoke exclusively to Eurogamer yesterday, found one at Sheffield based Outrun Online Arcade developer Sumo Digital – he is now its new chief games designer.

Speaking to the Liverpool Daily Post, Wallace commented on the impact Bizarre's demise had on staff.

"People were aware there were going to be cuts. But the closure of the studio just wasn't expected at all. Most people didn't want to move away from the area, even though they're well-placed to go and work in Seattle or Canada."

Lucid's commercial director, Andy Davidson, added: "We know people are being targeted by headhunters and being asked about moving, particularly to Canada.

"We want to get back to the levels of innovation and creativity at Bizarre that made Activision so keen to acquire it."

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-02-25-ex-bizarre-devs-form-lucid-games

Spiritual successor to The Club please. :D

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Why Acti closed down Bizarre

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-02-24-why-activision-closed-bizarre

An interesting read if you have the time. :)

"The landscape of the industry has changed massively even in the time from when Bizarre was acquired. In particular getting a new IP noticed at this stage of the console cycle combined with the global economic situation meaning gamers are less willing to 'take a risk' is really difficult.

Gamers don't want to take a risk...hmm sounds a bit like it's the gamer's fault? Also economic cycle - games sales are well down then are they!

That's an utterly rubbish statement. If a game has enough quality and appeals enough, or is good enough via word of mouth, it will sell.

"It's not just Blur that didn't sell in 2010, great new IPs like Enslaved, Alan Wake and Vanquish have struggled to make to make an impact while Halo and Call of Duty have broken sales records."

Ahh, other games that were clearly not going to be lapped up as they're not really appealing.

Design a game that doesn't appeal, no matter how good it is technically or perhaps gameplay wise, and it isn't going to sell. It's not rocket science. Saying "It's the gamer's fault!" is a bit Jeff Minterish. *cries; they don't understand!!11*

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Gamers don't want to take a risk...hmm sounds a bit like it's the gamer's fault? Also economic cycle - games sales are well down then are they!

That's an utterly rubbish statement. If a game has enough quality and appeals enough, or is good enough via word of mouth, it will sell.

Ahh, other games that were clearly not going to be lapped up as they're not really appealing.

Design a game that doesn't appeal, no matter how good it is technically or perhaps gameplay wise, and it isn't going to sell. It's not rocket science. Saying "It's the gamer's fault!" is a bit Jeff Minterish. *cries; they don't understand!!11*

What, I don't...

if bizarre creations had made a COD-a-like and it sold well, would that have been better?

ps. Bloodstone. Was that a GOW-a-like? All 3rd person and shit? Who cares, Goldeneye was out at teh same time lol!

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Seriously? This is why gamers don't run these companies.

Why would they make a sequel to a game that didn't sell and to all intents and purposes wasn't that great?

Call me crazy, but I think Sarge was just expressing a personal wish rather than submitting a serious business proposal. Madness, I know.

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Seriously? This is why gamers don't run these companies.

Why would they make a sequel to a game that didn't sell and to all intents and purposes wasn't that great?

You could argue Bulletstorm is a spiritual heir to The Club, so at least one company thinks a score based shooter is worth making and promoting.

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I guess so. Can't say i'm massively fussed myself - theres a glut of arena shumps out there and constantly appearing on live, arcade, or homebrew (although its not the current trend anymore).

I think they should stick to racing games - both teams.

GW was good but i thought their other games were rather dull.

Stick to what you know and that.

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Call me crazy, but I think Sarge was just expressing a personal wish rather than submitting a serious business proposal. Madness, I know.

I was entirely serious. I've just this moment got off the phone to the league of artists I have in my employ, asking to create some concept art/storyboards/graphics that I will be forwarding to Lucid Games as soon as possible.

;)

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I guess so. Can't say i'm massively fussed myself - theres a glut of arena shumps out there and constantly appearing on live, arcade, or homebrew (although its not the current trend anymore).

I think they should stick to racing games - both teams.

GW was good but i thought their other games were rather dull.

Stick to what you know and that.

I would be willing to bet the Geometry Wars games were the most profitable games Bizarre ever made, would've been a really small team and they sold millions will very little marketing.

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What, I don't...

if bizarre creations had made a COD-a-like and it sold well, would that have been better?

ps. Bloodstone. Was that a GOW-a-like? All 3rd person and shit? Who cares, Goldeneye was out at teh same time lol!

It's nonsense to say new IPs and great original ideas will not take off.

Assassins creed, uncharted, and hell minecraft prove otherwise.

These days gamers are clued up, intelligent, and will generally buy quality.

For all the "not other COD!" or "not other Gears of War!" are these not superb games in their own right?

And certainly superior to bloodstone.

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It's nonsense to say new IPs and great original ideas will not take off.

Design a game that doesn't appeal, no matter how good it is technically or perhaps gameplay wise, and it isn't going to sell. It's not rocket science.

ok, NOW I'm confused...

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Pretty much, but I think its Activision's practices on a whole. Almost the same thing has happened with Raven, although whats left of that team are now making CoD expansions. They pretty much killed the music genre by releasing so many Guitar Hero games in a small amount of time, tried to screw over Infinity Ward resulting in most of the team to walk out, shut down several of their studios, tried to prevent Brutal Legend getting released. Bought out 7 Studios while they were halfway through developing a game that would compete with DJ hero, then sacked half of them after it was released. Demanding the UK government to give them tax cuts or else they would get rid of their UK studios. Why anyone would want to be bought by this company is amazing. The people who sold Bizarre to Activision are the ones to blame for this as it was obvious what was going to happen.

Well said. Particularly sad when you consider Activision's origins, a group of coders getting away from the evil corporation (Atari) so that developers had better recognition. They are pretty much the exact opposite now.

I'd forgive them though if they bought back those sew-on badges.

Dolphin.jpg

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As Bizarre are no more, wouldn't their IP default to Acti who bought them outright?

PGR is MS owned, but the rest of Bizarre's own IP (The Club, Blur, Geo Wars) are now the property of Acti. (unless I've completely failed at grasping how IP sales works)

I'm afraid you're right. :(

Sucks.

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ok, NOW I'm confused...

Blur has no appeal. It has no pickipability.

If you created a game based around creosoting, starring Gary Glitter as the main character, it's not going to shift four million copies, even if the gameplay is sublime.

And while I'm at it blaming punters for "not taking a risk on new ip" - oh what's that? A car game with weapons?! Hold the presses! There's never been one of those on the 360 before. Except, like, near launch.

You can shout "new IP" all you want; if it's a shit IP its a shit IP. Dont get arsed off when it doesn't sell.

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Blur has no appeal. It has no pickipability.

If you created a game based around creosoting, starring Gary Glitter as the main character, it's not going to shift four million copies, even if the gameplay is sublime.

And while I'm at it blaming punters for "not taking a risk on new ip" - oh what's that? A car game with weapons?! Hold the presses! There's never been one of those on the 360 before. Except, like, near launch.

You can shout "new IP" all you want; if it's a shit IP its a shit IP. Dont get arsed off when it doesn't sell.

Seeing the commercials they went with "adult Mario Kart" in terms of marketing. Somewhat surprised that didn't work, but again, I mostly blame poor Blur sales due to it being released around Red Dead Redemption and Split/Second.

Still, I know of several gamers, mostly people who don't exactly fancy racing games, who absolutely loved this. Most of them were "What's the fun of racing like Mario Kart with realistic cars?" at first. I somewhat had to force them to start playing Blur, but once they did, they didn't stop for a long time.

Tough one.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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