The end is nigh for Bizarre Creations

by: Peter Skeritt -
This console generation has seen a fair amount of companies within the industry close its doors, and that unfortunate list is about to add a new name as Bizarre Creations will be shuttered at the end of the week. 

According to Develop Online, the last date of official business for the creators of such games as Metropolis Street Racer, Geometry Wars, The Club, and Blur will be Friday, February 18th. The move to close Bizarre Creations came after parent publisher Activision was apparently unable to find a buyer for the development team out of the U.K. Initial word of Bizarre's demise came about three months ago, when Activision also moved to shutter Budcat Creations

Although Bizarre Creations had officially been in business since 1994, the development studio first made serious waves with its Metropolis Street Racer project, which was arguably one of the best racing titles available for the doomed Dreamcast platform back in 2001. Taking ideas from that game and combining them with technology possible on the Xbox platform, Microsoft worked with Bizarre on the Project Gotham Racing series. The series saw four entries; two for the original Xbox platform and two for the Xbox 360. Geometry Wars was a minigame in Project Gotham Racing 3, but quickly became popular enough to spawn standalone titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo DS. 

2007 was pivotal for Bizarre as they slowly broke away from Microsoft to do more independent projects outside of the racing genre. The Club, which was picked up for publishing by SEGA, arrived for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to middling reviews and a chilly sales reception. Activision purchased Bizarre later in 2007. 

The May 2010 release of Blur was the beginning of the end for Bizarre, although it can be argued that the game's quality has nothing to do with how things turned out. Blur was best described as "Mario Kart for grown-ups"; it was stylish, fun, and technically sound. The big problem was that another arcade racer-- Disney Interactive's Split/Second-- was shipped to retail at about the same time. Add the fact that one of 2010's biggest games, Red Dead Redemption, had also just arrived in stores... and the outcome was easy to predict for even the most casual of armchair analysts:

Blur was destined to fail.

The wheels of fate were already set in motion, and after the poor reception and sales performance of a James Bond-licensed game called Blood Stone, Activision had seen enough and began the process of closing the studio. It's worth noting that Blood Stone was competing at the same time against a more recognizable Bond game for the Wii, which might sound familiar: GoldenEye. Another poor release decision? It certainly could be, and that's in no way the fault of the development studio. 

It's unfortunate to see any company close its doors, but Bizarre will be added to the ever-growing list that's already including such names as Factor 5, Free Radical, Grin, and Midway. Worse yet, as the popularity bubble continues to deflate for the console gaming industry, more companies will almost assuredly be added to this list in the months to come. 

Source: Develop Online
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