Bizarre closed due to “a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances”

Thursday, 24 February 2011 08:21 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Ex-Bizarre design boss Gareth Wilson has said the reason Activision shut the Liverpool studio last Friday was down to “a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances.”

Speaking to Eurogamer, Wilson, who’s now at Sumo Digital, said: “It was a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances.

“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.”

Wilson is referring to the release of racer Blur, which didn’t do too well in terms of sales when it was first release lasy May, going up against Black Rock’s Split/Second and Sony’s ModNation Racers in the same period.

The game sold 31,000 units in its first month on sale in the US, although it was only on shelves for five days at that time.

“The release date probably didn’t help,” said Wilson, “but nowadays that ‘middle ground’ of two to three million sales is getting harder to find. Games either ‘break out’ and sell four million plus, or really struggle to break even. Also the quality bar has risen enormously. Did you know there were more 80 per cent plus rated games in 2010 than any other year?”

Bizarre closed down last Friday after 17 years.