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

Thursday, 24th 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.



  1. Joe Anderson

    Not sure the 80% is to do with quality, seems to me reviewers are just getting more generous. Blur was a 7/10 game if ever i saw one. Shame because Bizzare was a great studio, should have stuck to a PGR type game though, awesome series.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. naffgeek

    Still think activision should have backed Bizarre through this rough patch, quality devs don’t grow on tree’s.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. PsychoboyUK

    @1 & 2

    I agree with you both :) and to be far there is nothing stopping the former bizzare staffers creating a new company :)

    #3 4 years ago
  4. ManuOtaku

    Guys i agree with all of you, and i think it doesnt matter if blur was great or not, for being a new IP was pretty darn good, and could have turned into a great series, if things could have been ironed out, i loved the game, but i know is not for everyone, and i hope they can stablish a new company, but is a bit unlikly.T_T

    #4 4 years ago
  5. DSB

    It is seriously sad that European developers can no longer afford a miss with the glaring lack of tax incentives.

    It’s basically become the hi-tech version of the US auto industry, only without any noticeable interest in bailouts.

    @naff – Money doesn’t really grow on trees either. You can’t support a developer that may have a good CV, but ultimately poor performance in light of high Eurozone expenses. Belts are being tightened everywhere, and I’d say the bigger a publisher you are, the tighter they have to be.

    I agree that Blur wasn’t properly marketed, it never got the best chance to succeed, but like Joe says, why would you want a publisher to hype up a game that just isn’t very good? You’d just be stuck with a lot of disappointed customers.

    @ManuOtaku – 31k units on release just isn’t feasible. It’s a rule of thumb that you never throw good money after bad. Maybe if they were a Romanian, Russian or minor Canadian firm, but basically they’re a massively expensive developer in an uncompetitive Britain.

    #5 4 years ago

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