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Bizarre staffers discuss closure, why it was sold to Activision

Friday, 20th May 2011 21:32 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Bizarre Creations’ creative director, Martyn Chudley, has said that before the firm’s buyout by Activision, Bizarre was doing well financially and had “several potential projects” to work on.

Speaking an interview with Edge, along with former Bizarre members Sarah Chudley and Gareth Wilson, Martyn Chundley said the reason Bizarre was signed over to Activision in the first place was to “safeguard the future,” of the firm.

“We had money in the bank, and several potential projects to work on,” said Chudley. “However, coming towards the end of Project Gotham Racing 4 and The Club, we took a decision that – as signing up new projects was a time-consuming and costly venture – affiliating ourselves more closely to a publisher would help provide security [to] safeguard the future, given that there would be no downtime between projects, or needing to go though the whole demo/pitch/negotiate cycle.

“Activision’s desire for a racing project just seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Also, with our then current partners, Microsoft didn’t want an action team, and Sega didn’t need a racing team. With Activision, with the racing desire and Bond licence, the entire studio was deemed a great fit.

“We were always proudly independent, and we always tried our best to do what we felt was right for our people, the games and the company. However, when Activision took over, we – and they themselves, I’m sure – really felt that they would leave our culture alone, and for a while it was fine, but slowly, as it seems happens with many corporate takeovers, the feeling did start to change. We weren’t an independent studio making ‘our’ games any more – we were making games to fill slots. Although we did all believe in them, they were more the products of committees and analysts.

“And when you add in corporate HR, corporate email, etc, the culture we’d worked on for so long gradually eroded just enough that it wasn’t ‘ours’ any more.”

“Why Bizarre was closed is way beyond my pay scale,” added Gareth Wilson, now with Sumo Digital. “If you want a personal opinion, though, I think it was a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances. If anything, the mistake we made was underestimating how difficult it was getting a new IP off the ground at this stage of the console cycle, especially in the racing space, which tends to perform better when a new console is launched.”

Martyn Chudley goes on to say that there was the opportunity to buy Bizarre back from Activision before the publisher shuttered it, but he “personally thought that there was far greater potential for the security and well-being of the company if a third party could come in.”

“Sadly, this was not to be the case,” he added.

“Bizarre had grown even more since they took over, and we just don’t have the skills, capability or finances to look after over 200 people,” added Sarah Chudley. “Martyn and I were always small-company people, which is why we stepped aside when we realised it needed big-company skills to manage.”

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10 Comments

  1. loki

    idiots

    #1 4 years ago
  2. itsucks

    gtreat game maker idiots, that put pieces of shit Pholipionyphony digital that have deep pockets and need a trillion zilion times just to shit out a bugfest to shame. mind you.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Robbins

    yeah bizarre made some excellent games, if you haven’t pick up Blur, great game, but they trusted a business like Activision instead of a game company like EA or Ubisoft, which is a big mistake and why they are out of buisness

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Christopher Jack

    @2, Don’t be a hypocrite, you call an entire staff of a successful company idiots but half your words aren’t \spelled correctly, you were clearly never even shown how & when to use grammar & your entire post is completely single minded.
    Get out of your cave, show some respect & learn how to view situations from the other side of the bridge, you’re accomplishing nothing by swinging an xbox360 flag around other than demonstrating how ignorant you are.
    Fanboyism is only acceptable in competitive sports, being loyal to a multibillion dollar company is fucking pathetic, even if you were an employee but your style of writing suggests that you’re only 12.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. itsucks

    @4 Be a phony butthurt retard, like I give a shit. :o

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Filofax

    @4 That’s doing a disservice to 12 year olds.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Noodlemanny

    Oh. Makes more sense now. I though it was an article from Blizzard and I was like, ‘they didn’t make Gotham Racing… or The Club” “WHAT?, their out of business? HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN (considering WoW)”
    Anyway it is a shame we have lost Bizarre. They made a few really good hitters like PGR and Geometry Wars.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Kabby

    I see English is too hard for today’s kids.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Hunam

    He’s probably 35.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Jan

    #4 muuy muuhhh?

    #10 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.