Black Rock tried to change Split Second to fit Disney’s shift in focus

Friday, 23rd September 2011 15:35 GMT By Alex Donaldson

Former Black Rock game director Nick Baynes has revealed to EDGE that the studio tried to “scale back” their AAA racing game Split Second to better fit Disney’s shift in focus away from AAA titles.

Speaking to the magazine for a ‘making of’ piece on Split Second, Baynes revealed that the studio based in Brighton, England saw Disney’s change of focus coming.

“We investigated whether we could maybe do a scaled down version that would fit with the new market dynamics,” Baynes told the mag. “But to do a Split Second that’s in any way constrained or scaled down, it’s not really Split Second anymore.”

Development on the game went ahead largely as planned and Split Second launched right next to another major high-octane British racer – Blur, from Liverpool-based Bizarre Creations. Split Second came out of that particular battle slightly better off, but the end result was both games failing to meet expectations.

With Disney already having indicated it had decided AAA games were too risky a business, Black Rock suffered deep job cuts several times over before finally being shuttered in July this year. Bizarre were also closed by their parent company, Activision.

There’s more from Baynes over at the EDGE website, and the full feature can be found in their latest issue, EDGE 233.



  1. OlderGamer

    I thought that SS was a pretty good game and was under apreciated. The problem for me is that racers are sort of blending together, imo. They really don’t distinguesh themself and do little to set themself apart from the rest of em.

    Sad to say, but the last racer I outright enjoyed was Mario Kart on the Wii. Ironic really, because tweaks aside one MK game is pretty much the same as the next MK game. But for me the game works. Neat chars, creative tracks, the game is just fun.

    It seems we either have arcade or sims. And one game from one side of that equation will play like the other games from the same side. For all of the bickering GT is pretty much the same experience as Forza. Burnout isn’t much different than SS or even NFS HP.

    A gen or two ago racing games had their own unique flavors. Now that all have spot on physics engines. They use and reuse the same graphical qualities. It feels like watching a tot build with building blocks or legos. No matter if he builds a castle, a spaceship, or a race track, all I can see is the same legos/building blocks.

    And in racers, like a few other generes, it seems all the devs are constructing their games from the same over used bag of legos.

    That being said I would have liked SS to fair better. It wasn’t the freshiest racer out there(and what one is), but, like Mario Kart, it was fun to play. The problem for me is that had SS sold well, they would have made a second(and prolly a thrid) one, completly wearing out the brand. ‘Lest Mario Kart only comes out once per platform/generation. More companies should figure that trick out.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Tallon 4

    Very sad that Black Rock did not make it :(
    Pure was great and I had an awesome time with SS.
    Great graphics and fingerblisting gameplay.
    Maybe the most underrated racingstudio ever.

    Please make a comeback :D

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DaMan

    I’m really hoping this stupid trend with sims being that popular fades away, every single fun racing game these days underperforms.

    #3 3 years ago

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