Activision Closes Budcat; Bizarre Closing On Friday, February 18th

Jun 25, 2004
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Visualante said:
What a crock of shit, I played GT5 at the beginning of October- Forza 3 has nothing to worry about in terms of car handling and feel.
it probably doesn't (and to tell the truth, i believe T10 might actually have an advantage when it comes to choice and number of "premium" cars, surprisingly enough). But car handling and feel is obviously not what i thought Bizarre could help with.
I believe T10 needs to hire if they want to compete with Gt5 in terms of visuals, though, and i believe these guys are the best they can get.
They have some great tech, incredible talent, artistic skills, and impressive know how especially when it comes to modeling environments.
PGR4 had night racing and rain, thunderstorms, snow, fog...3 years ago, and dare i say they looked ...well, let's just say they looked a lot better than some choose to remember.
Having them lend a hand in the development of the next Forza would make a huge difference.
 
Nov 23, 2007
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Warm Machine said:
I seriously doubt Activision has much financial gain in the entire relationship either. If Bungie is self funding it and retaining ownership of the IP then they are just using Activision as a publisher in the strictest sense. It is Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox.
Assuming it's got a subscription model, I'm sure Activision stand to profit a bit from that.

That's the rumor anyway, right?
 
Jan 6, 2006
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Goddammit this is awful. Bizarre consistently put out my favorite racing games-- the PGR series was pretty much an unbroken sequence of successes-- and definitely had some of the best talent in the racing game business and beyond. It's terribly sad to see them go, and I hope most of the team lands on their feet. They will be missed.

Edit: Fuck yeah at TwiztidElf's picture. I played the shit out of Bizarre's racers starting with MSR, with well over 500 hours in PGR2 alone. Some of the best games I've ever had the pleasure of playing.
 

Xun

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TwiztidElf said:

Took this shot before Blur came out.
This really is depressing...

I just remember spending hours on the PS1 F1 games, and to see the company that created some incredibly memorable games over the years closing down just saddens me deeply.
 

firehawk12

Subete no aware
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avatar299 said:
Because making new studios is just as costly, takes longer and it's easier to sell "that game from the PGR guys" than no name franchise from brand new developer.
Did they really benefit from the Bizarre name in any way though?

If it was just some no-name internal Activision studio that made Blur and James Bond, would the sales have been even lower?
 

Vanillalite

Ask me about the GAF Notebook
Apr 14, 2008
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I'm mixed on this.

I feel sorry they are all losing their jobs. That sucks in the current economic climate. I'd hardly say they are getting screwed when you look at how their games have done lately.

I'm also not sure how good the current team still is or who is left from say their PGR2 heyday.
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
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LCfiner said:
I never had a PS1 but I owned all these games from MSR on up.

God, I remember how long the hype cycle was for MSR. it took damned near forever to get released but it was so cool.
Metropolis Street Racer is one of the very, very few games that's ever lived up to its hype cycle and delays - objectively, going back to it years later.

It was so fresh for its time; a unique spin on racing games, yet so polished and refined on the very first try, and so loaded with stuff to do and content.

I still remember a GAF thread back in the day about the game where people were ragging on its music for simulating fun stuff like country music stations - this was before stuff like Grand Theft Auto 3 and the concept of ambient soundtracks that were "in character" with a game world, became mainstream. People were horrified with the "uncool" music in the game and calling it crap, even though the songs were expertly written and had hilarious and ingenious lyrics, especially the country stuff.

For standing up and defending the music, I actually got an email - no shit - from Richard Jacques thanking me for understanding what he'd been aiming for with the soundtrack and all the work he'd put into it. Yes, dude had been reading the NeoGAF thread and was in the dumps from everyone bitching about his soundtrack.

Despite the quality of PGR2, and despite PGR4 being my favorite as an overall game package, nothing will ever match the original MSR for IMHO representing Bizarre's exact vision for their street racing game. They weren't pressured to make it commercial in any way, such as the car selection, or using licensed music to be mainstream. It was eclectic and purely their own thing. It also had some of my favorite sections and track layouts of cities later revisited but never in those exact spots again, sadly. Some of my favorite routes were Toyko tracks that ran alongside overhead freeways before turning over a long, gentle bridge across a huge river - an iconic Japanese location not seen that often in video games, for some reason.
 
Feb 19, 2008
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:(

So, they made them create Blood Stone, and then released it without fanfare or any real publicity, and then closed down the studio. Fuck Activision. Bizarre is a brilliant developer.

<3 MSR, Fur Fighters, Galaxy Wars
 

TheSeks

Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
Feb 14, 2009
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The Bookerman said:
Activision didn't buy Bungie
Until Bungie makes another Halo. In which case screw the contract, let's litigate.

Sucks if Bizzare really is gone. I have PGR1 (no, not 2, not 3, not 4. ONE.) and it was really good. The soundtrack was pretty good techno music as well.

I'm part of the problem, I guess. I didn't buy blur and just stuck with the demo (the demo servers are shut down for the past two months now, IIRC) and the PS3/360 beta they did. I didn't see the need to pay $60, esp. given it was ATVI and them going to get a Blur 2 out next year. (Which isn't the case now, hind-sight and all).

:/
 
Jul 26, 2004
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Brettison said:
I'm also not sure how good the current team still is or who is left from say their PGR2 heyday.
PGR2? A lot of people seem to be glossing over about how amazing PGR4 was to talk about PGR2. It's likely that more of the PGR4 team were with Bizarre than PGR2 AND PGR4 had the world's most fun driving model hands down. I'm sure you'd have more fun with it side-by-side with PGR2 (though the online implementation of 2 was, and is, the best I've seen in a racer).

Sorry if I'm sounding aggressive, it just frustrates me how criminally underrated (and neglected) PGR4 was by the general public and even racing fans in general. Still far prefer it over any of the Forza games and any other racing game to date.
 

enzo_gt

tagged by Blackace
Jun 7, 2009
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Shaneus said:
PGR2? A lot of people seem to be glossing over about how amazing PGR4 was to talk about PGR2. It's likely that more of the PGR4 team were with Bizarre than PGR2 AND PGR4 had the world's most fun driving model hands down. I'm sure you'd have more fun with it side-by-side with PGR2 (though the online implementation of 2 was, and is, the best I've seen in a racer).

Sorry if I'm sounding aggressive, it just frustrates me how criminally underrated (and neglected) PGR4 was by the general public and even racing fans in general. Still far prefer it over any of the Forza games and any other racing game to date.
Annoys me too, there is not PGR4 praise, and people just assume it was just an average title, when in fact it pretty badly shits on many other racers. Though really, PGR2 > PGR2 > PGR1 = PGR3.

PGR2 and 4 had the most amazing and amazingly unique driving models. PGR1's was unrefined and PGR3 went way too arcadey with the car handling and different powersliding multipliers.
 
Feb 21, 2006
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water_wendi said:
And this is why Bobby Kotick is a shit businessman. His success is all about luck. Buy studios and franchises and try to make things stick. To hear people talk about Kotick you think they were talking about William Randolf Hearst or Richard Branson or Bill Gates or Andrew Carnegie or something. Kotick and Activision gambled on some kind of magic success with Blur and lost. The reason for this is they do not understand entertainment industries. All of their successes have happened without (and despite) their influence.
But it's not true, at least he understood after buying Bizarre that the studio was good at making games in a genre, namely arcade racing, that at best treaded water once in a while to stay afloat, and that it didn't have a big enough wheel house to do anything else, these guys were not hit-makers, and the shooter genre just isn't part of their competency, if Activision wants to make a shitty third-person shooter, they can hire everybody from Obsidian to High Moon, they don't need an in-house, 200 man-strong studio for that.
 
Jun 14, 2004
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Poimandres said:
Someone who recognizes they can pick up a team of talented developers presumably for a nice price?
Bizarre are indeed very talented developers but at 200 employees it's a rather large (and presumably expensive) studio. Most potential purchasers are only going to be interested in their racing expertise, and you don't need 200 people for that.

I think the only publisher who would be interested is EA and they're already set when it comes to racing games. I bet the whole reason Activision purchased Bizarre in the first place was as a "fuck you" to EA. During that year EA killed THPS with Skate and then slowed Guitar Hero with Rock Band. Kotick probably wanted to return the favor and come up with some kind of Need for Speed killer.
 
Feb 21, 2006
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Rated-Rsuperstar said:
Maybe EA will help these guys reform a new studio under their EA partners program.
The whole partners program is a complete bend-over for top tier, hit-making developers who hold all the cards, why would EA want help these guys reform a new studio with EA money and then not have any IP rights when the Bizarre guys really don't have any leverage right now?
 
Jul 1, 2009
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Fuck you activision.

Bizarre Creations made great games, and PGR4 was some of the most fun I've had racing this gen. Blur was great fun online, but it was marketing horribly, and released in what turned out to be a bad month anyways. Too bad they were shoved the 007 license, as I wanted to see what they could make otherwise.

guess they shouldn't have gone to activision.
 
Oct 10, 2007
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Kittonwy said:
The whole partners program is a complete bend-over for top tier, hit-making developers who hold all the cards, why would EA want help these guys reform a new studio with EA money and then not have any IP rights when the Bizarre guys really don't have any leverage right now?
Because it makes EA look good.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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bkfount said:
Fuck you activision.

Bizarre Creations made great games, and PGR4 was some of the most fun I've had racing this gen. Blur was great fun online, but it was marketing horribly, and released in what turned out to be a bad month anyways. Too bad they were shoved the 007 license, as I wanted to see what they could make otherwise.

guess they shouldn't have gone to activision.

What exactly would you have done different with blur? Everyone says it was marketed badly but it actually got a fair share of commercials (which is a LOT more than you can say for a lot of non-big name IPs these days) and it was plastered all over blogs and websites from what I can remember. If they release it 1Q people will say it was sent to die, if it's released in the summer people will say games don't sell well in the summer, if they release it Q3 or Q4 people will say it got overshadowed by the bigger IPs. The game just didn't resonate with people, regardless of quality. It wouldn't be the first quality game to not sell well, good marketing or not. You can't force the public to buy a game.
 

Mario

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Kittonwy said:
The whole partners program is a complete bend-over for top tier, hit-making developers who hold all the cards, why would EA want help these guys reform a new studio with EA money and then not have any IP rights when the Bizarre guys really don't have any leverage right now?
EAP doesn't really fund anything directly. They normally work through completion bonded arrangements, where a financier will front the dev cost throughout development, and EA will reimburse at the end of the project assuming it makes it to the end of completion.

So, if they basically gave a publishing deal to a newly formed studio, that could help secure financing both for a project and studio as it provides a route to market, EA locks in a talented team, doesn't need to put down any money up front, and doesn't have any production risk.
 
Feb 21, 2006
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Mario said:
EAP doesn't really fund anything directly. They normally work through completion bonded arrangements, where a financier will front the dev cost throughout development, and EA will reimburse at the end of the project assuming it makes it to the end of completion.

So, if they basically gave a publishing deal to a newly formed studio, that could help secure financing both for a project and studio as it provides a route to market, EA locks in a talented team, doesn't need to put down any money up front, and doesn't have any production risk.
If development falls apart would EA still be responsible for reimbursement? If the game gets completed but turns out to be a commercial failure would EA still have to eat the loss?

I agree it's a way to get in bed with a powerhouse developer like Zampella/West, but I'm not sure the folks at Bizarre are remotely in the same league when it comes to creating a megahit IP, and I don't think it's the best model if you're the publisher and the newly formed studio really doesn't have much leverage at the negotiation table.

While I do think Bizarre is a talented team, their strength is the arcade racing genre which simply isn't popular enough right now, and outside of geometry wars they can't really do anything else, and EA has most genres covered with their internal teams. It's sad that Bizarre got closed down but I just don't see EA picking them up when they already have Criterion.
 
Jul 26, 2004
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enzo_gt said:
Annoys me too, there is not PGR4 praise, and people just assume it was just an average title, when in fact it pretty badly shits on many other racers. Though really, PGR2 > PGR2 > PGR1 = PGR3.

PGR2 and 4 had the most amazing and amazingly unique driving models. PGR1's was unrefined and PGR3 went way too arcadey with the car handling and different powersliding multipliers.
You did it there as well :lol
Perhaps I don't have as fond memories of PGR2 because I didn't get into the MP as much as some of you nutjobs out there and I just prefer the slightly more MTV-ish presentation of PGR4. So I'mma going PGR4 > PGR2 = MSR > PGR3 > PGR1. Mind you, the margins between those games aren't great... I loved them all, to be honest (just to varying degrees).
 
Feb 19, 2008
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Ninja Scooter said:
What exactly would you have done different with blur? Everyone says it was marketed badly but it actually got a fair share of commercials (which is a LOT more than you can say for a lot of non-big name IPs these days) and it was plastered all over blogs and websites from what I can remember.
The "anti-Mario Kart" gimmickry of the ad campaign did little to spark interest outside of pissing off a few sensitive gamers.

Blur's concept is awesome as is.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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why do people keep mentioning MS as a potential landing spot? Didn't MS just ditch Bizarre like 2 years (and 2 flops) ago? If Donovan McNabb got cut would people be saying "Ooooh maybe the Eagles will sign him!"
 

Mario

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Kittonwy said:
If development falls apart would EA still be responsible for reimbursement?
No.


If the game gets completed but turns out to be a commercial failure would EA still have to eat the loss?
Yes, though typically a publishing deal will be geared for EAP to recoup their bonding payout (and potentially earn margin) before any sales revenue/profits went to a reformed dev team.


I agree it's a way to get in bed with a powerhouse developer like Zampella/West, but I'm not sure the folks at Bizarre are remotely in the same league when it comes to creating a megahit IP, and I don't think it's the best model if you're the publisher and the newly formed studio really doesn't have much leverage at the negotiation table.
With that being the case, EAP could stack the terms of the deal in their favour. While a lot of their deals don't see them taking IP ownership, that would possibly be one bargining chit in this case.

I'm not suggesting it is necessarily a great idea, only that there is a way to do a mutually beneficial deal.
 

mattiewheels

And then the LORD David Bowie saith to his Son, Jonny Depp: 'Go, and spread my image amongst the cosmos. For every living thing is in anguish and only the LIGHT shall give them reprieve.'
Dec 1, 2004
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I always wondered about PGR4......always see it on the used shelves for obscenely low prices, when I thought it was supposed to be a system seller. What happened there?
 
Jun 7, 2004
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FoneBone said:
You realize those are not mutually exclusive?
a lot of games get NO commercial play and do okay for themselves. If a developer needs the perfect storm (the perfect commercial, the perfect audience, the perfect release date, ect...) just for their game to turn a profit then it's not surprising that a publisher won't want to keep pumping money into them hoping for that perfect game to come along.
 
Nov 23, 2007
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mattiewheels said:
I always wondered about PGR4......always see it on the used shelves for obscenely low prices, when I thought it was supposed to be a system seller. What happened there?
Came out at a very bad time (right next to Halo I think) and just never got the mindshare the previous game did. Shame. It's a great game.
 

enzo_gt

tagged by Blackace
Jun 7, 2009
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mattiewheels said:
I always wondered about PGR4......always see it on the used shelves for obscenely low prices, when I thought it was supposed to be a system seller. What happened there?
Everyone traded it in when it came with their new 360s. Such a shame people en large don't really like racing games. It's as if there is some sort of artificial ceiling for racing games in terms of "success," closing in on a niche. Activision thought they could break this ceiling using Blur. Activision thought wrong.
 

mattiewheels

And then the LORD David Bowie saith to his Son, Jonny Depp: 'Go, and spread my image amongst the cosmos. For every living thing is in anguish and only the LIGHT shall give them reprieve.'
Dec 1, 2004
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Wow, that's a shame. Seeing those stacks of 7.99 PGR4s made me assume it was terrible or something....I guess you guys would say it's much better than 3?