“Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations,” an Activision spokesperson told Kotaku today, “the fundamentals of the racing genre have changed significantly. Although we made a substantial investment in creating a new IP, Blur, it did not find a commercial audience. Bizarre is a very talented team of developers, however, because of the broader economic factors impacting the market, we are exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business.”
Another option would be the studio’s closure.
Rumors of the Liverpool-based development studio’s imminent closure about this afternoon, with Twitter in particular abuzz with word that Bizarre Creations’ owner, Activision, is planning to shut the studio down. Sources close to the studio have informed Develop that some 200 members of the Bizarre Creations staff have been put on three months notice.
Activision purchased Bizarre Creations in 2007. Since the purchase Bizarre has created two titles for the publisher: The well-received racing combat game Blur and it’s most recent release, James Bond 007: Blood Stone, which has received mostly average reviews thus far.
The loss of Bizarre Creations could have a profound effect on the already shrinking racing genre. Though this month sees the release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit from EA and Sony’s Gran Turismo 5, the racing genre is nowhere near as prolific as it once was.