Bizarre Creations, a once independent game studio acquired by Activision several years ago, was recently closed down entirely. The shuttering of the studio and the subsequent loss of several IPs like Geometry Wars and Project Gotham Racing left a lot of gamers, critics and industry staff at a complete loss. It certainly didn’t help matters that the company that closed Bizarre was Activision. Activision, in case you’ve been living under a rock in a cave on Mars, has become a massive target for hate in the last few years.
According to former Bizarre Creations employee Martyn Chudley in an interview with EDGE Magazine, the studio’s decline came in light of the slow erosion of their pre-Activision established development culture.
I don’t think the atmosphere differed too much during the years before Activision…We were always proudly independent. However, when Activision took over, we really felt that they would leave our culture alone, and for a while it was fine, but slowly the feeling did start to change.
We weren’t an independent studio making ‘our’ games anymore…We were making games to fill slots. Although we did all believe in them, they were more the products of committees and analysts. The culture we’d worked on for so long gradually eroded just enough so that it wasn’t ‘ours’ anymore.
When studios are acquired by major publishers like Activision, there’s always the chance that said studios’ talents will be used in ways that go against their initial cause for purchase. In the case of Bizarre, they were set to make James Bond games rather than the stuff that put them on the map. As Chudley indicates, their belief in the projects at hand was never enough to keep the indie culture they’d once established intact.
As Bizarre’s former employees find new work, expect to see a little more revealed regarding the once great studio’s closure. Activision lost a lot of talent when they decided to ax the house, and that talent will likely be resurfacing in other places. For those that find new work, kudos.
[via EDGE Magazine]