Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Activision closes BudCat, Bizzare to Go

Reported by multiple sources around the Internet and officially by corporate representatives, Activision Blizzard has officially closed developer BudCat this morning and is currently in talks to either sell or close Blur-developer Bizzare Creations.

BudCat Creations was founded in 2000 by Jason Andersen and Isaac Burns, members of EA Tiburon, and the company's first efforts were to help port Madden NFL to other platforms. The developer mostly focused on ports of titles far into its existence. It was purchased by Activision Blizzard in 2008, and its games since then revolved around PS2 and Wii ports of "Hero" games, although it worked on a number of original products through Majesco, including Blast Works and Our House Party, both Wii exclusives.

Bizarre Creations was originally formed as Raising Hell Productions in 1988, but the company changed its name to Bizarre after signing a publishing deal with Psygnosis during the Playstation era. Its first major title, F1, would be the best selling game in Europe in 1996. Since then, the company worked alongside Microsoft Game Studios to develop the Project Gotham Racing franchise and developed a score-based shooter The Club through Sega as well as the massive XBLA hit, Geometry Wars. The company was acquired by Activision in 2007, and since its acquisition, Bizarre developed racing game Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone, both of which released this year. Its fate is unknown, but dissolution is likely.

Activision, in light of reports, has made this official statement:
Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations, 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.
Activision Blizzard has outright closed BudCat Creations, but the company is going to sit on Bizarre Creation's fate for up to three months on whether to restructure, sell, or dissolve the developer.

This year alone, Activision has closed developers and laid off many staff, including the majority of Neversoft, and it also suffered a great loss of talent when Infinity Ward's creators left the company in light of false accusations from the company.

We hope those who are laid off land on their feet.


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