It was a very sad thing to see Bizarre Creations close its doors last week. In the last edition of the Warp Zoned Podcast, we went into further detail about all the studio closures going on at Activision, and largely pointed to the publisher’s insane methods of exploiting developers. Well, a former developer at Bizarre gives another reason.
“It was a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances,” former lead designer Gareth Wilson told Edge. “The landscape of the industry has changed massively even in the time from when Bizarre was acquired [in 2007]. Getting a new IP noticed at this stage of the console cycle, combined with the global economic situation meaning gamers are less willing to take a risk, is really difficult.” Wilson gave a couple examples noting, “it’s not just Blur that didn’t sell in 2010, great new IPs like Enslaved, Alan Wake and Vanquish have struggled to make an impact while Halo and Call Of Duty have broken sales records.”
Wilson does make a point, as the Game of the Year contenders and top sellers these days are often sequels. But I think our Editor-in-Chief John Scalzo put it best when he said, “Blur was pitched as ‘Mario Kart for adults,’ but most adults indicated that they’d rather play Mario Kart.” Not to mention they were trying to find success in one of the most over-saturated genres in gaming. Wilson also fails to account how MAG and Heavy Rain, the former of which was in a saturated market and the latter of which no one expected would sell, both did decent as new IP’s last year, and as console exclusives at that. From my perspective it just seems their closure had more to do with the contemporary practices of publishers and mindsets of studios.