Activision Reportedly Closes Bizarre and Budcat Studios [Update 2]

[Update: 4:30pm] Regarding the rumors of a closure at Budcat Creations, Activision released the following statement to Shacknews:

We continue to streamline our music development resources to ensure that they are aligned against our slate and strategic goals. As a result, we are implementing a targeted reduction in jobs in our Quality Assurance team in California and closing our Budcat studio in Iowa. Budcat has been a great partner to Activision and has created a lasting impact on the Guitar Hero franchise.

Approximately 88 positions, or approximately 1% of our global workforce, will be impacted by these reductions. We are working to redirect those employees that are impacted to other parts of the company where possible, as well as offering them outplacement counseling services.

[Update: 12:58pm] Activision has released the following statement to Shacknews regarding the rumored closure of Bizarre Creations:

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.

We are still looking for word regarding Budcat Creations.

[Original Post] Rumors are swirling that Activision will close Bizarre Creations, the studio behind James Bond 007: Blood Stone, Blur, and Microsoft's Project Gotham Racing franchise.

The rumor began with a thread on NeoGAF that said "all 200 staff" at the Liverpool-based developer had been made redundant. According to a GiantBomb source, Bizarre Creations will be going through a "90-day consultation period, statutory redundancy." According to UK redundancy practices, employees must be given a 90-day notice from employers if a company is set to close its doors [via Joystiq].

VG247 claims "multiple sources" have told them that the studio will close, and will put 200 staff members out of work. Multiple tweets on the rumors have also been circulating.

Additionally, Iowa-based Budcat Creations--known for developing Wii and PS2 versions of the Guitar Hero games--is also rumored to be closing, according to "anonymous development sources" speaking with PC Gamer.

In late 2007, Activision purchased Bizarre Creations. At the time, the company had been working on Microsoft's racing series Project Gotham Racing and had become industry favorites for creating the Geometry Wars franchise.

Shacknews has contacted Activision for comment on the report but has yet to hear back at the time of publishing. [Ed. Note: Activision comment added to the top of this post.]

Xav de Matos was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 16, 2010 11:06 AM

    If you love your studio, don't sell it to Activision.

    • reply
      November 16, 2010 11:15 AM

      Activision sucks as bad as Electronic Arts? Whodathunkit.

      I think any corporate entity no matter how cool sucks once they get to certain size. They can't help it.

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        November 16, 2010 12:21 PM

        Personally, I think Activision has surpassed EA (or at least traded places), Ubisoft has been close behind the two of them though.

        • reply
          November 16, 2010 12:23 PM

          Yeah...Activision became the worst in record time. EA has been trying however.

          • reply
            November 16, 2010 1:29 PM

            I'd say Ubisoft is getting to be worse than EA, with their rehashing of PoP and non-stop Assassin's Creed milking. At least EA has tried pushing really good new IP in the past few years like Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, Dragon Age, Dante's Inferno etc. Not to mention the EA Partners system. In my opinion, they come second to THQ as far as likeable big publishers go.
            Activision is just plain bad.

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              November 16, 2010 1:52 PM

              Activision seems to have a reputation of being outright malicious. I see Ubi as kind of just starring around with a blank look on its face, wondering what to do next. AC is all they've got. The Wii and DS markets are gone. Their Tom Clancy line continues to slowly but steadily sink (Rainbow Six Vegas was the last good release that line had). Prince of Persia is pretty much done because AAA platformer action games don't really sell well any more. They threw their lot in with the 360 and PS3. They have no social games or MMO efforts in the PC space that I am aware of.

        • reply
          November 16, 2010 1:29 PM

          And I believe a lot of it is to do with the way Kotick is a massive douchebag.

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