It’s a bad day when any company gets hit with massive layoffs, but doubly so when it’s a popular developer such as Bizarre Creations. Parent company, Activision revealed that it has put 200 employees on 90 day notice and that the studios future is up in the air. They also said this was due to the declining interest in the racing genre (Gran Turismo 5 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit would like to have a word with you, Activision). Activision bought Bizarre back in 2007 after it’s successes partnering with Microsoft for the very popular Project Gotham Racing series and it’s Geometry Wars games.
Recently, they’ve released the VERY underrated racer, Blur, and 007: Blood Stone. Both titles never really lived up to the hype (from a sales perspective) and I think that’s the reason why Activision is looking to cut ties. Their motto must be, if you don’t bring us money like Call of Duty, you’re not worth hanging on to. At least the employees were given 90 days warning, but with the holiday’s right around the corner, it still must be a tough pill to swallow. It’s disappointing but I’m hoping that another company will swoop in and saved them. Blur was a great first effort at a Mario kart style realistic racing game and I’d love to see a sequel.
In other depressing news, Activision also shut down Budcat Creations and let go some of their own staffers in the quality assurance department (really? is that smart?). Budcat primarily handled the PS2 and Wii versions of the Guitar Hero series.
Finally, Lucasarts has reduced their workforce once again for the second time in half a year. They didn’t provide specifics but said that it won’t impact anything currently going on.
With the holiday season so close, this is always terrible news to hear. Reminds me of last years closing of Pandemic Studios. Why do big companies find it necessary to do layoffs and closings at this time of year? I’d like to offer my condolences to those involved and the hope that they catch on with another company soon.