OverviewDevelopment studio Bizarre Creations was based in the North-West of England (UK) and originally started when Martyn Chudley, MD, started a games company called Raising Hell Software after leaving school in 1987. His first game was a budget title for the Commodore 64. After that start, a demo got sent to Psygnosis (now SCEE Studio Liverpool), which then consisted of just ten people. That demo became The Killing Game Show, and was followed by two titles for the Genesis: Fatal Rewind (a port of the The Killing Game Show) and Wiz 'n' Liz.
With the advent of the PlayStation, one-man development teams no longer seemed possible and so Bizarre Creations was born. The re-branding was introduced in 1994. The team started as five people, working on a concept project, from which they were offered the chance to create a game around the Formula 1 license. Bizarre Creations quickly became 11 people, and Formula 1 (1996), officially the company's first game, was created in fourteen months. It was the best selling game in Europe in 1996 on any format, and the PlayStation's second best seller worldwide. Formula 1 Championship Edition followed this success and brought the team up to twenty people by 1998.
With the arrival of the next generation of consoles, Bizarre Creations was chosen as a 1.5 party developer for SEGA's Dreamcast console. Their SEGA title Metropolis Street Racer was released in 2000. At the same time, the company was also creating Fur Fighters, a cartoon adventure game with a definite adult slant. The project was released by Acclaim in 2000 on Dreamcast and PC, and a much enhanced PlayStation 2 version in 2001.
The MSR team moved on to develop Project Gotham Racing, a launch title for Microsoft's Xbox console. This became the second best selling launch title for the console and the team soon started working on the sequel Project Gotham Racing 2. At the same time the Fur Fighters team completed two games for Disney, tied into the animated feature film Disney's Treasure Planet. By that time, the company had grown to 65 people and then consisted of four development teams: the Gotham team, the Smokescreen team, Team Nightmare and Team Limbo.
The company boasts a love for games over business, with quite a few developers without degrees. The company says some of the members have been a ex-dish-washer, shelf-stacker, fork-lift truck driver, bacon packer, accountant and quite a few ex-games testers.
Later, the company continued the Project Gotham series with a third (Project Gotham Racing 3 - 2005) and a fourth game (Project Gotham Racing 4 - 2007). Next to big budget titles such as The Club (2008), they also did a lot of smaller games for the Xbox 360's Live Arcade, such as Boom Boom Rocket (2007) and the very successful Geometry Wars series.
In September 2007 the company was acquired by Activision for $67.4 million in cash. Bizarre Creations' made two titles for Activision: the racing game Blur (2010) for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, and the James Bond game 007: Blood Stone (2010).
In November 2010, after the release of Blur, Activision announced to cut 200 jobs at the studio, citing that the racing game "did not find a commercial audience". Activision put the studio in a consultation period of 90 days, with the option to close the studio or sell it to another group. On 19th January 2011 the website Develop reported that Activision found interested parties, but no buyers, and issued to the group a recommendation for studio closure. Bizarre staff accepted the recommendation, thus terminating the studio. The studio was officially closed on 18th February 2011.
Under the management of Pete Wallace, a UK new studio called Lucid Games was formed in February 2011 with many former developers from Bizarre Creations. Three developers also went on to found the mobile game studio Hogrocket in March 2011.
Also Known As
- Raising Hell Software (from 1987 to 1994)
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Related Web Sites
- Bizarre Creations, Ltd. (official website)
- Wikipedia: Bizarre Creations (article about the studio in the open encyclopedia)
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