Bizarre Creations

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Bizarre Creations
Industry Video games
Fate Acquired, then dissolved
Successor(s) Lucid Games
Hogrocket
Grubby Hands
Playground Games
Founded 1988 (as Raising Hell Software)
1994 (as Bizarre Creations)
Defunct 18 February 2011
Headquarters Liverpool, United Kingdom
Products Geometry Wars
Project Gotham Racing
Parent Activision

Bizarre Creations was a British video game development studio, best known for their racing titles: Metropolis Street Racer (Dreamcast) and the followup Project Gotham Racing series (Xbox, Xbox 360). The company has also developed games in other genres, including the Geometry Wars arcade series, plus third-person shooters Fur Fighters and The Club. Bizarre Creations was acquired by publisher Activision in 2007, and subsequently completed its racer Blur in May 2010.

On 20 January 2011, Activision announced Bizarre Creations would close, and later confirmed the date. Bizarre marked the closure by releasing a retrospective video of its life's work.[1]

History[edit]

A screen-shot taken from Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast showing the Bizarre Creations logo used during the year 2000–2001.

Bizarre Creations started as Raising Hell Software, founded by Martyn Chudley. Sega scorned "Hell", and the company went nameless for a short time. In 1994, a pending submission to Psygnosis/Sony forced the decision of a new name. The founder tentatively left "Weird Concepts" on the submission documentation. Then a staff member used Microsoft Word's thesaurus, and "Bizarre Creations" stuck.

The Bizarre Creations team was initially five strong, and worked on a concept project called "Slaughter". After seeing the demo, Psygnosis signed the team onto Formula 1 (for PlayStation). Formula 1 went on to become the best selling game in Europe in 1996.

In 2006, the studio announced a break in its racing genre sequence with The Club. A third-person shooter, the game was released on 7 February 2008.

On 26 September 2007, publisher Activision acquired Bizarre Creations.[2] for $107.4m; $67.4m immediately payable with a further $40m contingent hitting certain goals over a 5-year period.[3]

Activision announced that Project Gotham Racing 4 would be Bizarre Creations' last game for Microsoft Game Studios,[4] and Activision did not pursue the rights for the Project Gotham Racing franchise.

On 16 November 2010, Activision announced it was considering closing Bizarre and "exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business".[5] Activision later stated that no buyer could be found and that the studio would close.[6]

Succession[edit]

Curly Rocket[edit]

On 21 February 2011, Martin Linklater created development company Curly Rocket Ltd. Martin was a Senior Tech Programmer at Bizarre where he worked on James Bond 007: Blood Stone. Prior to working for Bizarre Creations Martin was a Technical Director at SCEE Sony Studio Liverpool, and a founding member of the games development studio Curly Monsters.

On 28 August 2012 Curly Rocket released their first iOS game: "Curly Square".

Lucid Games[edit]

On 26 February 2011, GameSpot reported that a group of senior members of Bizarre Creations were forming a new independent gaming studio known as Lucid Games. The team are based in Liverpool and are now employing around 40 members of staff. In 2013, Lucid released an iOS racer, 2K Drive.[7][8]

Hogrocket[edit]

On 23 March 2011, Geometry Wars creator Stephen Cakebread; Peter Collier, a level designer on Blood Stone; and Bizarre Creation's former community manager Ben Ward announced that they were starting a new company called Hogrocket.[9]

Despite good critical coverage for its first title Tiny Invaders, the game proved to be the company's last.[10]

Grubby Hands[edit]

In May 2011, the one-man-studio, Grubby Hands was founded by the Company Director Dr Danny Pearce: taking on the role of programmer, games-designer, artist and animator. Pearce was a Senior Programmer at Bizarre Creations where he worked on multi-platform titles: The Club, Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone.

On 10 June 2011, Grubby Hands released their first iPhone game: David Haye’s Knockout. The game immediately topped the iPhone App Store Charts: reaching #1 in the Sports Chart, #3 in the Action Chart, #5 in the Games Chart and #8 in the App Chart.

On 21 December, Grubby Hands released their second iPhone game Boy Loves Girl.

May 2012, saw a new redesigned re-release of "David Haye's Knockout", which went straight to the top of the App Charts.

In December 2012, Grubby Hands released a new iPhone game "David Haye's Jungle Rumble", their third consecutive chart-topping game.

Totem Games[edit]

On 21 July 2011, Matt Cavanagh, former lead designer at Bizarre Creations, announced that he had formed Totem Games Ltd.[11] While at Bizarre, Cavanagh worked on the titles James Bond 007: Blood Stone, The Club, and Fur Fighters among others. Totem's first title is SpaceOff which was released early 2012.

Muffin Games[edit]

In February 2011 Muffin Games Ltd. was formed,[12] founded by a number of developers who worked on classic Bizarre Creations franchises. They released an iOS version of Fur Fighters.

Playground Games[edit]

Although founded in 2009, Playground Games expanded greatly in 2011 with the hiring of a large number of ex Bizarre Creations staff. Their first game was Forza Horizon, an open world driving game in the vein of Project Gotham Racing.[citation needed]

Games[edit]

As Raising Hell Software:
As Bizarre Creations:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wesley Yin-Poole (18 February 2011). "Bizarre says goodbye with farewell video News – - Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  2. ^ Studio News – Bizarre Creations
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Activision buys Bizarre – News". www.developmag.com. 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  5. ^ Rainier (16 November 2010). "Activision Looking To Close Or Sell Bizarre Creations". WorthPlaying. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  6. ^ Fred Dutton (19 January 2011). "Activision finalises Bizarre closure News – - Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  7. ^ "Bizarre Creations vets form Lucid". Gamespot. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Former Blur developers tease new racer". NowGamer. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "New Studio Emerges from Ex-Bizarre Staff". IGN.com. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  10. ^ http://www.edge-online.com/features/the-former-bizarre-creations-staff-who-moved-into-mobile-games-with-mixed-results/2/
  11. ^ "Interview: Totem Games' Cavanagh On Moving From AAA To iPhone". 
  12. ^ http://www.muffingames.co.uk/press/
  13. ^ "James Bond 007: Blood Stone Leaks". IGN. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  14. ^ "James Bond 007: Bloodstone confirmed". GameSpot. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 

External links[edit]