Former senior executives at Bizarre Creations have revealed that, aside from a number of other problems, Activision’s ownership didn’t help the studio.
Remember how it was explained that Bizarre Creations shut down because of a “perfect storm” of circumstances? Well, it turns out there may be a bit more to the story. Apparently, things at Bizarre Creations started to go downhill after the purchase by Activision. One of the first things to go was Bizarre’s “independent culture.” On top of that, the studio was suddenly making games that, while good, were made to “fill slots.”
According to former creative director Martyn Chudley in an interview with Edge Magazine:
“We weren’t an independent studio making ‘our’ games anymore. We were making games to fill slots. Although we did all believe in them, they were more the products of committees and analysts. The culture we’d worked on for so long gradually eroded just enough so that it wasn’t ‘ours’ anymore.”
Chudley also revealed that, after a three month search to find a buyer for the studio, Activision gave Bizarre’s founders the opportunity to buy the studio back. However, Martyn’s wife Sarah (who was the company’s commercial manager) explained that this wasn’t really an option.
“Bizarre had grown even more since [Activision] took over, and we just didn’t have the skills, capability or finances to look after over 200 people,” said Sarah. “Martyn and I were always small-company people, which is why we stepped aside when we realised it needed big-company skills to manage.”
While it’s a little sad that Bizarre’s founders didn’t take Activision up on the offer to buy the studio back, their rationale does seem to make sense.