Activision shuts down Budcat Creations studio. Bizarre Creations could be next [UPDATE]

Employees at the development studio Budcat Creations aren’t at the office today. Instead, they’re gathered at a bar down the street from their headquarters office in Iowa City drinking and calling friends and family. According to an anonymous source that contacted PC Gamer, that’s because the development studio has been shut down by parent company Activision. Budcat employees were notified about the closure when they were met by security guards and consultants outside their office this morning.  The future of Activision-owned studio Bizarre Creations is also in question.

Budcat Creations, was acquired by Activision in 2008 to strengthen Guitar Hero development resources. “Budcat Creations is an outstanding developer with an experienced management team and a very talented group of programmers designers and artists,” said Activision publishing CEO Mike Griffith in 2008. “In addition to strengthening our development capabilities on the Nintendo platforms, this acquisition increases our Guitar Hero development resources as we continue to grow the franchise and expand our global leadership position in the music-based genre.”

Since the acquisition, Budcat Creations developed Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero 5, Our House Party, and Band Hero.

Above: James Bond 007: Blood Stone, the last title developed by Bizarre Creations

Bizarre Creations was acquired by Activision in 2007. The development studio is most famous for its work on Geometry Wars and the Project Gotham Racing series. Since then, the studio developed James Bond 007: Blood Stone, Blur, The Club, and Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2.

UPDATE: Contrary to recent reports, Activision has not shut down Bizarre Creations. The publisher is exploring options regarding the future of the studio, which could include selling it off.

An official statement from an Activision representative released earlier today reads:

“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.”

[Source: PC GamerGamasutra]

Nov 16, 2010