8. Bizarre Creations
Years in the industry before Activision ownership: 19
Years under Activision before closure: 3
What happened? Started in 1988 as Raising Hell, Bizarre Creations put out a wide array of slick, fun and more often than not brilliant games over the course of its 22-year lifespan, initially making a name for itself with F1 in 1996 and remaining one of the best racing studios in the world from that point on. With Metropolis Street Racer, Fur Fighters, Project Gotham Racing, Geometry Wars, Boom Boom Rocket and The Club on its CV, Bizarre had one of the most solid and eclectic indie line-ups around.
Then Activision bought the studio. But not having bought the Bizarre's Project Gotham Racing franchise from Microsoft, it seemed Acti didn’t really know what to do with its new purchase. Geometry Wars 2 was a given, but after that? We got Blur, which although brilliant smacked of design by committee. It had shiny, real-world cars. It had a ‘cool’ street racing vibe. It had a social network style interface. It had Mario Kart weapons. The whole game screamed of a project that had been designed by suits based on demographic analysis, and was thus a bit of a Frankenstein. Thus, it was borderline impossible to market, so Activision didn’t seem to bother. And thus it did not sell very well at all.
After that? The Bond license. Yeah. And with that poison chalice, Bizarre Creations was committed to the ground.