Metropolis Street Racer. F1 '97. Project Gotham Racing 4. Freakin' Geometry Wars.Do none of these names matter any more? Apparantly not, as today, Activision closes the doors of Bizarre Creations, breaking the hearts of thousands of gamers across the world. And, in case you avoided such pulmonary discomfort, the team has signed off with a farewell slow motion montage. With piano. Sniff.
The impact Bizarre Creations has had on the industry is not to be taken lightly and I'm sure you'll have fond memories of at least one Bizarre game. From a personal point of view, I was so impressed with Formula One '97 on PSone, I actually sold my Sega Saturn and 18 games to buy the game and a PlayStation to play it on. Anyone who knows my love of Sega will understand that that's a massive accolade. It may look a bit dodgy now, but consider how old it is, eh?
Later, I remember dashing through Bournemouth from the hotel from hell (well, it was at the time - it looks really nice now, dammit) to wait outside the local game shop for its 9am opening so I could pick up my copy of Metroplois Street Racer - the first racing game to recreate real life cities in ridiculous detail. The series became Project Gotham Racing and became one of Xbox 360's brightest shining lights. Here's the Dreamcast version doing its thing:
We're talking about the developer responsible for major chunks of our gaming lives, lost like a teardrop under the thrashing rain of the Activision stormcloud. Sure, recent times haven't been the best for the team. The Club came and went without much fanfare, Blur's troubled development tarnished its reputation before the final, excellent product finally emerged, and James Bond games just don't get people excited any more.
But Project Gotham Racing 4 remains one of the best racing games I have ever played and all that was needed was a little re-evaluation of the kind of games the team should be making. Instead, after a failed attempt to sell the studio, the answer was closure.
We're all shocked and hope the employees affected by the closure form a new team soon. One that gets picked up by a publisher that nurtures their creativity and gives them the chance to shine again. As for the farewell video, you can watch it right here:
Let us know what you think of it all in the comments.
18 Feb, 2011