Axe-tivision: Budcat and Bizarre face the knife

News has come to light that Activision have apparently closed one of their development studios and put another on notice. (Tis the season, after all.)

Budcat Creations Logo

Bye bye, Budcat

Firstly, employees at Budcat Creations, based in Iowa, were greeted Tuesday morning with the news that they had been retrenched, and given a “generous” severance package.

The developer had contributed mostly to the PS2 and Wii versions of games in the Guitar Hero and Band Hero series, before moving into the world of iPhone development earlier this year with Pix Maze.

Prior to being snapped up by Activision almost exactly two years ago, Budcat had spent seven years working for various publishers including EA and Majesco, contributing to the success of the Medal of Honor and Madden series.

Activision‘s official statement regarding the closure is as follows:

“We continue to streamline our music development resources to ensure that they are aligned against our slate and strategic goals. As a result, we are implementing a targeted reduction in jobs in our Quality Assurance team in California and closing our Budcat studio in Iowa.

“Budcat has been a great partner to Activision and has created a lasting impact on the Guitar Hero franchise. Approximately 88 positions, or approximately 1% of our global workforce, will be impacted by these reductions. We are working to redirect those employees that are impacted to other parts of the company where possible, as well as offering them outplacement counseling services.”

The other company targetted today is UK-based Bizarre Creations, who’ve been around since the 1980s, in one form or another.

Bizarre Creations Logo

Bizarre Creations aren't smiling.

They’ve been recently heralded for their work on Blur – and rumours are currently buzzing, suggesting that 200 people have lost their jobs.

That’s not quite true: in accordance with UK labour laws, nobody has been fired – yet – with all staff given a 90-day notice that restructuring or closure “could” take place.

The notice gives Activision a bit of flexibility – they can now sell assets, resize, or sell off Bizarre as a whole, rather than taking the drastic action of closing the whole project.

The reasons behind the decision are interesting, particularly given that Bizarre recently finished work on the console versions of James Bond: Blood Stone, and are also known for their work on the Geometry Wars series. Apparently, it’s their connection to racers, through Project Gotham Racing and new one Blur that is their downfall.

“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.”


This story was featured in Episode 10 of playerattack News:

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