Getting brand new IP noticed at this point in the console cycles is hard, gamers are "less willing to 'take a risk'" when they can just 'fall back' on big names.
"It was a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances," said Gareth Wilson, who now works at Sumo Digital as their chief game designer. "The landscape of the industry has changed massively even in the time from when Bizarre was acquired."
"In particular getting a new IP noticed at this stage of the console cycle combined with the global economic situation meaning gamers are less willing to 'take a risk' is really difficult." Bizarre created the new racer IP Blur but it cleared very low figures.
"It's not just Blur that didn't sell in 2010, great new IPs like Enslaved, Alan Wake and Vanquish have struggled to make to make an impact while Halo and Call of Duty have broken sales records." Activision announced Bizarre had 3 months to find a buyer.
Most of the staff spent that time hunting for new posts elsewhere. "When it was announced that Activision was looking to sell or close the studio the majority of people started looking around, obviously still hoping that a buyer could be found," said Wilson.
"This wasn't clandestine at all, while the situation with the studio was unclear Activision allowed us time off to go for interviews and training." Blur managed to get great critical reviews but sales just didn't light on fire, neither did Disney's racer Split/Second.
"The release date probably didn't help," he noted, "but nowadays that 'middle ground' of two to three million sales is getting harder to find. Games either 'break out' and sell four million plus, or really struggle to break even. Also the quality bar has risen enormously. Did you know there were more 80 per cent plus rated games in 2010 than any other year?"
Activision officially closed Bizarre Creations at the end of last week. A tribute video was put together by a member of the development team which you can see below.
"Now I can feel more philosophical about it, it was upsetting when it was announced back in November. As there was a three month consultation where a buyer was sought it's been more of a slow realisation over the weeks that followed that the studio was likely to close," said Wilson. His new digs feel "very similar to how Bizarre was when I joined".
Ex-Bizarre talks studio demise
24 February 2011 | By Simon Priest