Bizarre Creations’ final project revealed

An unannounced racer testing new ideas.

January 6, 2013 / 08:56 PM EDT / (@salromano)

Before it was closed in 2010, Blur developer Bizarre Creations was working on an unannounced, untitled racer, former Bizarre artist Chris Davie has revealed.

“This was the final thing being worked on at Bizarre Creations when the company was closed down,” said Davie in a blog post. The project was “approaching alpha.”

Davie shared two videos. The first, available here, shows the Brighton level and uses tech and assets from Blur to test out new ideas.

“This video shows us trying out some new visual effects, partly just because we thought it would be cool, and partly to see how more intense effects would effect the player’s experience (i.e. is driving through a storm shooting and dodging weapons fun and exciting or stupid and annoying),” said Davie.

“So we built a load of big storm effects into the Brighton level from Blur and did some fancier animated turn markers.”

The “Shunt” power-up from Blur was also given an upgrade. It went from a big red ball to a “big refractive energy pulse” that tears up the road as it zeroes in on its target, and leaves a trail of “broken tarmac and scattered, twisted lampposts.”

The second video shows the Dubai stage. At this point, the game was using an entirely new engine developed in-house at Bizarre Creations.

“When we were told the project was being canned and that the studio was facing closer, I bloody mindedly decided to keep working on the art on this track,” said Davie. “So much work had gone into the game already, it seemed a shame that nobody would get to play a finished track, even the dev team, so my goal was to get this Dubai track as close to final as I could before the lights went out for good.

“By the end it had gotten to about an alpha level, there was some really nice things in there, though we still needed to add a load of destructible objects inside the shopping mall and tram station we drive through in the video, and inside the hotel lobby of the building we drive on the outside of here. More animated scenery like the trams too, but time just ran out.”

With Bizarre Creations now closed, the game’s development has been discontinued and the game’s release is not a possibility.

“It’s a shame this thing will never be played, but at least it still lives on in some way in these videos.”

Thanks, Lucid Create.

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  • rockman29

    MS needs to stop raping it’s first party studios and then leaving them out in the cold to die.

    • http://gematsu.com/ Sal Romano

      Bizarre Creations was not a Microsoft first-party studio, though it did create several Xbox-exclusive games in partnership with Microsoft Game Studios (PGR1-4, Geometry Wars) before Activision acquired it in 2007. Activision was responsible for Bizarre Creations’ closure.

      • rockman29

        MS owns their PGR franchise, which was Bizarre’s ‘creation’ (unintentional pun).

        MS took it away from them by ceasing to support the studio.

        Who had last ownership isn’t the point.

        That would be like blaming THQ for Big Huge Games closure. That was also Microsoft’s fault, since they hold the Rise of Nations IP hostage.

        • Dean Winchester

          Blaming MS on this website is like trying to hold Obama accountable for his nearly 7 trillion in additional national debt.
          It falls on deaf ears.

          Had you blamed Sony or Bush for the closing of Bizarre Creations, I have a feeling your statement would have went unchallenged regardless of inaccuracies.

          Dont you know MS can do no wrong?

          • MosquitoLemon

            It takes a real special person to equate liberal philosophy (hold corporations accountable!) to conservative conspiracy (pretend we know about economics – that african done did us wrong!).

            • rockman29

              Yea I have no idea why he is equating the US economy to this situation.

              What we have here is much simpler: MS abandoning developer support and holding their IPs hostage when they don’t turn out as profitable as Halo or Gears of War.

        • http://gematsu.com/ Sal Romano

          Microsoft owns PGR, yes, but it’s never owned the actual studio. Activision bought Bizarre in September 2007, when the studio was still developing PGR4 for Microsoft, which came out as the developer’s last Microsoft-published game, again considering Activision bought them, in October 2007. The studio wasn’t closed until 2010, three years after they were taken under Activision’s wing.

          Activision made the decision to close Bizarre Creations. It did seek buyers, but was unable to find an interested party. I can’t see where or how Microsoft comes into play here.

          As for Big Huge Games, yes, it was THQ who made the decision to close the studio. But luckily, they found a buyer in 38 Studios. But the fact is, just because Big Huge developed a few Rise of Nations games for Microsoft, an IP which Microsoft owns (and whose last game was put out in 2006, two years before THQ acquired them, three before 38 Studios picked them up, and six before 38 Studios [and thus Big Huge] closed up shop), does not make Microsoft the one to blame for their closure.

          Seriously. I understand that a few users on the site have an undisputed hate for Microsoft (I’m looking at you, Dean Winchester), and I’m not necessarily their biggest fan either, but there’s a fine line between fair argument and downright hostility. There’s no relation here. If Level-5 were to close, I’m sure no one would go around blaming Sony simply because they’ve published Level-5 games in the past (whose IPs they own, btw – Dark Cloud, Jeanne d’Arc, Rogue Galaxy, White Knight Chronicles).

          • rockman29

            “Activision made the decision to close Bizarre Creations. It did seek buyers, but was unable to find an interested party. I can’t see where or how Microsoft comes into play here.”

            Because they own their flagship IP and never let them return to it. Even though it was profitable and sold well. They never let Bizarre return to the series they wanted to do.

            The difference is that Sony doesn’t shut off the valves once a series doesn’t become profitable enough. They leave the developers in good faith after a deal and don’t try to limit their options.

            PGR was doing fine under MS’ banner, and MS chose to stop it. I’m pretty sure Bizarre wanted to keep making PGR. PGR is still a great series and is reviewed well and is remembered to this day. But it’s never coming back under the Bizarre label.

            The difference is also that Sony maintains relationships over decades. Sony has been publishing From Software games since the Playstation days, and has never demanded exclusivity or limited their freedom. Sony let From Software make Dark Souls probably without question. No litigation even though it was the same series under a different name.

            Big Huge’s and Bizarre’s best games were Rise of Nations and PGR respectively, and MS, imo and not through blind hate, tore the rug out from underneath both of them.

            I remember Rise of Legends which was made under the MS banner. That was after Rise of Nations. Once MS realized that game wouldn’t be profitable, they rushed that product out the door, it became a huge mess of a game, and Big Huge was never allowed to return to the Rise of Nations series. Which should have been the up and coming spiritual successor to the AOE series with just as rabid and dedicated a fanbase.

            MS is the one that didn’t allow that to happen.

            Sony went back to From Software to help them make their future games. And this is Sony well knowing that From Software’s games are generally not that popular. Armored Core on PS1 and PS2, King’s Quest on PS1 was a complete flop. Yet Sony helped publish some of those games and helped publish Demon’s Souls in this generation too.

            MS never went back to Big Huge or Bizarre to help market or publish their games. That’s a big difference imo.

            • http://gematsu.com/ Sal Romano

              There was no way Bizarre could keep making a racing game series for Microsoft after it was purchased, therefore going from an independent developer to a studio owned by a parent company, by Activision. That’s why PGR4, which was still in development for Microsoft when Activision purchased the studio, was the studio’s last PGR game.

              Sony didn’t “let” From Software make Dark Souls without question. From Software is an independent developer whose games are published by several different companies overseas (they usually publish their own stuff in Japan). They make their own decisions. They didn’t ask permission from Sony.

              Jumping back to Rise of Nations, once again, the last Rise of Nations game was put out in 2006. The latest one before that was put out two years earlier, in 2004. THQ purchased the studio two years after the latest game, again out in 2006, in 2008. Now under THQ, there was no way Big Huge could continue making Rise of Nations games for Microsoft. They were no longer independent. They were a developer owned by a parent company.

              “MS never went back to Big Huge or Bizarre to help market or publish their games. That’s a big difference imo.”

              Again, both companies were then owned by parent companies and were no longer independent. Publishing games under Microsoft was no longer an option.

              There’s no ‘Microsoft responsibility’ here.

              • rockman29

                Acti bought Bizarre because their value is limited. Bizarre was seeking a buyer because after MS ceases to support them and doesn’t allow them to work on PGR, Bizarre has nothing, and their value is nothing. So Acti can come in and buy them.

                Big Huge Games was purchased by THQ after it’s value fell through the floor.

                Their value fell because Microsoft abandoned them and after Rise of Legends fell on it’s face.

                MS didn’t allow them to return to Rise of Nations and continue after Rise of Legends failed.

                THAT is why Big Huge had to turn to a buyer.

                Can’t even get the order right, what’s the point?

                If Big Huge’s value was still there, Big Huge wouldn’t have to SEEK a buyer. Get it?

                “Sony didn’t “let” From Software make Dark Souls without question. From Software is an independent developer whose games are published by several different companies overseas (they usually publish their own stuff in Japan). They make their own decisions. They didn’t ask permission from Sony.”

                The point is Sony helps out From Software when it seeks publishing help. Regardless of what other deals they have with other companies.

                MS could have easily bought back Big Huge from THQ (at a fraction of the price THQ bought them for) and put them back to work on Rise of Nations. But they didn’t because they don’t give a shit if it’s not Halo or Gears of War or Forza.

                What everyone stateside likes to pretend is that every person and company around the world is the same thing. They aren’t. MS’ behaviour and Sony’s behaviour in business and the way they deal with smaller companies is completely different and it is reflected in their relationships.

                • http://gematsu.com/ Sal Romano

                  But see, you’re just making assumptions. You have no actual evidence behind your arguments. They’re flawed.

                  Big Huge was purchased by THQ in January 2008. Eight months prior, in May 2007, THQ announced a deal with the studio to develop a new RPG. The last Rise of Nations came out in May 2006, only a year before the THQ deal. The more likely scenario here, especially given the eight month time span between the RPG announcement and studio purchase, is that THQ liked what Big Huge was doing with the RPG it commissioned, and wanted to secure the studio as an in-house developer.

                  Stop placing blame where it doesn’t exist.

                  • rockman29

                    Rise of Legends failed YEARS before they were purchased by THQ.

                    And Big Huge had not released another game since they released Rise of Legends.

                    And you are telling me I’m making bad assumptions of their value? You think after that their value was peak? MS let them go by ceasing their support.

                    What is value based on in business? Assumptions. Perception. Human error. When you have a MBA and then get back to me and talk about assumptions and business.

                    So yea, these are valid assumptions. Why? Because they apply to every other industry.

    • http://twitter.com/AnthonyFoster5 Anthony Foster

      MS doesn’t really have that many noteworthy first party studios afaik. 343i, Turn 10 Studios, Rare, and the new Black Tusk Studios are the only ones I can think of, though I’m sure there have to be a few others.

  • http://twitter.com/Nates4Christ Nate

    Blur was a game that had a great idea. I loved everything about it except the driving mechanics. I’m sure they would have improved them and I would have jumped on this game.

  • KingOptimusOrigins111

    BLUR 2