Ben Ward, the former Bizarre Creations community manager, has given his perspective on the closure last month of the Liverpool studio by parent company Activision.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Ward said that Bizarre’s closure was “just business” but explained that the atmosphere certainly changed after Activision took over the previously independent studio.
“Some of us, myself included, found it difficult working under a huge publisher,” he said. “Moving from proudly independent to an internal team took a lot of getting used to. We lost that ability to say what we want, do what we want, and most importantly make what we want.
“I don’t blame Activision for that,” he continued. “It’s just the way things work when you become internalised. It certainly affected the atmosphere at the studio; for better or worse Bizarre became more ‘corporate’.”
On Activision’s decision to close Bizarre – a last resort, which followed several months of Activision trying and failing to find a buyer for the studio – Ward said: “Business is business. Those guys wouldn’t be at the top of their game if they didn’t make difficult decisions.
“Everybody at Activision has been supportive – they’ve operated recruitment drives and tried to distribute Bizarre [staff] to other Activision studios throughout the world. They’ve been good in how they’ve treated us.”
Ward has since set up a new studio, Hogrocket, with fellow Bizarre alumni Peter Collier and Geometry Wars creator Stephen Cakebread. The studio’s first game, a brand new IP, is to be revealed in the coming weeks. In the meantime Hogrocket is hard at work on the game’s visuals, with Ward saying he and his team “want something visually impressive before we bang our drums too much about it.”