Bizarre Creations’ upcoming racer Blur is at the centre of a crucial $40 million payout deal between the Liverpool-based studio and its owning company Activision.
Develop has today revealed that Activision paid out $67.4 million in cash to wholly acquire the Project Gotham Racing developer back in 2007.
However, an additional $40 million is in play; with Activision pledging to offer the whole amount if Bizarre meets commercial targets by 2012/13.
Key to those commercial targets is the market response to Blur – Bizarre’s upcoming arcade racer – though other Bizarre titles are expected to be part of the deal. Chief properties highlighted on Bizarre’s official website include Geometry Wars, The Club and Project Gotham Racing.
Project Gotham Racing, though a property owned by Microsoft, has certainly shown that Bizarre Creations can deliver a mass-market title.
“We were absolutely astounded at how well Gotham 1 sold,” said Bizarre Creations associate producer Chris Pickford last week. “I think we projected that the game would sell around 500,000 units, but we absolutely smashed it.”
Though in no way connected to the acquisition information Develop was privy to, Pickford and his colleagues had attended the Develop Conference in Brighton to head a session on the evolution of the racing franchise.
“I’ve been told not to mention specific sales figures by the powers that be,” he said at the time, “but I can tell you that the franchise sold over seven million units since the last count.”
Bizarre’s breakthrough racer also featured an Easter-egg minigame, Geometry Wars. Pickford said the bonus game was included “as a joke”, yet Bizarre went on to release a standalone edition of the title – Geometry Wars Retro Evolved – which went on to become a pioneering game on Microsoft’s XBLA service. The game was ported to several other consoles and saw a sequel.