Sad news as Disney has officially closed Black Rock Studios, the British developers of Split/Second and ATV game Pure. Having already been hit with layoffs earlier in the year, the latest Black Rock Studios project did not receive the go-ahead from Disney, and that led to its demise.
“Disney Interactive Studios confirms that Black Rock Studios’ current project has not been greenlit for further development, consequently the company informed employees yesterday of the intent to enter a consultation process on the proposal to close the studios,” wrote Disney in a statement offered to Eurogamer.
This follows the closure of Bizarre Creations earlier in the year by Activion, following the strange release of competing games Blur and Split/Second to coincide with each other, and means we’ve lost two great racing game studios. Prior to becoming Black Rock, the studio was known as Climax Racing (Formerly Climax Brighton), and produced MotoGP ’06 and ’07 for the Xbox, two Hot Wheels games, and two ATV games in addition to Pure and Split/Second.
It was originally founded in 1998, but there’s some good news – 3 new studios have already poppsed up from the ashes, with Roundcube Entertainment led by Split/Second director Nick Baynes, ShortRound Games, formed by a former Black Rock Studios quartet, and BossAlien with Pure director Jason Avent.
So in case you’re in any doubt, with the loss of both Bizarre (Blur) and Black Rock (Split/Second), we’ve lost:
- MotoGP ’06 and ’07
- Project Gotham Racing
(Incidentally, since the closure of Bizarre Creations, new studio Hogrocket features Geometry Wars creator Steven Cakebread, and Bizarre’s former community manager Ben Ward).
Here’s hoping every at Black Rock can go onto bigger and better things – and best wishes and good luck to those we know personally. Sadly we’ll never know exactly why both Split/Second and Blur got such good reviews but poor sales, and how both companies managed to miss huge success under two large publishers, but we’ll always have a soft spot for great racing games and British developers…