Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thank You, Activision

I was going to post this in the previous post, but I decided to split this one up.

If you don't know already, Bizarre Creations is nearly dead at the hands of its parent company, Activision.  Let us talk about it for a little while.  Its first hit was Metropolis Street Racer (Dreamcast), a precursor to the Project Gotham Racing (Xbox) series.  I know my boy rjay loves MSR, so here one's of his videos:

And then there's PGR 1 through 4--this time with Microsoft.  I actually had a lot of fun with PGR1 and 4 though most prefer PGR2.  It was a good diversion for someone who's been depraved of Sega racing goodness for some time.  I filmed this video on PGR4, check it out cause it's wicked sweet at the end:

And then this is where Activision comes in.  First, Bizarre makes Blur which I talked about back in July '10.  Yes, I may have opened up on it, but to be fair, it's not THAT bad of a game.  I hear it sold over 360,000 copies, but the article says it didn't sell well at all.  Is this game a failure?  *shrug*

Then, Bizarre (despite being a racing dev first and foremost) is told to make an FPS.  This one's called 007: Blood Stone: click here to check out the review.  It's kind of like Quantum of Solace (by Activision themselves) which came out two years before.  With Call of Duty in the way, I highly doubt this game's going anywhere.  Surprisingly, Blood Stone does have driving sequences...albeit mediocre ones.

And that's it.  Blood Stone sucks, Blur's not getting any more DLC/updates, and Bizarre is dead.  So Activision killed Bizarre to keep up what they've done to Infinity Ward and RedOctane.  Hey Sega, maybe you can pick up these guys again and teach them about your SEGA RACING GOODNESS and recruit more soldiers in the fight...too bad no one's listening.

EDITEDITEDIT: Day later, looks like Bizarre may get a new owner after all, but they won't say who.  So they're alive! I guess...


Oh yeah, and how about this:  Tony Hawk: Shred Sells 3,000 Units In The First Week. Man, I tell you this.  The old Tony Hawks were super-fun, just busting out sweet combos and stuff.  But starting with Tony Hawk: Underground 2, the series has become a laughing stock.  Now it's gone from a laughing stock to a coma patient because after the abysmal failure that was Tony Hawk: Ride, Activision ditches Neversoft, gets another dev to make Tony Hawk: Shred, and it sucks, sucks, sucks.  I didn't even know this game existed until now.  Why oh why does this happen.

Well, goodbye skateboarding genre, you were cool for a little while...  I know there's Skate but nothing will replace the old THPS feel.  Then again, after watching videos like this, the whole game feels gimmicky as hell now so, uh...there goes my Tony Hawk career as a poor loser.  I'm done ranting.


  1. Thanks for featuring one of my MSR videos Eric. Actually Bizarre Creations earliest hit was F1 '97...

    I only began to enjoy MSR once I had completed the game, as I could then concentrate on Time Attack. For me, it's the unique slidey handling that makes the game enjoyable. Unfortunately the 'kudos' element in MSR, the meat of the game, is a disaster. People would just donut ad infinitum on select tracks to obtain hyper-inflated kudos scores. I know people also did this with PGR1/2 but at least there's a time limit. MSR's strapline was "It's not about how fast you drive but how you drive fast"; this is wrong. It should in fact say "It's not about how fast you drive or how you drive's what you can get away with".

  2. I see. I never really cared about kudos in the first place. There was this cool freestyle mode in PGR where you had to run through cone gates and drift to keep a combo going. If there wasn't a time limit, I don't think you could go backwards and earn points doing drifts in the same locations repeatedly. I'm not sure since I hadn't played in a long time. Time trial looks more fun.

    What I also noticed in this and in PGR is that wall collisions can be beneficial since it slows you down more than using the brakes does (we saw this in Daytona 1/2 and Scud Race, but in extreme cases). I think you grazed the wall barely back there, but looks like you just rubbed off just fine.

  3. Ahh, that technique you see in my MSR video is called 'kerbing'. Basically your outer wheels bounce the car off the kerb before hitting the wall. If you actually make contact with a wall, you get a red warning. Forgot to mention, I wrote a recent FAQ for MSR...

    BTW a new Fast & Furious coin-op, Supercars...

  4. Hmm, that does sound difficult to pull off consistently. Didn't know about the warning. Does that void your lap time or does it force you to slow down for a few seconds?

    Also, new FnF doesn't look bad, but still, it's an Fnf game, come on... Makes me sad that FnF series gets more attention than Daytona ever got over the last 10 years. Love how the race ends with the first-place car in midair.

  5. If you were playing for Kudos, the warning would indicate a penalty deduction to your final score. Therefore it's possible to end up with minus Kudos if you smashed your car all the way around the track. It's a shame as a few minor adjustments (ie more time limits, penalties for 360 donuts) would have made MSR's kudos system much better.

    As for Time Attack mode, it just shows everyone you made contact with the side.

    I have been searching for the original internet ranking for MSR. However all I would probably see would be hyper-inflated kudos scores and 0.000 time laps achieved using am action replay code (similar to the US Dreamcast rankings for Daytona USA 2001). Thanks to YT I can now prove my fast times. With that in mind, I may try to get some times on Cyberscores rankings.

    PS FnF is getting more attention than Daytona in the arcade as there hasn't been a new Daytona coin-op in 12 years (discounting Sega Racing Classic which is too overpriced for what it is). Also the FnF cabinets are cheaper to buy than Sega/Namco/Taito cabs so more operators are willing to buy them as there's less downside should they not make a return. If Sega/Namco/Taito/Konami continue to sell their games at prices only big chain arcades can afford, little wonder Raw Thrills is making inroads into their business.

  6. What effect do warnings have on actual races? If I were to bounce of the wall and finish first, what's the difference?

    I agree, a few Kudos (as well as collision) tweaks would've made the game better.

    PGR3 and 4 have awesome car interiors which is one of their biggest draws, see here:
    Forza 3's are weak. GT5 might top theirs assuming they get the sense of speed down.

    High scores--Gamesharks/Action Replays are fun but we'll never see them again thanks to online leaderboards. :( They were fun to mess around with in games like Goldeneye and Super Mario 64 on the N64...

    And I see why FnF would get a boost by their cheap cabinets. Sad that Sega can't even contend there either.

  7. Hitting the sides: if the race is part of the main kudos campaign, you get a penalty even if finishing 1st. In a quick race it makes no difference at all.

    Nice racing in PGR4...I still haven't bought a current gen console simply because I have so many last gen ones that have never been played (about 30/40)!

    Sega are going to release Sega Rally 3 as a 'kit', ie you can put it in another racing game cabinet. Difficulty is, it's classified as a technial racer and there's more money to be made in titles like FnF.

  8. Thanks. It's a damn shame though because PGR is a really fast-paced, loose arcade experience but it has some flaws that could be easily fixed. Also, PGR4 allowed you race in the rain and snow which is something you hardly see in racing games. Imagine Nurburgring in the snow in a high-powered RWD's hell.

    And FnF will always be a cash cow; that's not going to change any time soon. I'm convinced that Western arcades (even the ones that are alive) are crap now.

  9. Sorry to comment on an old posting but it seems my search for the original MSR ranking is finally over! I never did find them, but I've now learned that as well as Action Reply codes, there was no protection on the gamesaves so they could easily be hacked to display whatever time/kudos score you desire...

    Shame as I've probably spend a good 80-100 hours looking for them! @_@

  10. I still see old posts so I'll reply. Sorry about your old records :(