To say that the spiritual successor to Black (which is known as Bodycount) was a bust is perhaps an understatement. We don’t know how much the departure of Stewart Black from the helm of Bodycount contributed to this situation, but Codemasters Guildford studio appears to be paying the price.
Word from Codemasters is that they will be moving to close its Guildford facility to instead focus on its core racing titles including DIRT, F1, and GRID. Codemasters will probably not be working on first person shooter titles in the future.
Bodycount’s reviews and sales have been disappointing for Codemasters, who hoped to establish the title a new FPS franchise for the publisher moving forward. The Codemasters Guildford studio that developed the title will see 66 employees displaced in the studio closure, but some will have the chance to relocate to the company’s Birmingham and Warwickshire facilities. The Birmingham facility is actually undergoing an expansion that will see the addition of a second team that will be working on a new racing IP, according to Codemasters.
UK Developers, known for racing titles, have been hard hit recently with Pure and Split/Second developer Black Rock closed by Disney; and prior to that Bizarre Creations, known for Blur and the Project Gotham series, was also closed by Activision. While the recent releases by both developers received excellent reviews for the most part, this didn’t lead to sales, and both titles struggled to find an audience.
Codemasters, on the other hand, has actually been doing well with its most recent racing title releases with both Dirt 3 and the last F1 game selling better than expected. Prior to that, the company had successful sales of Dirt 2 and GRID. Codemasters has been doing an excellent job getting people to buy racing titles where others have struggled. It is understandable that they wish to continue to focus on the racing releases and they have a deep talent pool from which to choose for their Birmingham expansion.