Bizarre Creations' ambitious racer Blur failed to find an audience because the basic 'cars with weapons' concept scared off gamers, so says former design manager Gareth Wilson.

Speaking at the annual Develop conference in Brighton, as reported by Edge, Wilson explained that it is part of a developer's job to "reduce people's fear of buying your product" – a job that Bizarre apparently failed to do.

According to Wilson, consumers have three different reactions to a product: comfort, stretch and panic.

He explained that a basic breakfast cereal like cornflakes falls under 'comfort'. Chocolate cornflakes, on the other hand, are a bit of a stretch and ask the customer to take a risk. Cornflakes with bacon, however, would inspire 'panic' – as was the case with Blur – forcing the customer to take their cash elsewhere.

"Fear is a bigger driver for consumers than desire," he said. "They're not going to buy something they haven't tried before, because it might be crap.

"Licensing is a good way to go, but you have to be careful because licensing costs money. You have to balance it. With Project Gotham Racing 3 we spent millions getting Ferrari but it worked. People saw that on the cover.

"But with Blur, the licensing maybe worked against us: real cars and weapons. Bacon with cornflakes."

Despite the game attracting considerable critical acclaim, Blur's poor performance at retail was one of the final nails in Bizarre's coffin, with owner Activision closing the studio last year.

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton is Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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