The End of An Era: THQ Is No More

It’s not often that I say this, but I’m stunned.  For what seemed like an interesting case to follow had more dire consequences than most people realized, myself included.  I kind of had to take a day to really digest and process everything that went down on Wednesday as there’s just so many storylines and finer details to comb through.  Below I’ve compiled the facts as we know them and also my thoughts on the whole thing.  Feel free to share your thoughts and memories of THQ in the comments below.

THQ_logo_2011

On this past Wednesday, the THQ bankruptcy hearing concluded including the auctioning off of it’s assets.  Here’s where things ended up and my take.

Read on below the jump for the details…

Volition, Inc – Acquired by Koch Media for $22 million
My Take:  What many consider to be the crown jewel, I was surprised to see that it wasn’t scooped up by a major player like EA or Activision.  For those who don’t know, Koch Media and their games label, Deep Silver, have put out many games including the Risen series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Skies, and Dead Island to name a few.  It’s my hope that they don’t meddle with Volition too much and let them do what they need to do.  We’ll see.

Relic Entertainment – Acquired by Sega for $26.6 million
My Take: With Creative Assembly already in tow and flourishing, Sega seems to be a wonderful fit for this strategy powerhouse.  Not only that, Relic is in possession of the Warhammer 40K license as well so this deal seems to effectively unite both Warhammer licenses (fantasy and 40K) under one roof.  Just imagine what Creative Assembly could now do maybe uniting one of those with their Total War franchise?  On the outside, this seems like a good fit.  Creative Assembly seems to be left to their own devices so I see no reason why Sega wouldn’t do that for Relic as well.

THQ Montreal – Acquired by Ubisoft for $2.5 million
My Take: Well, this is certainly interesting.  After leaving Ubisoft and the Assassin’s Creed franchise to join THQ Montreal, Patrice Desilets is now on his way back to his former employer and bringing the unknown ‘1666’ and ‘Underdog’ with him.  Honestly, with Ubisoft jumping on this project and Patrice back into the fold, this seems like a great fit.  Plus, it lends confidence to what Patrice and his team have been working on over there that Ubisoft took notice and scooped them up.  Hopefully we see more at E3 this year.

Evolve IP – Acquired by Take-Two Interactive for $10.8 million
My Take: I have to commend Turtle Rock for trying to buy their own IP but their bid came up short to Take-Two.  “Evolve” is a title that nothing is really known about so I don’t really have any idea on what to expect.  I’d assume it’s a 4 player co-op game like they did with Left 4 Dead.  I respect Take-Two and the handling of their studios so I’m not worried about this title.

Homefront – Acquired by Crytek for $544,218
My Take: Well, this one is a no brainer considering that they’re currently working on the sequel.  I’m excited about this pairing mainly because I know Crytek will push the game and get the most out of it.  While the first game wasn’t all it was hyped up to be, there’s a solid foundation and so much potential there to work with.  Besides, imagine the CryEngine powering this one?  Good times.

Metro – Acquired by Koch Media for $5.8 million
My Take: Again, from what I’m hearing Koch plans on keeping both Saints Row and the Metro games true to their roots so I wouldn’t expect much meddling from the new owner.  Last Light is due out in March so there’s not much time to really change the course there.  We’ll have to wait and see about future games in the series though.  Considering Koch has experience with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series though and that 4A is made up of former GSC Game World can only be good, right?

South Park – Acquired by Ubisoft for $3.2 million
My Take: Little surprised by this one not because I don’t think it’s a good fit, but more on the thought that I didn’t really see these two being paired up.  My initial thought is that with all of the press the game was getting prior to the THQ split, the buzz and hype seemed high on the game.  I’m guessing Ubisoft wanted to capitalize on that and saw a good investment.

Sadly, not all the news is good.  Not everyone was able to keep their jobs as properties/developers that were not purchased in the hearing means they’ll get pulled into the Chapter 11 case.  In layman’s terms: they’re being laid off.  Twitter flooded with people announcing that they’ve been laid off from various former THQ entities such as Vigil this past Wednesday.  I have to admit, the outpouring of support from people and companies to those people affect really warms the heart.  It’s great to see people working together to help people in a tough spot.

Still, I can’t believe no one picked up the talented folks at Vigil.  Word on Wednesday is that employees were let go so even though there is a change the IP could still be picked up, it’s looking like we’ve just witnessed the death of a franchise that really didn’t deserve it.  I’m also wondering what happened to franchises like The Devil’s Third and the WWE license.  The current rumor floating out there is that the WWE license has been grabbed by Take-Two and that Platinum Games is looking at the Darksiders IP but nothing official.  I hear that backlog/non-purchased IPs will be sold at auction at a later date and that the remains of THQ is still trying to find buyers for their properties.  While Vigil may no longer exist as a company, it’s entirely possible that we may see more Red Faction and Darksiders games down the road.

Even though we may have seen the fall of THQ coming for quite a while now, it’s safe to say that none of us could really have predicted this outcome.  It’s also nice to see how much support and attention this story has generated throughout the industry and fans working to help each other through a hard time.  It’s inspiring and I really hope everyone lands on their feet quickly.  Best of luck to everyone affected.  I’m looking forward to seeing what you all have planned next.

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One Response to The End of An Era: THQ Is No More

  1. Ryan says:

    even though it was coming, it was still quite a shock to me. I feel so bad for everyone there. All that work they’ve put in. Hoping everything works out.

    I’m not sure what to think of Ubisoft getting South Park. While Ubisoft does make great games, i agree with your statement that they probably just want to capitalize on it which slightly ticks me off. Ubisoft likes to do their own thing, so I’m curious to see how Matt and Trey get along with them after they tried to get the assets back

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