The Dissolution of THQ: New Publishers Pick Up the Fallen Company’s Assets
The battle was hard fought and long drawn out, but the once mighty publishing house that was THQ has succumbed to bankruptcy.
Despite last ditch efforts to keep themselves above the red line – like putting Naughty Dog co-founder, Jason Rubin, at the head of the company (though, how far could you really go with a man that openly found Saints Row embarrassing?) – THQ folded, with an auction held yesterday for prospective buyers looking to grow their own catalogs by acquiring the former publisher’s assortment of development studios and IP’s.
Bear in mind that the dust has yet to have settled, so most of these acquisitions won’t receive the stamp of approval/blood-signature until the U.S. bankruptcy court has a say…That being said, the following is a list of notable transactions that took place yesterday:
- Crytek now owns the Homefront brand. Crytek UK (Timesplitters as Free Radical) has been working on Homefront 2, so it’s a convenient buy.
- Koch Media purchased Saints Row developer, Volition, Inc., as well as publishing rights to the Metro series. You may be more familiar with Koch’s subsidiary and publisher, Deep Silver (Call of Juarez, Dead Island). Deep Silver has been tasked with overseeing all development and publishing duties surrounding both franchises with impending news on the way.
- Sega has scored RTS experts, Relic Entertainment (Company of Heroes, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War), beating out ZeniMax (Bethesda’s parent) for the studio. The recently announced Company of Heroes 2 is still on track for release.
- Take-Two – parent to Rockstar and 2K Games – bought up the unrevealed shooter tentatively dubbed Evolve, developed by Turtle Rock Studios (best known for their work on Counter-Strike and Left 4 Dead with Valve); Take-Two evidently outbid Turtle Rock for their own game. In another big win, Take-Two negotiated outside of the auction for the WWE video game license, effectively ending THQ’s long established choke-hold on the property.
- Ubisoft is now set to publish Obsidian’s foul mouthed homage to the old school RPG, South Park: The Stick of Truth. THQ Montreal was also bid on and bought; the studio’s staff will be dispersed among Ubisoft’s existing dev teams.
Among the assets not already sold off sits Vigil Games and their Darksiders property, just two games young into the franchise. Apparently, both studio and game went without a single damn bid (yowtch). Given Darksiders II considerable improvement over the original, and its positive critical reception, I don’t expect the Horsemen to stay homeless for long.
Also, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or drunken snapshots of hyper-extended middle fingers on Instagram, we’re becoming more and more aware that THQ has left a lot of unemployed people in its wake. My heart goes out to those that have to put up with such shit luck of the draw – and thank you for all you’ve done for this industry. I wish you the best, folks.
Timesplitters 4 Not Happening Until Met with Higher Demand
“I love Timesplitters, I’m a huge Timesplitters fan particularly of the multiplayer part. I love the idea, I love the brand, I love everything – but the publishers don’t. That’s reality. And I don’t want to spend our own money on the project in a retail business.”
- Cevat Yerli, founder and president of Crytek, speaking with VG24/7.
While public demand for a Timesplitters 4 is moderately high, Yerli doesn’t believe it’s past the threshold of putting the sequel into motion. What does Crytek have to do with Timesplitters, a franchise headed by English developer Free Radical, you ask?
Well, after LucasArts fucked Free Radical three different ways to Sunday during the troubled production of the aborted Star Wars: Battlefront III, the very nearly bankrupt development house (operating on a skeleton crew just to keep the lights on) was taken under Crytek’s wing and rebranded Crytek UK. Now, with Timesplitters being Crytek UK’s baby, and taking into account their parent company’s tendency to almost exclusively dish out first-person shooters, we’re closer than ever to seeing the once magnificent franchise resuscitated…
Except being out of the FPS scene for a whole console cycle sort of muddies your IP’s brand recognition. Consequently, no publisher in town cares about the property. Again, while demand hasn’t been enough to strong arm Crytek into fast-tracking a new installment, fans may take comfort in the fact that the company is at least thinking about the future of Timesplitters.
Fan feedback “did indeed trigger a deeper evaluation of what we do with Timesplitters,” says Yerli, “And I can only say this for now: we might have some surprises coming soon." There hasn’t been an entry into the series since 2005. For a lot of fans’ sakes, hopefully "soon” is soon enough.
Crysis 3 (PC/PS3/X360 - February 2013)
Have yourself a glimpse at some of New York City’s “Seven Wonders." After the city was entombed beneath a nanodome (think Stephen King’s Under the Dome with more science), the streets became enveloped in an urban rainforest. A combination of mother nature and human influence shaped seven visually distinct districts that house a cavalcade of danger.
Thing is, if you use these environments to your advantage, you become that danger.
Crysis 3 (PC/PS3/360 - 2013)