THQ Is Done, Major Properties & Studios Sold

Published 2 years ago by

THQ Closes Auction Complete

We’ve known that THQ‘s fate was in serious question ever since the first grumblings of financial trouble surfaced, and today, the other shoe has fallen. The scheduled auctioning-off of THQ’s studios and properties has been completed, and as was expected, the individual bids from rival publishers outmatched the lump sum proposal from Clearlake Capital.

What this means is new publishers for most of the studio’s properties, and that employees not claimed will be working their last days with THQ.

In a letter from THQ CEO Brian Farrell and President Jason Rubin to its employees (forwarded to Kotaku), the official auctioning and new parent companies of several studios was confirmed. Thanks to investment blog DDI, we know the winning bids.

Relic Entertainment, most notable for their work with Company of Heroes and the Warhammer license, has been acquired by Sega for $26 million – the highest price paid in the extensive bidding process. Koch Media purchased the Volition studio (makers of the Saints Row series) and the rights to the Metro franchise for $22.3 million and $5.8 million respectively. It’s hard to say what this means for the planned sequels to each, but expect big news from Koch Media’ video game arm, Deep Silver in the coming weeks. Especially since the company was willing to pay more than four times what Ubisoft was for the keys to S4ints Row (presumed name).

Saints Row 4 In Development Rumor

Crytek has acquired the rights to the Homefront series name outright for $500,000, with Homefront 2 already in production at their studio. Ubisoft chose not to pick up one of THQ’s third-person action franchises, instead purchasing THQ’s Montreal studio to bolster their own for $2.5 million, and the rights to the upcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth for $3.2 million. South Park studios had previously opposed a sale of any kind for the game, in development at Obsidian Entertainment, but apparently their motions failed. Given the publisher though, they should be in good hands.

Perhaps the biggest surprise from the day is that according to both the company and sources, Vigil Games – and their attached Darksiders franchise – received no bids, and will continue to be part of the Chapter 11 proceedings. THQ maintains that they “will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible” but perhaps things aren’t looking so good for Darksiders 3. It seems co-founder Joe Madureira’s departure may have soured more publishers than we had presumed.

Interesting tidbit: THQ’s unannounced ‘Evolve’ was purchased by Take-Two Interactive; we don’t know what it is, but the publisher paid $11 million for it, so consider us interested.

What will stand out to many is the complete absence of Electronic Arts and Activision, especially given the surprise success of Saints Row: The Third. The major publishers consistently fall victim to fan outrage and vilification for their deep pockets, but critics may end up eating their words if the next installments in these franchises suffer from a lackluster marketing campaign.

Darksiders 2 Arguls Tomb Reviews Xbox

That’s plenty of information to digest, and it’s hard to know just how much of each studio will remain intact, or even working on their existing projects. We’d like to assume some autonomy will carry forward, but anyone familiar with the horror stories of the video game industry knows that might not be the case.

Those employees whose contract were not purchased by an outside party will either be let go or contacted directly over the next few days, with Farrell and Rubin ending their letter with words of thanks to all involved:

“It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be operating as part of new organizations.

“For those THQ employees who are part of entities that are not included in the sale, we are confident that the talent you have displayed as part of THQ will be recognized as you take the next steps in your career.

“Thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your talent with the THQ team. We wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep in touch.”

The times, they are a-changing. We’ll keep you up to date as sales continue, and join the rest of THQ’s fans in hoping the best for those affected by the proceedings.

For now, which of these acquisitions and studio movements seem most promising to you? Is there one in particular that you have your doubts with? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Kotaku, Distressed Debt Investing

TAGS: Crytek Studios, Darksiders, Deep Silver, Homefront, Homefront 2, Metro 2033, Relic Entertainment, Saints Row, Sega, South Park, Take-Two Interactive, THQ, Ubisoft, Volition, Warhammer

  • Gallifreyanjedi

    It’s sad that there have been no bids on Vigil. It’s relatively new and it has so much potential.

    • Dante

      Perhaps some of the big boys have shown interest and the little guys are just staying out of it. (Wishful thinking mostly)

      I would think Darksiders would fit well in Sony’s stable – I could imagine some of the guys from Santa Monica doing wonders for the combat and visuals.

      But heck, I’ll bet Microsoft could do something with it too. Maybe even, Nintendo?

      • Gallifreyanjedi

        I think it’d be great if Nintendo picked it up. Darksiders does have elements of Zelda in it, along with God of War, and Prince of Persia. But honestly I’ll just be happy if it’s saved by someone decent enough.

        • Dante

          I doubt Nintendo would pick it up honestly, doubt they’d want another dungeon crawler with Zelda(s).

  • COREY_1993

    im gutted… i love darksiders :( its the only thing (apart form saints row) that i wantedd to do well in this. look like i wont get darksiders 3.

  • Rabbit93

    Ubisoft got THQ Montreal. Thats nice. Im glad that the rughts to Stick of Truth went to a good place. I wonder what Trey and Matt think of it though, since the games pretty much theirs.

    • Dante

      I think Trey & Matt aren’t the kind of guys to be strong-armed into a publisher though – they chose THQ carefully (maybe not enough attention to their books, but I digress) – I doubt they’re happy about Ubi’s acquisition.

      If they aren’t happy with how Ubi represents their property they may just go into video game hibernation again…

      So IF we ever get to play the Stick of Truth, I will savor it, because it may be the last South Park console game we get for a while.

    • Sean “BlackJoker” P.

      If they screw up the game or go against what Trey and Matt want I can see them making a South Park Episode about Game developers making things shit for what they thing it right even against the makers of it. Sort of how they did with Indiana Jones. . . “They Raped Indi” And to me that would be a big win. I like the episodes that introduce the games into it. SouthPark World of Warcraft is still one of the funnier ones of the new generations.

      But I am looking forward to what Ubisoft can do and if they can please Trey and Matt. They mention that they picked THQ for a reason and they didn’t just choice them out of the mood. I am going to miss THQ. . . A lot of there games even with a smaller then most fan base are so fun to play.

      • Rabbit93

        Yea. I feel like Trey and Matt are sitting there skwirming right now wondering whats going to happen. I hope everything goes according to plan though. Ubisoft is great, in my opinion, but its not my opinion hat matters, its theres. And, i agree, THQ has been around for a while. It is going to take some getting used to not seeing there logo imprinted on games anymore.

  • jwalka

    well, there goes any hope of a decent saints row game. all the games that publisher has published have sucked in terms of quality and all felt rushed, mainly the ones done by the dead island studio (the only known studio working with that publisher). excuse the lack of company names, i have little interest in memorising the names of companies that fly under the radar b/c of their sucky products 😉

    ubisoft should grab darksiders and vigil since under their wing, the studio will really be able ot shine. i love their design and animation teams and it sucks that no one really cares for this studio since they have a lot6 of talent and love for gaming, much like the guys that did kindgoms of amalur (one of my favourite RPG’s).

  • boogoo

    They’re making a Homefront 2?

  • chetc

    C’mon Sega, start work on Warhammer: DOW 3!