As a vocal advocate of the need for next-gen consoles and a consistent supporter of new platform launches – as evidenced by their launch games on the 3DS, the Vita and next week’s Wii U – Ubisoft is always looking towards the future. And with key franchises including Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon, Rayman, Splinter Cell, Far Cry, Rainbow Six, etc. all with recent and/or near-future releases, there’s a lot of strategic planning happening in order to support and see success with multiple high profile brands.
That’s not to mention next year’s Watch Dogs, a game that took E3 by storm this summer. If these franchises, a lot of them Tom Clancy related, don’t tickle your fancy, what if they acquired a few more from THQ?
It’s a sad reality of the gaming industry to see so much transition and job loss through game developers shutting down or major publishers making cut backs. THQ’s been earning a lot of negative buzz in headlines lately due to their financial woes and stock prices, and it may soon come to the point where they must offer some of their assets, including brand licenses up for sale. And that has Ubisoft interested.
Ubisoft chairman and CEO Yves Guillemot spoke about THQ’s situation with GamesIndustry International and wasn’t shy about admitting they’re interested in a least some of what THQ has to offer, although he wouldn’t get more specific.
“What happened to [THQ] is something that happens regularly when we have transition. Some can make it, some decide to go in different direction. It happened with Atari and Midway and also Acclaim last generation. … It’s something that happens in this industry and that’s the way the industry consolidates.”
“They have good things. We are always interested in good brands. For sure, it’s something we can consider, but I can’t tell you more.”
THQ saw major success last fall with Saints Row: The Third and a fourth game is on the way. Homefront, although serving as a disappointment for eager gamers, has a sequel in development at Crytek and Metro: Last Light remains one of our most anticipated games of 2013. Other brands under THQ include Darksiders, Warhammer 40,000, WWE, and the now defunct Red Faction, among others.
Homefront obviously is at least relatable to the Clancy games, although all of Ubisoft’s actioners (aside for Call of Juarez) typically embrace third-person gameplay, including Ghost Recon since Future Soldier embraced the change earlier this year. Saints Row may be the most appealing property under THQ but with Saints Row 4 an absolute certainty, it’s unlikely that would be available for purchase. With Ubisoft’s experience in open world games (see: Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs), Saints Row would offer a very different open-world experience to add to their catalog.
THQ also has valuable licensing agreements in place for the WWE, Nickelodeon, Disney-Pixar, etc., to go along with their past and existing original franchises. Another important consideration for Ubisoft if THQ were to sell off some of these brands, is to determine which ones may be ripe for film or television adaptations now that Ubisoft Motion Pictures has formed and is already hard at work developing an Assassin’s Creed film.
It should be noted that as far as we know, THQ isn’t currently selling their core franchises. This is all speculation about the future of the game series we love.
If you had the resources and opportunity to purchase THQ franchises, which would you want to develop new games for?
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Source: GamesIndustry International