Thursday, 24 January 2013

THQ Bites the Dust

I'm actually pretty sad about this.

From about the mid 2000s onwards, THQ were responsible for some of my favourite games of all time. From Dawn of War to Saints Row, by way of Homeland and Metro, they consistently created games I not only enjoyed but occasionally genuinely loved.

Still, Ashes to Ashes and all that jazz. Let's take a look at what some of the big acquisitions might mean for the future of some franchises.

In my head, this is what the auction looked like.Source
(Just a quick note before I begin, this list itself is pulled from The Escapist, article link is at the top of this post, commentary is my own.)

  • Relic - purchased by Sega for $26 million  
This is the most exciting one for me, and also the most obvious. After Creative Assembly (The Sega-owned company behind the Total War series) and Games Workshop announced a partnership for a Warhammer:Total War type game it makes sense for Sega to also aquire Relic, the studio behind the genre-defining Dawn of War series set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Will they be making a Dawn of Total War? I doubt it, but Sega have come back as a major player in gaming over recent years (any Sonic Team game notwithstanding) and I'm excited to see where this goes.
  • Volition - purchased by Koch Media for $22.3 million
Saints Row is often described as a series trying to be GTA. This isn't true, Saints Row is the series GTA wishes it still was. Long before Niko Bellic was growling his way through a mountain of gritty dialogue and annoying customers I was chasing pedestrians with a flamethrower in a top down-view while the world around me exploded with insanity. Saints Row brings back that childish, giddy thrill of pure, silly destruction and ratchets it up to 10 in both intensity and graphics.

All of that makes it one of my favourite franchises of all time, and is also why I'm a little sad that it got picked up by Koch Media, a publisher who releases games through the brand 'Deep Silver. Sound familiar? This is why Yeah, not relishing the thought of them taking the reigns. Then again, maybe the kind of people who think of disturbing torso figurines are right at home with a franchise that includes giant purple dildo-bats.

Fun fact, my employer almost made display cases for theseSource

  • Evolve (IP) - purchased by Take-Two for $11 million
To be honest, I know nothing about this franchise. I'm overall fairly fond of Take-Two though so I guess you can take that as a positive?
  • Metro (IP) - purchased by Koch Media for $5.8 million
Hoo boy, please see my earlier comments about Koch. While their crazy marketing choices and somewhat bland game design (Risen, Dead Island) might have been workable with Saints Row they could possibly kill a sombre, serious and respected series like Metro, at least after this latest installment (Last Light). 


  • South Park (IP) - purchased by Ubisoft for $3.2 million
  • THQ Montreal - purchased by Ubisoft for $2.5 million
I'm not sure about the South Park games, I never played them. I gotta figure that the aquisition of THQ Montreal though is more a geographical one for Ubisoft, whose largest studio also happens to be in Montreal.
  • Homefront (IP) - purchased by Crytek for $500,000
Finally! Something else I can get excited by. Homefront was a big, silly shooter that would be a clear ripoff of Red Dawn if not for the fact that it was written by the same guy. Can you accuse yourself of Plagarism? Deep.

It got mixed reviews but featured some fun set-pieces, great multiplayer with an innovative in-mission unlock system and was generally just a ton of fun. Now that it's been aquired by Crytek, the name in big and beautiful shooters, I can see a future installment being not only tons of fun but also eye-burning levels of pretty.

Unfortunately the rest of THQs franchises weren't sold, leaving somewhat promising titles like 'Darksiders' with no future for the moment. This is doubly sad, not only for the death of some great Games but also because the studios that made them will now not have their contracts renewed. That means another wave of Layoffs in an allready recession-hit industry.

Bad times.

Until next time friends, let us say Skål! and drink together.

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