It’s sad to see a game company go. After 23 years, THQ closes its doors for the last time. The company, whose name was derived from Toy Headquarters, was forced to sell off its properties and admit defeat after several attempts to revive the business. Despite its roster filled with franchises such as WWE, Darksiders and Saint’s Row, the company finally sank after treading water for so long. Late last year, THQ filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the hopes of latching onto a company who had financial stability. Sadly, this ended in failure. The company and its studios were to be sold to the Clearlake Capital Group for at least $60 million. THQ president Jason Rubin said that the Chapter 11 move would not mean the end of THQ at the time. The company’s upcoming titles (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2) would not be disrupted. Unfortunately, creditors and trustees objected to the move and in the end the company couldn’t stay together. Piece by piece, the company was auctioned off for approximately $72 million.THQ started out making kids’ games and it popular wrestling games which led to its success up until the 2000s where it started to expand into other genres. Red Fraction, MX, and Destroy All Humans! Were among the company’s success titles that jump in other gaming genres. They were able to acquire and create a worldwide studio system. However, the company had a hard time to take the next step that would help them compete with companies like Electronic Arts and Activision. THQ soon ended up in desire straits by 2011 after the decision to move away from the licensed kids’ software that made the company successful was announced. The following year its uDraw tablet accounted for $100 million in lost revenue, which lead to titles such as Red Fraction being canceled and a restructuring period that resulted in layoffs and studio closures.
When Jason Rubin joined the company in May 2012, he had no idea of the financial impact THQ had taken. Nevertheless, he wanted to persevere and try to turn the ailing company around. They thought they were thrown a life saver by finding a partner in Clearlake and filing for Chapter 11 but the courts delayed the initial sale THQ to Clearlake on January 4. Jason worried that the company would not survive. “I cannot think of anything that I could have done to change the outcome,” he said in an interview. “But I can tell you that I will spend a lot of sleepless nights thinking about what I could have changed. Even if I can’t figure out what I could have changed, I accept those results as failure. I am not dodging that responsibility.”
While many of THQ’s games have found new homes with other companies, developers like Vigil, its Darksiders property and unannounced title, and the WWE license remain unsold. Most likely, these will be sold off separately, according to Jason. Unfortunately for THQ, it is too little, too late. But for the games, their future looks bright now that they have found a new place with other companies. It is only a matter of time before they reach their intended audience, the core gamer.
Here’s where THQ’s games and studios went and for how much:
Volition and Saint’s Row IP was brought by Koch Media for $22.3 million. The company also got hold of Metro: Last Light for $5.9 million.
Relic and Company of Heroes 2 went to Sega for $26.6 million.
Ubisoft pulled off a double win with the acquisition of THQ Montreal ($2.5 million) and South Park: The Stick of Truth ($3.3 million).
Crytek snatched up Homefront 2 for $500K and Evolve (by Turtle Rock Studios) found home with Take-Two for $10.9 million.
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