All is good in the land of The Saints. The much publicized collapse of THQ meant that properties were going to be sold off, including the Saints Row franchise. Volition, and its Saints Row game, went to Koch Media. Little did many knew was that Koch Media was the parent company of Deep Silver, the publisher of Dead Island and the upcoming Dead Island Riptide. As evidenced by the trailer they just revealed, Saints Row IV is alive and well. If fact, it has a release date: August 20, 2013.
It’s pretty much common knowledge that THQ is now dead and selling off its assets to multiple companies. The WWE license went to 2K Sports, Volition went to Koch Media, Crytek bought Homefront, etc. You can see the full list here. But there are smaller assets that are still with THQ and are to be auctioned off by April, namely the console distribution rights to some of Double Fine’s games.
THQ published and distributed Double Fine’s Costume Quest and Stacking across the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2010 and 2011 respectively (While Double Fine did all of it themselves on PC). Double Fine VP of business development Justin Bailey stated to Polygon, “THQ retained limited distribution rights that we bid on during the previous process to reclaim them prior to their expiration.” Double Fine still owns the IP to these two games, but in its current state, other companies could scoop up the publishing rights for the console versions, thus potentially stifling Double Fine’s freedom to choose different publisher if they choose to make more games in each franchise. If they get them back, they have 100% control again, and can choose to find a more fitting publisher or self-publish those games on consoles.
Poor poor THQ. That little uDraw fiasco and banking on Darksiders II to save them just wasn’t going to cut it. THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, which means that while they will still operate and have current games still being developed, their primary focus right now is to pay off the debt they’ve incurred. In their bankruptcy filings, it’s revealed that THQ owes $45 million to World Wrestling Entertainment. THQ has partnered with WWE for a very long time, making wrestling games as far back as the original Smackdown! on the PS1 (and probably earlier). The WWE games got its loyal fans, but it looks like they weren’t enough as now THQ owes WWE. Chairman Vince McMahon is pretty peeved at this and is watching the bankruptcy proceedings closely. I think he should also consider starting up a videogame publishing branch and just self publish the games instead of having someone else do it.
In other THQ news, It looks like Ubisoft might want to buy out the company. Going back to how the bankruptcy works for the company, they’ve offloaded their assets to an investment firm and are trying to find a buyer. One of those potential buyers is Ubisoft, and they want to get THQ’s properties for cheap. According to MCV, “Ubisoft is after a bargain buy, and is prepared to hold-out until THQ is forced to sell off specific assets…” This means that if they’re successful, they will acquire Red Faction, Saints Row, Company of Heroes, Homefront, Darksiders, and any remaining deals left with the aforementioned WWE. Ubisoft’s been growing quite a lot as of late, and this acquisition will greatly expand their catalog of games.
Ahoy! In this episode of The Wired Fish Podcast, we ponder about THQ’s money troubles and how they hope Darksiders 2 will save them. Then we talk about Next-Gen Expectations and what people expect from the next generation of gaming. Finally, we discuss about the Free-to-Play model giving rise to Pay-To-Win.
Time-Table of Contents after the break.
Ah, looks like the ESRB has ruined the surprise for THQ and Volition. The ESRB has rated Red Faction II and looks like it’s slated for release on the PS3. Not much else is known as to what kind of release this geo-modding first person will be. Is it going to be a PS2 classic, or a remastered HD Port. This leak comes off the heels of THQ reporting improved financial earnings thanks to Saints Row: The Third. So maybe THQ might be a little more confident right now to do things with the Red Faction series after the sales stinker that was Red Faction: Armageddon.
ESRB rates Red Faction II for PS3 [Gamepur]
It just hasn’t been THQ’s week. First there’s the report that because of the poor sales of their equally poor uDraw tablet, THQ would be shuttering their kids division, thus nixing development on E-rated titles (and pretty much developing on the Wii). This after such a huge marketing push of the uDraw, and noticing that their more mature titles were selling higher than the stuff they were pumping out for kids. Soon after that, they closed out the day at 70 cents a share on the stock market. Ouch. Nasdaq then threatened to de-list them from the stock exchange. And now comes news that THQ will be handing pink slips to over 170 employees. So far no one knows if those 170 people are from the Kids Division of THQ or the part of the company that makes Saints Row and Metro.
While we hope this won’t be the case, an entire closure of THQ feels imminent. If not, then expect a major reshuffling of the company (if an ex-employee of THQ spilling the beans is anything to go by) and more safer-to-sell games coming out of THQ.