THQ auctioned off; Assets divided

THQGrab

Yesterday the video game industry, like vultures circling a soon-to-be-corpse, swopped in to snatch up bits and pieces of THQ and its properties in  an auction. Here’s who got which properties.

SEGA reportedly picked up Relic entertainment for the tidy sum of $26 million. That’s actually a pretty damned good fit; the RTS specialist responsible for Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. With SEGA’s Creative Assembly in charge of the fantasy Warhammer games that puts the entire thing under one banner.

Crysis developers Crytek threw $500 000 in to the hat for the rights to the awful, but awfully successful Homefront. Let’s hope they can actually do something worthwhile with that franchise – though my money’s on them turning it in to some sort of free-to-play game.

One of the more surprising acquisitions was Koch Media’s purchase of both the rights to Metro for $5.8 Million as well as the entirety of Saint’s Row developer Volition Inc, who’ll continue to release games under the Koch’s “Deep Silver” publishing label.

Ubisoft paid $3.2 million for Obsidian’s South Park: The Stick of Truth and a further $2.5 million for THQ Montreal – headed up by the former Ubisoft employee who made Assassin’s creed happen, Patrice Désilets. The studio was working on two new IP’s; 1666 and Underdog.

"The creative freedom that THQ gives its artists and developers–and their willingness to make games that truly reflect an artistic vision–really drew me to THQ," Désilets said when he rather publicly left Ubisoft in 2011.

Welcome back to Ubisoft’s shackles, Patrice.

Take-Two scooped up Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock’s new IP “Evolve” – reportedly built using Crytek’s CryEngine 3 -  for $11 million. There’s no solid word on what’s happened with THQ’s WWE Wrasslin licences, but there are rumours that they’ve also gone to Take-Two and could end up being developed by 2K Sports. If that means the WWE games will become more serious simulators, then I’m all on board.

In news that some may find surprising, nobody bid for Darksiders developer Vigil Games or the IP and the developer will remain part of THQ’s chapter 11 bankruptcy process, and a byer might yet be found if possible. I honestly am not particularly surprised by this; Darksiders 2 sold pretty poorly and failed to even break even. While that might upset gamers, it’s just not good business.

“I am truly sorry for the employees and fans of Vigil Games,” said THQ president Jason Rubin via Twitter. “It is a travesty that the team and its potential were not recognized.”

In a parting letter to staff, THQ let former employees know what they might expect.

“We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered employment by the new owners,” the letter continued. “However, we cannot say what these owners may intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new owners intend to extend employment to you.

“While the company will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will continue under new ownership.”

“If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, we regret that your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be employed by THQ beyond January 25 to assist with the transition. THQ has sufficient resources to pay these employees for work going forward, and we will be contacting these employees immediately to ensure their continued employment during this transition period.

“We are requesting the ability to offer certain severance pay to minimize disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next steps in their careers.”

What do you think? Did the right games end up in the right hands? Are you happy to see, for example, that EA and Activision got nothing? Are you sad to see the future of Darksiders effectively crushed?

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.


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