Last night the net was sent spiraling a bit with a comment (tweet) from IGDA mobile SIG head Kevin Dent. He claimed that THQ had dropped its entire 2014 games lineup and had put itself up for sale to “Asian firms” in an attempt to increase value. He went on to say that “Word is spreading that THQ has returned IP to Disney AFTER paying the advance, with no refund”. As you can imagine, this set up a lot of conversation and in some cases shock. Fans immediately start to wonder about the fate of their favorite games such as DarkSiders 2 and its much awaited MMO Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium Online. Other folks pondered what this what mean to some much-anticipated titles such as Guillermo Del Toro’s inSane or the as yet unnamed game from former Assassin’s Creed creative director Patrice Désilets. Well it seems that none of this true and THQ has released a statement saying as such.
THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO. As part of the ongoing review of our business, we have made decisions to ensure that the company is strategically addressing the most attractive markets. As we have previously announced, we have dramatically reduced our commitment to the kids’ boxed games sector which leads to a significantly more focused release schedule moving forward. Our slate for calendar 2012 and beyond is focused on high-quality core games and continues to build our digital platform and business. We are excited for our pipeline of original and high-quality content along with our relationships with some of the best talent in the industry.
Additionally, we are thrilled with the great performance of Saints Row: The Third, which on a like for like period in North America has tripled in sell-through from Saints Row 2. In addition, WWE ’12’s worldwide sell-through sales are up almost 40% year-over-year for the same sales period with fewer platforms. According to NPD, for the month of December and the 2011 year, THQ was the #5 publisher overall, #4 third party, with reported sell through growing over 18% in a market that was down almost 6%. And coming up next, we have two great titles for the first half of the year including UFC Undisputed 3 and Darksiders 2.
So for now it seems that these rumors were completely unfounded but as they say there is almost always a bit of truth in any rumor. Most of the responses at the initial rumor wasn’t that it couldn’t be true, it was more sadness that folks might not get to play some games they have been waiting for. The reason nobody didn’t necessarily not believe it is because THQ hasn’t been in the best financial position for a few years and even with a big title like Saints Row: The Third, they still had trouble. In 2011, THQ closed five different studios and made a significant amount of layoffs in the wake of some huge commercial failures like the now defunct uDraw Game Tablet.
The thing that concerns me about THQ’s response though is how fast and how complete of a response they came up with, it seems like they already had it on hand in case anything leaked. For my part, I hope the rumors aren’t true but if it ultimately does prove accurate I won’t be surprised.