It’s a sad day in gaming – publisher THQ has filed for bankruptcy. According to Eurogamer, THQ currently owns four studios and games in development – Metro: Last Light, Company of Heroes 2, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Saints Row (the one formerly known as ‘Enter the Dominatrix’).
For months now, we’ve seen THQ barely manage to keep its head above the water; constantly reassuring us that the titles we’re looking forward to are still in development and that the financial crises won’t affect development and distribution.
THQ had a year filled with bad luck and bad business decisions.
A string of poor decisions and a lack of consistent and well-timed title releases left THQ starving for revenue and facing a grim year ahead. THQ was forced to restructure, cutting 240 jobs; the company brought in former Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin to head the company, in the hopes of a miraculous turn-around.
And recently, THQ announced it had to push the release dates for a few of its biggest titles, and by doing so, it pushed back its only chance at financial survival too.
Ubisoft won't be buying up THQ assets as expected, after all.
Instead, Clearlake Capital Group is buying THQ assets for $60 million.
But, it’s not the end for THQ – or its titles. According to the publisher, it will continue its operations under Clearlake Capital Group’s ownership. And, THQ has announced it “does not intend to reduce its workforce as a result of the filing, and employees will continue to work their usual schedules and receive normal compensation and benefits, pending customary Court approval.”
THQ CEO Brian Farrell says, “The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQ’s transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios and THQ’s deep bench of talent.”
“We are grateful to our outstanding team of employees, partners and suppliers who have worked with us through this transition. We are pleased to have attracted a strong financial partner for our business, and we hope to complete the sale swiftly to make the process as seamless as possible.”
In November, it seemed that THQ would come to one of two grisly ends: its assets would be viciously picked apart and strip-mined by larger publishers, or it would disappear into oblivion.
For a while, THQ was teetering dangerously close to a financial ruin that could see the end of their exciting titles.
I think THQ has gotten itself the best deal it could have. By filing for bankruptcy and selling to Clearlake Capital Group, THQ retains its staff, its assets and its titles, with the healthy support of a strong financial backer. THQ didn’t have to shamefully auction off its hard-earned reputation and pass along titles that have spent years in development for others to publish.
It also didn’t vanish into the history books, remembered as a once-great publisher that that faded quickly into distant memory.
For now, THQ is still around and we can still expect to see Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light release somewhere around March 2013.