Yesterday an auction was concluded for THQ’s development studios and franchises giving many of these teams and games new homes, but also leaving some (especially a major franchise) in question. Here is how it all broke down:
Makers of Company of Heroes
Winning bidder: Sega, $26.6 million.
Backup: Zenimax Media, $26.3 million.
Makers of 1666 and Underdog, titles under development.
Winning bidder: Ubisoft, $2.5 million. No runner-up.
(title in development at Turtle Rock Studios)
Winning bidder: Take-Two Interactive, $10.894 million.
Backup: Turtle Rock Studios, $250,000.
Maker of Saints Row
Winning bidder: Koch Media, $22,312,925.
Backup: Ubisoft, $5.4 million.
Released 2011; due for a sequel.
Winning bidder: Crytek. $544,218.
Series; due for the sequel Metro: Last Light.
Winning Bidder: Koch Media, $5,877,551
Backup: Ubisoft: $5.175 million.
License; South Park: The Stick of Truth is due for release March 5.
Winning bidder: Ubisoft, $3,265,306
A few things to explain here, first and foremost you may be wondering who Koch Media is. This is the company who owns the studio behind Dead Island (Deep Silver_. A lot of people peg this big purchase by them as a step to being a major company in the video game industry. New titles for Saint’s Row and Metro may take a while (other than the Metro title that was expected to hit this year). Deep Silver released a statement last night that wherever they take either franchise in the future, they will remain faithful to what gamers expect from each game.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is going to be an interesting development. Early talks said South Park was in no danger from the THQ auction and that Viacom/South Park Interactive had control over the game and being able to find a new publisher. Now we are aware that the publishing right WERE available in the auction and were purchased by Ubisoft. Further rumors indicate that the rights to this game are not as cut and dry as Ubisoft just buying them and releasing the title. the South Park side of this can possibly use a loop hole in their contract they originally signed with THQ to find a different publisher who will offer a better deal than Ubisoft. So far there have been no rumblings of the South Park side looking to use the loop hole but it’s still early. This could create some issues for the game to his it’s May 2013 release date and could fall any number of months back as details are ironed out. There is the chance that the deal made yesterday is simply accepted and both parties move on to release the game on time. Only time will tell.
Ubisoft also made a very interesting move in purchasing THQ Montreal headed by Patrice Déselit a former Ubisoft developer who was the creative director for Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2. He left Ubi for THQ so it will be interesting to see what happens now that he is back under the Ubisoft umbrella.
With all this news there are still franchises and a major studio left up in the air. Vigil, the studio behind Darksiders, as well as the game property itself were not purchased. It’s a bit of a head scratcher seeing as Darksiders can certainly be a bankable title. There were rumblings that 2K is negotiating for both Vigil and Darksiders, or just the Darksiders franchise itself but nothing more has come of these possible discussions.
the WWE franchise was also left in the air but more concrete rumors are saying that 2K Sports will be taking the franchise and the WWE themselves have said an announcement is coming for the future of their videogame titles. The only other known franchise left without a new home is Red Faction. The games were developed by Volition but no talks of that franchise coming along with them after their purchase were mentioned.
Any studios or franchises still out there are eligible to be negotiated and purchased so we may hear more in the future. Yesterday was a dark day for one of the longest running companies in the industry and many people lost their jobs. We hope for the best for all of these people and THQ, may you rest in peace.