2013 hasn't had the best of starts for veteran video game publisher THQ. After buying some time at the end of 2012, the firm slid into bankruptcy just a few days later and as the new year dawned found itself in the position of having its assets - the studios and IPs it owns, essentially - put up for sale to the highest bidders.
That process has now started, and although buyers have been found for the vast majority of THQ's properties, the brand itself is all but dead.
Here's how things are likely to go down, according to Kotaku:
- Koch Media will buy Saint's Row studio Volition and the Metro IP rights after significantly outbidding Ubisoft. Koch is paying $22m for the studio (versus Ubi's offer of $5.4m), and $5.8m for the game rights (versus Ubi's $5.175m)
- Take-Two will buy the Evolve IP, for $10m (a rival offer was made by that game's developer, Turtle Rock, of just $250,000)
German developer Crytek plans to buy the Homefront IP - it was already signed up to develop a sequel to the game - for $500,000.
- Relic, developer of Company of Heroes and other strategy games, will go to Sega for $26.6m outbidding Bethesda parent Zenimax by $300,000
- Ubisoft will take the South Park publishing rights for $3.265m and also buy, for $2.5m, the new studio THQ Montreal (which ended up employing some of Ubi's former creative staff from Assassin's Creed
Sadly, no buyer has come forward for Darksiders II developer Vigil Games - although a letter from CEO Brian Farrell and president Jason Rubin sent to all employees states that efforts will be made to find one.
The letter also stated:
It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be operating as part of new organisations.
You can read the full letter over at MCV.
It's the end of an era for THQ, then; the company has a long (but not always proud) history of producing games for Nintendo hardware, having been a third party supporter since the days of the NES and Game Boy. It's never nice to see a company go down the pan, and hopefully all the people affected will be able to find secure employment.
Will you miss THQ? Let us know by leaving a comment below. Just don't mention Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.