THQ is now as good as dead and the rest of the games industry has divided up the scraps. It’s prompted speculation about what changes new owners will make to games already in development.
The company had gone into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to get temporary protection from creditors. It had hoped to simply sell out to private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group and use the proceeds to pay off creditors. However, the court ruled that the way THQ owned so many game titles that were valuable in their own right meant breaking up the company and selling it off piece by piece would raise more money.
That happened this week with a monster auction where each bid was either for a particular studio or the licensing rights to a specific game. It appears the total revenue was around $100 million.
Among the key studio purchases:
- $26.6 million: Relic Entertainment (home of Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40k) bought by Sega
- $22.3 million: Volition Studio (with the lot specifically including Metro and Saints Row but seemingly not Red Faction) bought by Koch Media
And for specific games:
- $11 million: Evolve, bought by Take Two (which is a huge sum for a relatively undeveloped game that doesn’t have an existing franchise)
- $3.26 million: SouthPark: The Stick of Trust, bought by Ubisoft
- $2.5 million: THQ Montreal (working on 1666 and Underdog) bought by Ubisoft
- $544,218: Homefront, bought by Crytek
The Ubisoft purchases may be particularly bitter for THQ bosses: Ubisoft had previously accused THQ Montreal of unfairly poaching staff. The studio behind the South Park TV show had tried to block the auction of the associated, a bid that appears to have failed.
A couple of key assets remained unaccounted for. Vigil Games and its Darksiders title didn’t attract any bidders, suggesting somebody might be able to swoop in now with a low offer. Meanwhile the WWE license situation remains unclear: while many assumed EA would be interested, unconfirmed rumors suggest Take Two won the auction. That’s already led to an amusing look at what would happen if Take Two passed it down to Rockstar rather than the more obvious subsidiary of 2K sports: