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THQ cut up and sold off
THQ cut up and sold off
January 23, 2013 | By Kris Graft

It's truly the end of THQ, as auction bidders swooped in over the past 24 hours, chopping up the remains of the bankrupt publisher and buying up the most valuable parts.

A note to employees, obtained by Kotaku and signed by THQ CEO Brian Farrell and president Jason Rubin, stated that the company opted to try to net higher-value offers through sales of individual assets, as opposed to selling off a majority of the publisher to a single bidder (namely, Clearlake Capital Group).

That means the proposed asset sales played out as follows:

Sega agreed to purchase Relic (which is working to finish Company of Heroes 2)

Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition (Saints Row dev) and Metro (from 4A Games)

Crytek (which is working on a Homefront sequel) agreed to purchase Homefront

Take 2 agreed to purchase Evolve (from Turtle Rock Studios)

Ubisoft agreed to purchase THQ Montreal and Obsidian's South Park

The memo said those sales are slated to close this week, pending approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Not all employees and studios were part of the sell-offs. Vigil, developer of the Darksiders series at THQ, is one studio that did not find a buyer. "If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, we regret that your position will end," the note reads.

Staff who were working on game franchises that were left on the table are also presumably now jobless.

But even employees at acquired companies are not necessarily safe, as the memo adds: "We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered employment by the new owners. However, we cannot say what these owners may intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new owners intend to extend employment to you."

Assets not acquired during the auction will still be part of THQ's Chapter 11 case. The company said it will continue to try to find buyers for properties that were not picked up, though the window of opportunity is shrinking rapidly.

THQ added that a "small number" of headquarters staff will continue to work at THQ through January 25 to aid with the transition.

Update: Both Ubisoft and Koch Media have confirmed their respective purchases to Gamasutra.

Ubisoft added that it has acquired an unannounced new game being developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Koch says that its Deep Silver game publishing imprint will handle future entries in the Saints Row and Metro franchises.

Sega declined to comment.

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Alan Rimkeit
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No one wanted to pick up Vigil? No more Darksiders? :( I hope they get picked up and given proper support to make more awesome games.

Best of luck to the rest. This is going to be rough.

Turing Eret
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Shitty. Vigil was the one company that I really wanted to be safe. Darksiders is one of the best franchises in recent memory. The gaming world is a lesser place without it.

Victor Rodriguez
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Sad to see this happen. Good luck to all that will be out of work.

Mike Griffin
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Wow, news travels fast. Strangely fast.

Already the Wiki page for Patrice Desilets, the creator and creative director behind the Assassin's Creed franchise, who moved on to THQ, now reads:

"Patrice Désilets would officially return to the games industry in the summer of 2011, joining THQ in their newly developed Montreal based studio.[3] After THQ went bankrupt Ubisoft bought the Montreal studio so Patrice is now back with Ubisoft."

That's like... a fast Wiki update to reflect a very recent sell-off and purchase!

Anyway, I've known Patrice since the late 90s and he's an incredible creative director. I'm not sure how deep he was into his huge AAA project that's been in production at THQ Montreal, and I don't know if he actually wants to return to the Ubisoft family again. But, it's happening and I can only presume he'll remain onboard as steward of his game.

I'm sure Ubisoft won't object to having one of its most influential creative leads back in the fold.
Plus, a brand new AAA franchise to boot.

Christian Nutt
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Also potentially inaccurate. Ubisoft has to offer him employment and he has to accept it.

Mike Griffin
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True. He left for a reason the first time, after all.

Armando Marini
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Good luck to everyone. It's tough going out there.

Christopher Thigpen
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Homefront should be led to the pastures.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Mike Griffin
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Since it's theirs now, Crytek could ostensibly re-brand it if they like.
It's not like the Homefront name carries much weight with gamers.

Or they could do something wacky like make it a Crysis side-story or prequel.

You fought against crazy North Koreans in Crysis 1, so it's not a huge stretch.
(OK, it's a small stretch -- there were biomechanical aliens too).

Sega made out like gangsters by grabbing Relic, and Koch Media probably scored bigtime with the Saint's Row and Metro franchises.

As mentioned above, I'm fairly certain Ubisoft comes out on top here.

Remember this moment, when Ubisoft secured THQ Montreal and the Patrice Desilets (with or without him) project. By E3, we'll be seeing something big.

Maria Jayne
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I'm actually quite pleased with Sega picking up Relic, given Creative Assembly operates under them and already has good rts PC pedigree and the Warhammer license.

I find it odd Vigil and Darksiders seems to be omitted from this listing, where they not put up for sale or did nobody even bid on them? I find that hard to believe.

Daniel Boy
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>Relic (studio) and Company of Heroes (IP)
>Winning bid: $26.6 million - Sega Corporation
>Backup bidder: $26.3 million - Zenimax Media

close call?

>Volition (studio) and Saints Row (IP)
>Winning bid: $22.3 million - Koch Media GmbH (Deep Silver)
>Backup bidder: $5.4 million - Ubisoft

Did Deep Silver overpay by $15 million?


Michael DeFazio
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Great find, thanks
Sega ran away with the prize IMHO (CoH is just phenomenal) and now with CA and Relic under one roof SEGA are kings of the RTS.

As an aside -- A little surprised Bethesda wanted to bid on Relic...Just doesn't seem like a good fit for that developer (Bethesda have adopted the "jack of all trades" publisher mentality, and it kinda reminds me of what THQ did...)

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Platinum Games may pick up Vigil. Some Tweets have suggested it's possible. IGN has reported it.