When THQ first emerged onto the scene back in 1989, the video game industry was booming and ripe with potential. Over the decades that followed, THQ managed to acquire top-notch studios like Volition and Vigil Games to create what would become two critically acclaimed franchises in Saints Row and Darksiders. Fast forward to 2013 and now a once promising studio is nothing more then a diminished brand rooted in debt.
On January 22, THQ will be forced to participate in a title-by-title auctioning off of all their franchises. While early reports have suggested that Warner Bros. were among several other companies interested in the sale, I can think of at least 4 more companies that are capable of saving these franchises from extinction. This article will elaborate further on my choices and provide suggestions for which IPs should go where.
IPs Worth Acquiring: Company of Heroes, & Metro: Last Light
During E3 2012, Ubisoft took center stage by unveiling an impressive lineup of titles to the press at their annual conference. While many expected the studio to stick to riding the coattails of the popular Assassin’s Creed series, Ubisoft also proved that they still have heavy hitter franchises in Far Cry, Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell, Rayman, Just Dance, and the newly announced Watch Dogs.
When it comes to purchasing THQ assets, they should set their sites on both the Company of Heroes, and Metro 2033 licenses. Given their current track record of creating compelling Tom Clancy inspired tactical shooter experiences, they could easily bring the right amount of flair and firepower that both of these franchises have needed for quite some time. Ubisoft is also capable of resurrecting the infamous Red Faction series should this be something that interests them and their loyal fan base.
IPs Worth Acquiring: Saints Row
Ever since Activision launched the Call of Duty series back in 2003, the studio has been fixated on creating nothing but sequels to the long drawn out first person shooter series. While they attempted to branch out into other franchises like Transformers and Spider-Man, none of these games have ever come close to selling half as good as the COD titles.
Figuring that they would never get a decent return on their investment, Activision then decided to sell the rights of the True Crime series to Square Enix back in August of 2011. Judging by the positive reception that this game has been receiving since its retail launch last year, I’m pretty sure that they regret their choice now more then ever. If they are able to acquire the Saints Row series, then they could easily redeem earlier shortcomings and prove that they are capable of branching out beyond first person shooter focused games.
Company#3: Electronic Arts
IPs Worth Acquiring: WWE, & Homefront
When Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitello joined the studio way back in October of 1997, he laid out an aggressive framework in which he envisioned EA owning the entire video game industry. This cocky, yet confident mindset had the publisher going head to head with Activision in an attempt to steal the popular first person shooter market away from them. EA also made attempts to buy Take-Two Interactive outright in hopes of canceling all their 2K sports titles and acquiring the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto franchise.
When it comes to purchasing THQ assets, it makes the most logical sense for them to buy both the WWE and Homefront licenses. EA already owns the UFC Undisputed series and would likewise be interested in getting a substantial piece of the wrestling game market. Alternatively, Crytek UK is currently developing Homefront 2 and it’s highly likely that EA could get involved solely because of their history of having worked with the developer before on the Crysis series. Lastly, I would suggest keeping an eye out for a heated biding war EA and Activision for the rights to the Saints Row franchise. This is without a doubt the best IP in THQ’s title portfolio and it will be very interesting to see where the series ultimately ends up.
Company#4: Square Enix
IPs Worth Acquiring: Darksiders
Since picking up notable franchises like Deus Ex, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, and Hitman, Square enix has enjoyed some of their best times as a publisher in recent memory. Known primarily by their engaging Final Fantasy games, it was great to see them finally branch out into other genres.
The one THQ asset that would fit comfortably into their business model would be Darksiders. The immersive open world environments, addictive combat, and thrilling storyline are all things that make this series a hot commodity. Just imaging what Vigil could accomplish with more resources, time, and guidance only brings to mind a slew of endless possibilities. Square Enix could also cross promote their brands from one game to the next, instantly persuading even more customers to check out Darksiders if they didn’t know about it beforehand.
This concludes my list of 4 companies that could save THQ franchises. Which companies do you feel can save these franchises? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.