Vigilant: THQ Denies 40K MMO Cancellation

By Jim Rossignol on January 16th, 2012 at 10:16 am.


Rumours wildly frothed out of the internet this weekend regarding the financial peril of THQ. This chap, an IGDA fellow, said that Vigil’s Warhammer 40k MMO had been cancelled. He went to explain that the cost would be beyond the current wallet of the troubled company, and that it had also returned its Disney licence. GamesIndustry also has anonymous sources claiming that the in-development MMO is for sale. Newschums VG247 have picked up a contradictory statement from THQ Australia, which states: “THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO.”

Continued below.

These rumours offer no firm evidence of what THQ is up to, of course, but they are based on some troubled times for the big publisher, which has closed a number of studios. They’ve had a few high-profile flops, too, one of which has led to the indefinite shelving of the Red Faction series, which has been going for a decade. Nevertheless, the company is keen to stress recent successes.

The THQ statement continues: “…we are thrilled with the great performance of Saints Row: The Third, which on a like for like period in North America has tripled in sell-through from Saints Row 2. In addition, WWE ’12’s worldwide sell-through sales are up almost 40% year-over-year for the same sales period with fewer platforms. According to NPD, for the month of December and the 2011 year, THQ was the #5 publisher overall, #4 third party, with reported sell through growing over 18% in a market that was down almost 6%. And coming up next, we have two great titles for the first half of the year including UFC Undisputed 3 and Darksiders 2.”

It does seem that THQ should be doing okay, given how great some of their studios are – Volition and Relic particularly. But the cost of failure in the AAA games world is now higher than ever, and higher still in the MMO world. Perhaps THQ really are looking at what’s going on with SWTOR and reconsidering the fate of what we feel is one of the most exciting MMO projects out there.

We’ve contacted THQ for further comment.

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66 Comments »

  1. MeestaNob says:

    You have to wonder how some companies manage to fail. Seems like they have a bunch of great – hngggggh- IP’s out there right now.

    Poor management? Bad investments? Who’s responsible? Will ANYONE put their hand up and admit they’re bad at their job, or will we just blame PC piracy and call it an evening?

    • Nevard says:

      Usually it’s not the fault of any one single individual but multiple people in several areas, so asking a single person to put up their hand so all blame can be assigned to them is about as effectual as blaming pirates.

    • Monkey says:

      Piracy – lets get a pint

    • Lemming says:

      Given that they decided to release that ridiculous touch pad peripheral in already austere times, I’d go with the poor management thing. That thing should never have seen the light of day.

    • 12kill4 says:

      I think the failure lies in their apparent inability to sufficently capitalize on their IPs, due to the increasingly difficult position of mid-sized publisher / developers in the face of the megaliths of EA and Activision, who have the ability to compensate for a certain lack of mobility with sheer force of excessive amounts of money- and the industrialised workforce, larger budgets (with comparatively much less risk), large-scale QA apparatus, and insane levels of marketing which come with it. I fear THQ is too big to keep up with the pace of innovation, and not big enough or focused enough to adopt the packaged goods mentality that has seen Activision and EA burgeon in size.

      But then again that just came off the top of my head, so I’m probs full of shit :P

    • bill says:

      Your head top seems pretty on the ball.

    • Tei says:

      Its very shitty to work 5 years without getting paid and putting the money from your pockets (perhaps 50 millions dollars). If that sound like easy go and start a game company.

    • Kent says:

      It’s too bad that THQ has to go though. I like some of the stuff the publish. Not all but they have published a couple of gems. Better than EA and Activision at least.

  2. LuNatic says:

    What kind of bastard would start a cruel rumour like this?

    • Optimaximal says:

      Possibly someone with a vested interest in either acquiring THQ stock or seeing a sale to a preferred buyer?

      Insider Trading is fun!

  3. f4stjack says:

    BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!

  4. aircool says:

    Perhaps the dev team couldn’t wait for the 6th ed rules ¬_¬

    • Steven Hutton says:

      In fairness given that the 5th edition rules are really, really terrible can anybody wait?

    • scatterbrainless says:

      Huh, last time I even glanced at 40k it was on 3rd ed rules. I feel old, old and nerdy.

    • LazyLemming says:

      I’m with you Scatter. I last played on 3e. I not long ago picked up the 5e rulebook and wondered what the hell that skinny thing was for.

  5. NegativeZero says:

    Of course not. Why would they cancel stuff that’s in development? Who would want to buy a game publisher that isn’t going to actually have any games to publish in 12 months?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Yea, it’s a bit silly to just go “burn everything!” and then try selling it. Cancel some things, maybe, but “no games in 2014″ makes it just a bit of an odd statement… what about games in 2015? 2013?

    • Monkey says:

      Exterminatus

  6. clownst0pper says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. MMOGs are incredibly expensive; I very much doubt THQ have that sort of money…

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Throw in that the Warhammer Fantasy MMO isn’t exactly a roaring success (for whatever reasons) it doesn’t exactly look like the 40K varient is exactly guaranteed. Of course, most of the issues with WAR were not to do with the setting itself.

      Now, gimme a Necromunda+XCom game and I would probably buy it blindly.

    • clownst0pper says:

      Very true. Mythic had some great ideas in WAR but followed the WoW vein too closely and disregarded all they had learned in DAoC, to their downfall.

      With years still in development and no gaurentee of success, I think 40K is a flop waiting to happen. Its cost could ruin THQ completely.

    • Screwie says:

      @Hoaxfish: “Now, gimme a Necromunda+XCom game and I would probably buy it blindly.”

      Yes please! That kind of game has been on my wishlist for years.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      But then vanilla Warhammer has to compete in the “generic Tolkien-prosititute fantasy” bracket, while 40k at least has a relatively unique fiction. Necromunda/Inquisitor RPG would get me to cough up money, just pennies and notes flying out of my mouth in delight.

  7. Hentzau says:

    “It does seem that THQ should be doing okay.”

    Have you looked at their share price lately – http://i.imgur.com/GTVwm.png

    • Nevard says:

      “Should be” != “Are”

    • coldvvvave says:

      I’m not an expert on stock market but graphs are looking a bit bad.

    • Monkey says:

      A lot of graphs look like that at the moment though

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Holy bleep on a sandwich… with bleep on top. And a side serving of bleep.

      I hope Relic survives the crash… I’m really hoping for a Company of Heroes sequel, or at least a real RTS sequel to DoW1.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      How was DoW2 not a real RTS?

    • frenz0rz says:

      @ Steven Hutton: I think he means a return to the base building and larger unit count of DoW1 and it’s expansions, rather than a continuation of the fairly minimalist mechanics of DoW2, which took the CoH formula of controlling a small number of easier-to-manage squads a step further by largley eliminating structures altogether.

      But then, you probably already knew that. Im sure Dreamhacker meant to suggest a more traditional RTS sequel, rather than a more ‘real’ one. Semantics, eh?

  8. D3kard says:

    ,,Perhaps THQ really are looking at what’s going on with SWTOR and reconsidering the fate of what we feel is one of the most exciting MMO projects out there.”

    What do you mean by this ? I thought ToR was doing great. Anyway, if this means we get another Space Marine, with different planet locations, not the same industrial one for the whole game, then its for the best. A sequel to Space Marine has so much potential in a universe full with lore, they really limited in the first game.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      TOR might do great in the future… but it’s still within the first free month. WAR had a huge uptake in the first sales, but promptly crashed horribly afterwards.

      TOR is currently having a lot of issues with support, weird bans, “bugs” (or “intended” if you ask Bioware, like the issue with the texture quality in and out of cutscenes/review/beta copies). It’s getting a lot of criticism for its WoW-ness if anything (which only really matters if the 40K MMO also takes a lot from WoW). Lots of people saying it’s the last of the subscription MMOs (which is more of an industry analysis, than just TOR).

      But even then, it’s a massive combo of Bioware and Starwars fans.. 40k is maybe equal to one of those (maybe one-and-a-half Biowares).

    • D3kard says:

      Hoaxfish that still doesnt answer my question. He was saying in the article, like something already happed with ToR…not what MIGHT , in the future. ,,Looking at ToR” , like saying it bombs/flops etc

    • Steven Hutton says:

      I’m not totally certain but I’m pretty sure that THQ or Relic have already confirmed that there is no sequel to Space Marine in the works. Which is weird because I got the impression that it sold well.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      And I assume that what was meant by the Star Wars comment was that basically the 40k MMO looked like total ass by comparison.

    • CMaster says:

      Space Marine had a very long, expensive development, and launched to critical indifference and acceptable sales. Compared to having Relic work on more RTS games, it doesn’t really make sense to follow on with.

    • sneetch says:

      I dunno CMaster, I figured it was Relic’s (and a lot of the industry’s) usual, iterative approach these days: launch the first game, refine it for the sequel, “milk it” for the further ones (I didn’t think DOW II was all that great, I liked Chaos Rising much more, Retribution seemed like a missed opportunity).

      I really enjoyed Space Marine was hoping Space Marine 2 would be better, would allow you to maybe play as other characters than Captain O’Spacemarine, a couple of chapters playing as an Imperial agent or Inquisitor or as a Space Marine scout sniper would be a great change of pace.

      Still, I think THQ don’t want to take away from their MMO so they’re blocking that.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      @CMaster On the other hand that long development will have included a significant number of new hires and a great deal of expense building expertise in a new genre at Relic. I would’ve thought that THQ would want to get as much return on that investment as possible. It seems odd

      There was every indication that there’s an audience for a Space Marine game and Space Marine seems to have been VERY well liked by a minority of players (including myself I must say). It’s still possible to get an online game on 360 with relative ease even now which certainly isn’t true for every game I own. I think the potential was there for the sequel to have been really, really good.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s not just THQ though, with the 40K license GW are also involved, and are likely to pull the plug if they don’t get the results they want.

      Which makes me wonder if that might be behind the 40K MMO. If GW are looking at the MMO market I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to pull it – I’m sure the mere words “Free to Play” are enough to cause heart attacks in Nottingham.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      I hope that’s not true. I’ve already reached the point where GW have squandered the good will I had towards them. I’d hate to move to an active dislike.

  9. Rob Maguire says:

    Ah. I was wondering why Saints Row 3 was so blatant with the DLC-whoring ($30 worth of DLC available after launch, including a $3 pack to unlock cheat codes. In a sandbox game!). It makes sense now that I know THQ are desperate for some cash flow.

    • Kollega says:

      Yeah… i find it’s sad that SR3 is being used as a vehicle for DLC sales, but it’s totally expectable if the publisher has such an enormous financial trouble. I’ve heard before SR3 release they had money problems, and then i also went “oh well”.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      “What a shame.”

      Despite it not being my or any gamer’s fault, i’d like to help though. I bought Space Marine at full price and some DOW2Retri DLC also at full price exactly for that, to show support and encourage them to live on. I hope it doesn’t end up being in vain

      SR3 isn’t my kind of game so i’m gonna get that..

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      THQ’s DLC-whoring didn’t start with SR3, unfortunately. They’ve been doing it since at least Homefront (charging .99 for a shotgun), and it really accelerated with DoW2: Retribution (cosmetic DLC). It’s rather sad that people are willing to pay for that stuff.

      THQ released Homefront then shit all over it by muffling the dev team and ignoring repeated pleas for proper MP balance and fixes. THQ also completely abandoned DoW2 in favor of nickel-and-diming customers for profitable Retribution swag, and that’s finally where my tolerance for THQ’s antics hit a boiling point. I’ll never buy another of their products again.

      I’m not surprised they’re in the red right now.

  10. Steven Hutton says:

    Aw, man. I’m still struggling with the news that there’s not going to be a Space Marine sequel.

  11. Velvetmeds says:

    Come on THQ. Just stop wasting money on all your other crap and dedicate yourself solely to W40K and Metro :3

  12. Kollega says:

    You know what i want? I want a game that simulates the WH40k tabletop experience. Not in the sense of turn-based combat mechanics, mind you. I want a 40k game that stops treating it’s crappy lore seriously and devotes itself entirely to shouts of “CHEESE!”, “HERESY!”, and “PORN FOR THE PORN THRONE!”. More memes and less pathos, please.

    And anyone who thinks 40k should be taken and enjoyed at face-value has obviously never experienced depression.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      It’s not about “should”, it’s about “want”. After reading novels and delving into the lore some people, like I, simply don’t want too much cheese and therefore have an opposite opinion. I’d like to know what exactly is wrong with that. Considering there’s some pretty actual interesting lore to be had..

    • Kollega says:

      My only real argument here is “IT’S TOO DEPRESSING TO READ HOW CAN YOU BE ENJOYING THIS ARGLE BARGLE?!” Because it’s too depressing to read, and i can’t imagine anyone enjoying this. I don’t really see how i’m expected to like a story where Space Nazis are the good guys.

      I actually love 40k-as-presented-by-tabletop-players, where nothing is taken seriously and the grim darkness is being used as a fodder for jokes about it’s over-the-top nature. The straight-up grim darkness narrated in a painfully dreary voice… not so much. In short, if the two options on my table are cheese and rust-dust-blood combo, i would rather have cheese.

      So there. I would very gladly have a 40k game that makes ten jokes a minute. But sadly, it’s not gonna happen.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      I don’t think it’s depressing… And the “Space Nazis” aren’t exactly the good guys (Horus heresy). On the other hand, i find it interesting to have “Space nazis” (by necessity) as the human “heroes” instead of all the flufiness of pretty much all other sci fi.. It’s a cruel disgusting universe out there, so they do what they gotta do. And it’s not depressing because it actually makes it all more clear. No romance bs, for instance. Besides, they’re only the “good guys” if you view them as such; it depends on your perspective. For me, despite some of the crazy things, i view Eldar as the closest thing to good guys. But that’s another story..

    • Kollega says:

      I myself think that the real world is cruel and disgusting enough, and that we need our fiction heroes to set a better example for us and inspire us to think in a more positive way. But looking at people like my brother (who also insists on taking 40k at face value), perhaps all the cruelties of the real world are not enough for some people. Or perhaps other people just want some brutal violence without the ethical ramifications of it.

      Oh well.

    • Hindenburg says:

      Only races that have a claim to being “good guys” in WH are maaaybe orks and nids.

      But yes, a 40k game as envisioned by 1d4chan would be terrific. Pretty marines and all.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      “I myself think that the real world is cruel and disgusting enough, and that we need our fiction heroes to set a better example for us and inspire us to think in a more positive way.”

      Well that’s one way to view it. The other is to think there is no point to that and be blunt about it even in fiction, because then it doesn’t feel so fake or naive

    • Kollega says:

      @ Hindenburg: Finally! 1d4chan’s treatment of 40k is exactly what i was thinking when i wrote this. This would perhaps be the single most awesome thing to grace videogaming EVER.

      I really shouldn’t have digressed into “40k games are depressing” this time around. But again, oh well.

    • MonolithicTentacledAbomination says:

      Kollega, there are a million different fiction worlds out there, why not go find one that you like better than trying to shoehorn this one into your specific wants? Warhammer 40K is pretty clearly defined, and I think that’s one of its strengths.

  13. Monkey says:

    Homefront and a waste of what is arguably the best IP for computer games

    • coldvvvave says:

      W-what? Homefront? Best PC ip?

      Maybe I misunderstood and you meant Homeworld, but seriously. What.

    • Monkey says:

      Homefront being a disaster right from its very inception.

      The IP i’m referring to is Warhammer, specifically the 40k.

      There is an already made universe with tons of stories already written for it, all they can put together is Dawn of War (which is good / 2 wasn’t quite right) and Space Marine (which was alright). How that could’ve taken so long i have no idea. Its basically 3rd person DOW2 with the same engine, sync kills, sounds.

  14. Choca says:

    Honestly, I’m a huge fan of the Warhammer and Warhamme 40K IPs, but I would not mind seeing this cancelled…

    The combination of THQ, Vigil Games and the current “AAA” MMO market doesn’t sound like this will do the IP justice and another failure will just mean that we’ll have to wait forever to see another MMO on these IPs.

  15. Arcanon says:

    THQ, if you need a guaranteed success, GIVE US HOMEWORLD 3!!!

  16. Navagon says:

    The people that gave us Saints Row the Third and Relic’s games are in trouble in an industry dominated by the likes of Ubisoft and EA? There’s no justice.

    But yes, Homeworld 3. Or at least put the first 2 on GOG. The latter in particular would be some easy money.

  17. Strife212 says:

    “THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO.”

    It’s gone. Cancelled. Finished.

    You don’t say you’ve ‘not made any decisions’ regarding a product that you actually intend to release.

  18. Eynonz says:

    A new Space Marine sequel with Tyranids as the main enemy, and with co-op campaign…………done!