THQ’s Financial Woes, Metro Pushed Back

By Adam Smith on February 3rd, 2012 at 11:18 am.

A light, a tunnel. Do you see?

Times are hard at THQ and that’s relative to the general hardness of the hour for the majority of people who rely on one of the world’s known currencies to secure food and shelter. The publisher is under threat of NASDAQ delisting, with its stock currently below $1 a share, and over the next year 240 staff will be losing their jobs. The company has shared its release schedule, which shows that Metro: Last Light is now scheduled for an early 2013 release. Other releases of note are the new game from Left 4 Dead’s Turtle Rock. That’s due between April 2013 and March 2014, as are Dark Millennium Online and Del Toro’s inSANE. Before April 2013, it’s Metro and “unannounced core titles”.

Losses in the last quarter were $55.9 million, compared to $14.9 million in the equivalent quarter the previous year. However, with the success of Saints Row: The Third, the company has stated its commitment to “core IP” rather than continuing its ill-fated move into family-focused titles, particularly those on the uDraw GameTablet.

By outlining a release schedule that looks so far ahead, THQ will be hoping investors have faith that it will be able to survive until its next batch of major releases are ready to make some money. As for Dark Millennium Online, which was rumoured to be cancelled recently, Eurogamer confirm that a partner is being sought to help complete the title.

As I see it, THQ now need to convince all and sundry, developers included, that they have the resources in place to fund their upcoming titles. It’s sad that the successful release of the madcap glory of Saints Row: The Third hasn’t been enough to mitigate the disastrous losses from uDraw’s 360 and PS3 release, but hopefully it will help refocus the remaining resources on titles of similar quality.

The stated reason for the lengthy delay to Metro, which has been pushed back from a summer 2012 release, is a need for more polish. Perhaps that’s a positive sign, with the publisher not feeling it necessary to rush titles to release. 4A Games have commented: “[The release] may be a little later than you were expecting, but trust us – the wait will be worth it! You’ll be hearing a lot more about Metro: Last Light closer to E3, so please be patient. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been up to.”

As always in these situations, we wish the very best to those whose jobs may be affected.

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71 Comments »

  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    Please, Gods of capitalism, let Metro live.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      You free market fundamentalist!

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I think it’s time to buy a bunch of THQ shares.

    • adonf says:

      @Raiyan: Definitely. I’m investing my kids’ college fund.

    • Lev Astov says:

      @Raiyan: I was thinking the exact same thing.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Come to think of – companies always try to please shareholders, right? We should buy all the shares of THQ, and make them develop games of our liking!

      Think of it! The next Warhammer game could be turn-based tactical! Metro could take up STALKER’s mantle! Homeworld 3!

      Not to mention every single Bratz games for the PC OH YEEEAAAAHHH!

    • LegendaryTeeth says:

      Free. Space. Three.

    • Styles says:

      *droooool*…..tuuurn based tactical warhammer 40k…….yeeesssss!

    • Ultra Superior says:

      The next Warhammer game could be turn-based tactical!

      DROWNING IN DROOOOOOL

    • GenBanks says:

      I can’t believe nobody has mentioned Company of Heroes yet.

    • Mr_Initials says:

      We just need 8 million to get majority share if I am reading the stocks right. Quick set up the lemonade stand!

  2. UnravThreads says:

    I thought it was a case of uDraw was successful *until* someone decided to bring it to the two big consoles?

  3. Bluerps says:

    One thing they shouldn’t have done: Putting a region lock on Saints Row: The Third. Not that I think that that cost them a large number of sales, but still – customer friendly it ain’t. I often order boxed games (yes, I’m one of those strange gamers that still likes to have boxes) from the UK, and if I have to send a game back, because Steam refuses to activate it, then I sure as hell won’t buy it again in the local (german) version.

  4. Shortwave says:

    I’d give the last of my monies out of my pocket this minute if it’d help the guys who make Metro..
    >.< Seriously. I've been looking forward to this game more than anything this year..

  5. Koozer says:

    They’re going to rush out Dark Millennium Online as a buggy mess in the vain hope it will make them some some short-term cash, but ultimately sinking them when noone’s playing after a month, aren’t they?

  6. Dowson says:

    Well its sort of nice to see people realising the casual market isn’t as big a cash cow as people thought, and realising core gamers will always exist and be buying products.

  7. ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

    Bloody hell – hope that’s not the Death of Darksiders 2. With the world economy somewhat in freefall, it’s unfortunately just another scythe of the times – but I really hope THQ Styx to the schedule on this one.

    • amorpheous says:

      You get a C for trying (maybe a little too hard).

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      He might lack talent in the art of puns… but don’t kill his enthusiasm.

    • Chris D says:

      Who hasn’t made a slightly dodgy apocalypse based pun in their time? It’s not the end of the world.

    • JackShandy says:

      Hell’s Bells, don’t thell me you couldn’t forethell that this this bombshell would be the death’s knhell for THQ?!

    • ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

      It’s deathided then – those puns were tomb much.

    • Dys Does Dakka says:

      I am positively mortified at the quality of puns here. RPS should be more rigorous with their quality control.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Alright Witcher, enough. That puts the nail on your pun coffin.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      No puns since three o’clock. This is a grave situation.

  8. mrwout says:

    I’ll support THQ by buying some of the Warhammer games that are on sale right now on steam ! :)

    • Shortwave says:

      Thanks for the protip!

    • Fierce says:

      If you really want to support them, maybe you should buy them through THQ’s website? So Valve doesn’t get a cut?

    • mrwout says:

      My wallet likes Steam’s current price point more.

    • Shortwave says:

      Wish I could honestly. Oddly enough I had a debate earlier about the benifits of buying from the source itself.. DAMN YOU HYPOCRISY! DAAAAAaaamn you! Sadly, I just can’t afford to.. I’m struggling to afford the DLC on sale right now with currently online funds.. : ( But, I should manage with some girlfriend heckling.. Sad I know.

  9. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    We are not going through financial woes! Everything is alright with us! We have no news of this, there are no enemies at the gates!

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This is a strategic decision, they’re trying to buoy up their FY 2013 profits as high as possible to convince investors there has been a turn around & it will almost certainly work because investors are both idiotic and self fulfilling prophets.

  11. foda500orama says:

    Fuuuuck, I really hope THQ doesn’t go belly up.

  12. iARDAs says:

    If only 1/4th of the pirates would stop pirating and purchase games, than PC would evolve in gaming and companies would have much better profits.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      THQ are in this position because of the loses they made on hardware bundled with bad software, the only thing that has saved them is easily pirateable games like Saints Row 2 & DoW2, this is actually evidence of the opposite argument that publishers stand to make more profit from ignoring piracy than trying to design piracy proof products.

    • fitzroy_doll says:

      @ iARDAs: don’t believe the hype

    • Lamb Chop says:

      Still, if you know anyone who pirated metro, punch them in the head. Then, while they’re unconscious (come on, I know years of twitch gaming have honed your arms into finely tuned fighting machines), take all the money in their wallet and mail it to THQ. You’ll feel like Batman.

  13. Fierce says:

    Wow, I didn’t know THQ was in such dire straits.

    I mean, <$1 a share? AFTER Saints 3rd?? The possibility that Darksiders 2 and CoH 2 might DIE?!

    If only I had money, I would…

    • TormDK says:

      Agreed – THQ as a publisher has not let me down in the games I’ve purchased. (Metro, All PC warhammer titles, CoD)

    • werix says:

      Yeah, I’m kind of surprised myself. The DoW games I thought have always sold well, SR:3rd seemed to do wonderfully, and I was under the impression Space Marine, for all its un-PC multiplayer decisions still sold like hotcakes among the contards. Guess they didn’t sell as much as I thought? Or they just pissed away money on stupid stuff?

  14. AlternatePFG says:

    Forgive me for my ignorance, but how did THQ get to such a state? I thought they had a decent year last year as far as new releases go, but I guess I’m wrong?

    I hope Metro doesn’t go under though. I loved the original Metro 2033, warts and all.

    • Cerius says:

      Homefront and Udraw

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      Homefront made a profit, despite being terrible. It was just uDraw, it cost money to manufacture units (unlike software games) & they failed to sell half their xbox 360/ps3 inventory which would be in the millions of units unsold which could’ve cost them as much as $30 a unit.

    • Monkey says:

      uDraw sounds like a disaster but it would be irrelevant if Homefront had been the ‘call of duty killer’, which it clearly wasn’t or ever was going to be. Bad decisions, i just hope the CEOs bonus wasn’t too big

    • adonf says:

      I know, 100% hindsight and all, but still: when did a third-party console peripheral that is not supported by the console manufacturer ever make any money ? I think the answer is never. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • daxy says:

      @ adonf
      The Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises did pretty well until they saturated the market.

    • adonf says:

      Oh yeah… But that was months ago!

    • Brun says:

      THQ was trying to break into the family and kids games market with uDraw. It was relatively successful on Wii, but it was a disaster on Xbox 360 and PS3 (unsurprising to anyone with half a brain). As a result they had a ton of unsold units and that has killed their bottom line.

  15. Baka says:

    I cannot into finances so I don’t understand how it’s possible to do so bad with such a great line-up.
    They have some of the best franchises, they can’t all sell that bad? Maybe if they make their DLC more akin to micro-transactions than expansion prices for a paintshop / single gimmick?

    Also, what’s the deal with Turtle Rock? They didn’t fuse with Valve after all?

    • bear912 says:

      I believe they did fuse with Valve for a while, and then reformed again outside of Valve on amicable terms. I can’t provide a source for this information, sadly, because I’m lazy.

  16. JackShandy says:

    Taking a bachelor of Game Design is looking more like a horrible idea every time I read the news.

    But what can I do? Games are all I am. C’est la vie.

  17. Sian says:

    Aw, but I like THQ! One of the few publishers I’ve never had a problem with, though their DLC nonsense is getting a bit out of hand, if you ask me. Which you probably won’t.

    • Monkey says:

      I love Relic games, not THQ games. Maybe they will be forced to sell the studio, wouldn’t be short of buyers

  18. bear912 says:

    Please, THQ, don’t go belly-up! Especially not before Metro: Last Light is released.

  19. Rapzid says:

    While I share your sentiments, It’s important to note that THQ is not developing Last Light. I’m sure somebody would pick it up if THQ went bust. Hell, Duke Nukem got picked up and it’s a steaming pile..

  20. Velvetmeds says:

    I wouldn’t say that the Metro delay is much of a shock, i for one never expected it to release before October/December 2012, so early 2013 isn’t that much of a difference. In fact, it’s such a common type of delay that i almost yawn :p although i am indeed anxious to play the sequel to a fantastic underrated FPS.

    As for the core IPs thing..That’s what they should have always done. Bet on Warhammer 40k, SR (despite the fact that i don’t like it one bit), Metro, Darksiders, etc.. Forget the rest.

    I sure hope they keep going because they have some of my favorite franchises under their belt

    • Torgen says:

      Well, if you *only* rely on your old standbys, you end up dead when tastes change.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      The trick is to change *only* when change is needed

  21. TheComputerGamer says:

    When THQ acquired Big Huge Games …and did nothing with them. That was a disgrace.

  22. 1R0N_W00K13 says:

    Does anyone know what would happen to Relic if THQ went south? I’m assuming they can’t just buy up the 40K rights, and I’m concerned that Dawn of War 3 might be in jeopardy.

  23. nootpingu86 says:

    A bed THQ has been making itself for years. I’d welcome it. 4A probably won’t suffer, but who knows.

    • paterah says:

      Can’t disagree more. THQ has pleased me greatly as a PC gamer the last few years.

  24. MattM says:

    I was looking at their financials. They seem like a company well in the death spiral. They haven’t posted an annual profit since 2007 and their expenses were 175% of their income last year. They have a moderate-low debt level, but the stock of a company that can’t make money isn’t worth one cent. Hopefully their games will get picked up by other developers.

  25. kud13 says:

    THQ is tanking while Ubisoft thrives.

    as if we needed further proof that there is no God.

    • Brun says:

      While it’s sad to see THQ’s state, I have zero sympathy for a company that chooses to abandon its core titles in favor of “new markets.” It’s one reason that Nintendo has really soured on me post-Wii, despite their ability to find success in those new markets, unlike THQ.

  26. Boult Upright says:

    It only takes one bad operational decision or one missed opportunity. I hope they come out the other side.

  27. Sinex says:

    Eff Metro, save Dark Millennium!