Nordic Necromancers Raise Zombie THQ From Its Grave

By Alec Meer on June 13th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

THQ is the Living One; it was dead, and now look, it is alive for ever and ever! And it holds the keys of Darksiders and Red Faction.

Like X-Men, big games publishers never truly die. There’ll always be a businessperson somewhere willing to invest a few hundred thousand bucks that might otherwise go to the taxman in picking up the name of a company that fell in the great gaming profit wars. Someone keeps stitching Atari’s dessicated face to some Frankenstein creature or another, the re-animator recently pumped his necrotic formula into 3D Realms and now the recently-departed THQ has been exhumed. Wielding the grave-digger’s shovel are Nordic Games, who’d previously done similar with the defunct JoWood and Dreamcatcher brands.

More relevantly, they also purchased the likes of Darksiders, Red Faction, Supreme Commander, Titan Quest, Full Spectrum Warrior, MX vs ATV, Destroy all Humans!, Summoner and Marvel Super Hero Squad in THQ’s all-is-lost firesale last year. Sequels to those games – if they happen – will thus come bearing a THQ logo after all.

Details of this second deal with whoever holds the dusty biscuit tin with ‘THQ’ tippexed onto the lid haven’t been revealed, but Nordic did reveal to Polygon that their reasoning for buying the trademark was because no bugger knew who the three-year-old Austrian outfit were.

“The challenging fact is nobody has ever heard about Nordic Games before [buying the Darksiders etc IPs]. There were so many articles with the headlines ‘Who the f*** is Nordic Games?’ we said, ‘Okay they were right.'”

We’ll see, I guess. Does the THQ name carry much cachet? More so than Nordic Games, I guess, but it’s very hard to know what that actually extrapolates too. This is a conversation I’ve had a few times, that grizzled industry types like me, with our heads full of useless knowledge that will never help us when the bombs drop and we have to help rebuild civilization, talk in terms of developers, but a great deal of games-players talk in terms of publishers, because those are the big shouty logos they’re forced to stare at for 3 seconds while their game loads. To many people, Darksiders is made by THQ, not by Vigil Games.

Speaking of, a Darksiders game under the resurrected name would seem to be on its way, though Nordic/THQ don’t want to reveal anything until they’re confident they’re doing it justice. Also on its way is a new MX vs. ATV game, THQ’s off-road racing series, though I’m not sure if that’ll wind up on PC.

Anyway. THQ is back, back, back and while it’s a different company behind that logo, there are some decent brands in there that will hopefully come to something. New Supreme Commander plskthx. And let’s hope this doesn’t wind up being like one of those glum Atari revivals.

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56 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    I thought Nordic was Jowood in all but name?

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Nordic Games GmbH is, while Nordic Games is the holding company that bought up and rebranded most of Jowood as such when it went down.

  2. TurdBurglar says:

    Just give me a sequel to Red Faction Armageddon please. Apocalypse did not count. Why would anyone choose to make a linear game when they can make an open-world game?

    • Skull says:

      There are many answers to that…

    • Crossbit says:

      You mean a sequel to Guerilla. Armageddon’s the terrible linear alien-shoot you were thinking of. :P

      Not that a linear-ish game would be all that bad really, so long as it was true to the earlier Red Factions, (a) having something resembling a decent plot instead of ‘omfg aliens are suddenly a thing’, and (b) actually letting you blast the living hell out of the whole underground environment and not just a few scattered shacks.

    • ahac says:

      I’d like to see “Blue Faction”. Set it 1000 years in the future when Mars is terraformed and full of water and you need to destroy walls to change the flow of the water and get access somewhere, etc…

      (If THQ… i mean Nordic games are reading this: I’ll take 100000€ for the idea, thank you)

    • Bluestormzion says:

      Because you want a more narrative experience and a less sandboxy one. Both types of games are good, just made for different crowds.

      But I get what you mean, you don’t change gears from Sandbox to Linear and vice versa. Make what you make, make it well, and give the people what they want, you know?

    • MechanicalPen says:

      I’m mildly sure Volition got to keep their GeoMod engine and that new-THQ has the rights to make a game called Red Faction. So a sequel would would be …interesting. They’d have to roll their own tech.

  3. ChiefOfBeef says:

    Destroy All Humans! never came to PC. This was nothing short of smelly knob jelly.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Destroy All Humans! Oh, Pandemic Studios, some of us miss you. BTW, Pandemic was bought by BioWare a long time ago and the two merged into BioWare Pandmic. Then there was the whole Elevation Partners lending BioWare Pandemic a bunch of money, BioWare Pandemic being controlled by Elevation Partners subsidiary VG Holdings, Pandemic’s former studio heads left, the Pandemic name was dropped, Pandemic’s portfolio was largely forgotten, and now BioWare (with no mention of Pandemic) is a subsidiary of EA.

      So, in short, we may see another Destroy All Humans! game in name, but it will never be done by the same studio thanks to well-orchestrated mucking about from Elevation Partners co-founder and former VG Holdings and EA CEO John Riccitiello.

  4. RCoon says:

    Bring Destroy All Humans! to PC!
    Make a decent WH40K game please, since the death of THQ they’ve been bloody awful. We like Space Marine, that was OK, more of that too.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Hold these thoughts. Holding them? Okay. Good. Now here:
      COMBINE THOSE TWO.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        Destroy All Space Marine Humans! sounds like something the Chaos Marines would say, but perhaps it would make a good game.

        • Premium User Badge

          RedViv says:

          I’d just suggest DESTROY ALL ‘UMIES.
          Just imagine. A lone ork drops, and the nature of their race takes its course.
          Oh ‘ave a look I sat on that sandwich there yesterday and now I ‘ave me a new ork. RIGHT TIME FOR SMASHIN’.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Couldnt agree more and I was about to post something very similar.

      So far we’ve had*:
      Warhammer 40k: Plants vs Zombies
      Warhammer 40k: Defense Grid
      Warhammer 40k: Diablo (in space)

      If there’s ever a Warhammer 40k: Candy Crush I’m officially selling my PC

      *Dont ask me what the real names were I paid very little attention to them

  5. darkath says:

    Whoever owns the Freespace IP, i think the time is ripe to get a shot at Space games now. It’s hype again !

  6. Exeetor says:

    But doesnt Crate Entertainment own the rights for Titan Quest?

  7. Premium User Badge

    Wowbagger says:

    I’ve been playing the original Darksiders again, and would love to see a sequel that is more in that vein then the kind of mediocre 2. More combat options though please!

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      If they do actually manage to get the band back together, we could assume that the original plans would resume. New game, new nephilim and abilities, and with that a new twist on the basic formula.

      • Scumbag says:

        Indeed. Would be dissapointed if the brand gets fixed it just goes back to Death and War. The two not-quite-biblical-cannon riders would be interesting, though possibly mixed together rather than two separate games.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          The four horseman are all, quite agreed upon by nearly every biblical scholar, to be: Conquest, Famine, War, and Death. Only Death is explicitly named.

          The only thing really up for debate is whether Conquest is meant to be righteous (Christ or the Holy Spirit) or if it is meant to be bad, as in the Anti-Christ or to bring subjugation upon the realm of men.

          While some do debate whether the black horse rider is to be Famine or Justice, it’s pretty damn clear. He is commanded by God to demand a denarius, an entire day’s pay, for enough wheat to feed one single person or enough of the less nutrient-dense barley to feed three. This is over ten times what normal prices for wheat and barely would have been during that time. He is also commanded to not touch the wine and oil, which are things that would be far to expensive for the common or lowly person to afford in any kind of regular basis. Basically, the black horse rider is commanded to raise the prices of common food staples to exorbitant levels that would cause most normal people to starve, hence famine..

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    Ooh, with all this talk of previously-unrelated companies bringing back old brands, maybe EA will revive Origin!

    OW, why did my first just punch my face for no reason!?! That hurt!

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Westwood’s mummified corpse dancing as a string puppet. Pumping out modern and gritty f2p Command & Conquer titles (for mobile devices).

  9. Dave L. says:

    It should be pointed out that the rights to Supreme Commander and Marvel Super Hero Squad that Nordic purchased were for continued distribution of the titles already published by THQ, not for further titles with those IPs.

    The Supreme Commander IP is owned by Gas Powered Games (hence SupCom2 being published by Square Enix), and Marvel Super Hero Squad is owned by Marvel/Disney.

  10. Premium User Badge

    LTK says:

    It’s more than a little concerning that companies can, as you say, simply stich the skin of another dead company onto theirs. It reeks of false advertising. What if Paradox went down in flames one day and some other publisher with more money than publicity started making games in their name?

    • darkath says:

      It didn’t shock me at first, but now that you mention it, it seems quite … unlawful ?

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        There’s nothing unlawful about it at all. One can argue whether it is just, but it is certainly legal.

        What would you rather have: someone trying to make more material using the existing canon, or for the franchise to simply end? Sometimes these studios and publishers comer back, but most of the time they do not. Having someone else buy the rights and continue the series, hoping they stay faithful to the original intent of the series, is really the best you can hope for, in most cases.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It is and has been a fact of the industry for a long time. But it has some positive effects. Atari is still making games of a certain quality.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I’m not really sure what the positive of Infogrames renaming themselves that was?

        Other than that it’s easier to spell.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Brand recognition. Ask any Joe Schmo who Infogrames is. Nearly no one will know. If you ask Joe Schmo who Atari is, they are much more likely know.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      In the case of old studios with none of the original people left, still making sequels to their old IP’s, may still have an intact company culture and employees who were mentored by “the old guys”.

      The buying of dead company names is just to get some sweet, sweet brand recognition and goodwill rubbing off (otherwise they would just buy up the IP-rights held by the failed company and be done with it). It’s just a dead, dry husk of the old company. I swear I am THQ. I was just ill for a time, not gonna eat your brains, honest!

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Kind of reminds me of the old folk tales about creatures that would find lone men in the woods, kill them, and then wear their skin about town, fooling villagers into thinking it was the original person, but acting very strangely and in wicked ways.

  11. Lemming says:

    Seems like a strange thing to do on the on face of it. Why not just patch all the THQ games with the Nordic logo instead of the THQ one and call it a day? Why resurrect what was essentially a non-creative publishing arm?

  12. Chuckleluck says:

    If only they could grab Company of Heroes from the tyrannical clutches of SEGA. They never has microtransactions under the THQ banner…

    • Lemming says:

      Hey now, Sega have actually done decently concerning their THQ purchases. They’ve allowed Relic to pretty much carry on as normal and continue to support the Company of Heroes and Dawn of War games. Without them, those games would be left to rot.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Too true. Although I think the OP is jesting when they say that THQ would never be DLC grubby.

        But, yeah, SEGA has done well with Relic, IMO. Maybe Relic is patching the DoW games on their own dime, but I doubt it. Most likely SEGA is helping to fund this. And it wouldn’t surprise me. SEGA is far from perfect as a publisher, but they’re one of the better ones, IMO.

  13. Muzman says:

    Multiplayer mod for RFG!
    Then we’ll see the real king of 2009-10’s terrorism sims.

  14. Frank says:

    Yeah, “Nordic” sounds a lot better to me than “THQ.”

    (1) no baggage of association with mediocre games and management

    (2) it’s an adjective not an acronym

    (3) Scandinavian/Nordic folks are the best developers per capita (Starbreeze, cactus, vlambeer, Daniel Remar, and… I would argue, Might & Delight)

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      Except… Nordic Games are Austrian.

      • The Random One says:

        That’s why it only SOUNDS better.

      • Fanbuoy says:

        Yeah, what’s up with that? Sure, they’re on the northern hemisphere, but why call themselves Nordic?

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          It’s a spin-off publisher company created by a Swedish guy. He got a serious market share of mail-order games from his mom’s house while still in school. The mail order store was called Nordic Games and started as a page on the back of the Swedish ‘Nintendo Magasinet’.

  15. Shadowcat says:

    Yay!

    NOW BRING “SINISTAR UNLEASHED” TO GOG!

    (Please?)

  16. Megakoresh says:

    Of all those I am mostly just interested in Red Faction.