OK, hold onto the floppier parts of your brain, because this is about to get a bit complicated. So remember how THQ went bankrupt and fell into bed with “stalking horse bidder” Clearlake Capital? Well, the primary intent of all that was to keep THQ in one piece while dealing with that nasty little “having basically no money” thing, but – at the 11th hour – there was a twist. Creditors decided THQ’s all-or-nothing sales approach wasn’t fair to them (it’d probably pull in less money, after all), and a US bankruptcy court judge agreed. So now THQ’s gone from monolithic one-gulp meal to easily chopped up buffet, and rumor has it that a number of major players are interested in various series, games, and franchises.
GamesIndustry International brings word that Clearlake’s attempt at a quick-and-dirty $60 million purchase was shot down by Johnny Law (who, in this case, is actually named Judge Mary Walrath) in favor of competing offers for individual properties. Distressed Debt Investing, meanwhile, claims that EA’s been scouting a few of THQ’s heavy hitters, and both Warner Bros and Ubisoft have voiced interest in picking over the publisher’s remains.
Originally, the sale was set to go through on January 10th, but – after Clearlake’s proposed adjustment to January 15th got a thumbs-down for still being too hasty – January 22nd received the official go-ahead. On that day, any and all interested parties will be able to bid on individual THQ properties. Where various series will end up and whether or not their current developers will still be behind the wheel is anyone’s guess at this point.
The future certainly doesn’t appear too bright for THQ proper, though. After all, if you carve up a life raft, things tend to go south rather quickly – and I’m not sure even a fresh infusion of cash would cover up a Saints Row or South Park shaped hole in the long run. If nothing else, odds are good that current projects like Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2 will see the light of day unimpeded,given that it’d be pretty silly to can games that are so close to completion. Beyond that, however, the future’s extremely uncertain. Here’s hoping for the best – whatever that actually means in this particular scenario.