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Fin: THQ Sells Off Most Studios, Basically Done

Update: Helpfully, reader and probable Prince of Handsomeness The JG Man dug up the court form outlining details (including amounts, back-up bidders, etc) of each sale. You can peruse that here.

Original: Well, I suppose it was inevitable. After THQ’s attempt at averting a Humpty Dumpty sales situation failed miserably, the writing was pretty much on the wall. So now the grim reaper’s scythe has hacked the once-gargantuan publisher into itsy-bitsy pieces and scattered any remaining ashes to the winds. On the upside, pretty much every major THQ franchise and developer (minus Darksiders dev Vigil, sadly) landed safely in less-likely-to-kerplode homes. Also, Relic and Creative Assembly live under the same roof now. Can Company of Shoguns: Total Homeworld or some other dream team RTS be far off? Probably. It’s still kind of a silver lining, though, and anyway SHUT UP I’M SAD.

CEO Jason Rubin sent out a somber letter to employees explaining, among other things, where exactly everyone will end up in the wake of THQ’s dissolution.

“The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows:

  • Sega agreed to purchase Relic
  • Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro
  • Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront
  • Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve
  • Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park

“We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered employment by the new owners. However, we cannot say what these owners may intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new owners intend to extend employment to you. Please note that the terms of your new employment, including pay and benefits, may be different from the current terms of your employment with THQ.”

So basically, I see a fair amount of good news in there (Company of Heroes 2, Metro, Saints Row, South Park, and Homefront I guess will go on), but there are still quite a few pieces dangling precariously in the air as well. For instance, is developer 4A Games still helming the Metro franchise? Will Left 4 Dead creators Turtle Rock get to keep their new game? (Edit: Sure does’t look like it.) What will become of Darksiders, Vigil, and their new project codenamed “Crawler”? And, most importantly, how silly does Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets feel having left Ubisoft, only to have his new game gobbled up by the purple behemoth?

To his credit, Rubin says he still hopes to find buyers for the properties that haven’t already been snapped up. Unfortunately, everyone else won’t be so lucky. “If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale,” the letter continued, “we regret that your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be employed by THQ beyond January 25 to assist with the transition.”

The full letter‘s over at Kotaku, if you’re interested in giving it a read. But yeah, that’s pretty much that. Goodnight, sweet prince, etc. THQ wasn’t always the smartest or the best (Hello, uDraw, Homefront, et al), but it brought together some marvelous games and developers, took actual risks, and fought to stay afloat until the bitter end. We all knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking. Triple-A development’s become depressingly cutthroat. It’s a damn shame to see one of the Good Ones go.

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