After shuttering their Digital Warrington and Kaos Studios teams last month, THQ is continuing internal restructuring efforts this week. An effort was made with the latest entry to bring out a lower-priced retail product, with the goal of making more money via DLC, but that doesn’t seem to have worked out.
The company announced a “strategic realignment of its internal studio development teams”, resulting in the closure of two (really, three) more studios, and the laying-off of nearly 200 employees, all of which “are eligible to apply for open positions within the company globally.”
Ceasing to operate this time will be Australia-based Blue Tongue Entertainment, known for the de Blob series; Arizona-based Rainbow Studios/THQ Digital Phoenix will lose a dev team; and THQ Studio Australia, behind a number of licensed titles, and reportedly the crew tapped by Disney and Marvel for next year’s unannounced tie-in to The Avengers is shutting down. Basically, THQ’s pulling out of Australia but for some Quality Assurance work.
Echoing similar statements about the Red Faction franchise made just a few weeks ago, THQ is also shelving the MX vs. ATV property, too. The publisher “has decided not to actively pursue further development of the MX vs. ATV franchise at this time,” said CEO Brian Farrell.
THQ is “in the process of transitioning away from licensed kids titles and movie-based entertainment properties,” and intends to “concentrate on fast growing digital business initiatives such as social games, mobile and tablet-based digital entertainment.“
On the bright side, internal things safe for the foreseeable future include Volition and its Saints Row and inSane franchises; THQ Montreal’s new Patrice Désilets-lead project (and Homefront sequels); Relic Entertainment’s Warhammer 40,000 titles; WWE All Stars from THQ San Diego; and Darksiders II and Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium Online from Vigil Games.
“With this realignment, we are narrowing our focus to high-quality owned IP with broad appeal that can be leveraged across multiple platforms, and to work with the best talent in the industry,” said Farrell.
“By right-sizing our internal development capacities for our console portfolio, our five internal studios are focused on delivering high-quality games with talented teams driving the execution of those titles to market. As we have outlined in our business strategies, we are making shifts to reduce movie-based and licensed kids’ video games in our portfolio, which underscores our strategy to move away from games that will not generate strong profits in the future.“