THQ devs and properties find new homes

Saints Row joins Koch, South Park to Ubisoft.

January 23, 2013 / 03:20 PM EDT / (@salromano)

As scheduled, fading publisher THQ auction off its studios and IP title-by-title at auction yesterday, moving properties like Saints Row and South Park into the hands of publishers like Koch Media and Ubisoft.

Here’s the full list of who bought what:

  • Crytek: Purchased Homefront IP (they are actually already the studio behind the still-in-development Homefront 2).
  • Electronic Arts: Purchased the WWE IP (unconfirmed).
  • Koch Media: Purchased Volition (Saints Row) and Metro IP.
  • Sega: Purchased Relic Entertainment (Company of Heroes and Warhammer).
  • Take-Two Interactive: Purchased Evolve (Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock Studios’ new game).
  • Ubisoft: Purchased the Obsidian Entertainment-developed South Park: The Stick of Truth and THQ Montreal (developing Underdog and 1666).

Vigil Games, the studio behind Darksiders, unfortunately, did not make a sales agreement. But THQ said it will make “every effort” to find an appropriate buyer, “if possible.” As for THQ itself, the publisher will be no more within a few weeks.. It’s been a good one, THQ. We will miss you dearly.

THQ e-mailed a letter to all of its employees today regarding the sale. Find it reproduced below, via Kotaku.

To All THQ Employees:

We now have the answers we’ve been seeking through our financial restructuring and Chapter 11 case. While much will be written, here are the facts of the bids and auction that occurred:

Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business, along with Clearlake’s offer, and numerous offers for separate assets. During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority of the company.

Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must concur with our assessment.

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 and
  • Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park
  • We expect these sales to close this week.

Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements. They will remain part of the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible.

What this means for employees

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.

If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, 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. THQ has sufficient resources to pay these employees for work going forward, and we will be contacting these employees immediately to ensure their continued employment during this transition period. We are requesting the ability to offer certain severance pay to minimize disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next steps in their careers.

We know you will have many questions about this news. We’ll be meeting tomorrow when we return to talk through this announcement and to answer any questions you have. You will receive a benefits fact sheet and FAQs with answers to some questions that may be on your mind. Please review these materials closely.

A personal note

The work that you all have done as part of the THQ family is imaginative, creative, artistic and highly valued by our loyal gamers. We are proud of what we have accomplished despite today’s outcome.

It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be operating as part of new organizations.

For those THQ employees who are part of entities that are not included in the sale, we are confident that the talent you have displayed as part of THQ will be recognized as you take the next steps in your career.

Thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your talent with the THQ team. We wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Brian Farrell
Chief Executive Officer

Jason Rubin
President

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  • Skerj

    Holy shit Sega owns Relic!? Well it makes sense with Total War doing well for them.

  • BadGenome

    “Ubisoft: Purchased [...] THQ Montreal.”

    Not so fast, Patrice! Get back here!

    • http://gematsu.com/ Sal Romano

      Yeah, people are talking about that. Must be weird to leave and then get pulled back in. Ubi’s like the mob, yo.

      • http://gematsu.com/ Zero

        That is kinda funny. I guess he is going home.

      • KurisuMakise

        Poor Patrice =( Smart on Ubisoft of course but man, it’s like they just hold Montreal’s game scene, straight up mob~ =(

  • DesmaX

    Ubisoft got the new South Park game? Nice

  • http://kougeru.tumblr.com/ Kou

    I had to look up Koch Media. They dont have a single game I felt was worth the money. :(

    • DesmaX

      Deep Silver published Catherine in Europe, didn’t they?

  • Raiyu

    At least EA didn’t get their grubby hands on anything good.

    And Volition…:(

  • MrKappa

    The only game I care about is Darksiders and it seems there is no info on it? :(

    I really hope some great picks it up, hopefully no EA.

    • http://socia.arkaic.com/b/kazriko Kazriko Redclaw

      The developer of darksiders was not acquired, but I heard someone may have purchased the IP.

  • bebestorm117

    Though I havent played THQ game since Titan Quest its sad to see vg company go but at least the many of their games will continue on…

  • shogunknight

    Its nice to see that their games arent being scrapped. Lets hope metro and darksiders get bought too. I also hope for the best for THQs staff

    • http://socia.arkaic.com/b/kazriko Kazriko Redclaw

      Metro was bought by the same group that picked up Volition and Saint’s Row. Darksiders is out in the cold, still part of the chapter 11 deal, and the staff that worked on it is out of a job now.

  • DarthBrian

    Sad. :(

    Who is Koch Media though? Never heard of them. Saint’s Row the Third is one of the best games ever and I hope there’s another one.

    EDIT: Is it owned by Ed Koch the former mayor of New York? That’d be interesting. :p

  • Prodigy-X

    Yes!!!!!! EA bought the WWE ip now we get to see some improved graphics and better gameplay. I hope Saints Row The Fourth comes out this Fall.

    • Rezar

      I heard Take-Two bought the WWE IP which is even better than EA owning it.

      • Prodigy-X

        Yes!!! even more better. I hope they can redeem the franchise because to me it just didn’t feel good any more after Smackdown Vs. Raw 2009.

  • Solomon_Kano

    I just want somebody to buy Vigil! :’(

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Obb/100001994017630 Bob Obb

    Whatever happened to Devil’s Third? Itagaki gambled and lost didn’t he?

    • http://twitter.com/SwimsuitHakufu ギャビン

      Itagaki owns Devils Third now. He got away from THQ before all this went down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Warboss-Aohd/100003803614469 Warboss Aohd

    Ea didn’t get get Saints Row

    all is well

  • DrForbidden

    Huh? What the hell is Sega doing purchasing new studios and IPs when they are having so much trouble keeping their existing ones from drowning?

    • http://gematsu.com/ Zero

      That’s just how Sega rolls, lmao. When they fail, they do so in spectacular fashion. I really do wish them the best, I’ve always loved Sega, it goes back to my childhood with the Genesis. I’m one of those Dreamcast lovers, it’s probably my favorite console of all time. I even adore many Sega franchises, especially Phantasy Star Online.

      So, I’m not a Sega hater by any means. I’ve just gotten used to them trying and failing, and when they fail its typically nasty. Just like this purchase, I think it could be a good one for them. If anyone is going to mess it all up though, leave it to Sega. I hope I’m wrong, for the sake of those franchises.

      • KurisuMakise

        Some notes here, first…SEGA only purchased the dev studio no specific IP. Two, SEGA’s actually operating just fine currently. Three, SEGA has handled PC-centric developers and titles quite well, like Creative Assembly.

        • DrForbidden

          Uhh, they’re ‘operating just fine currently’ because they canceled games, shut down some studios, and laid off scores of employees worldwide just last year. They are just starting to recover and probably not in good condition to expand operations at this stage, as another year of losses will probably destroy them. I suppose they couldn’t pass off a deal, though.

          • KurisuMakise

            Considering their operating cost, how much cash on hand they have versus debt, that’s not bad. How they achieved this (Cancelling games, studio closure as well as layoffs) well SEGA’s doing what SEGA’s got to do to become more profitable and operate much smoother. However they’re not nearly as “dire” as you or Zero made it seem.

            • http://gematsu.com/ Zero

              My response was half serious, half joke.

              They do find ways to mess up good things though. If they took more of an Atlus approach in regards to selling more niche titles, I think they could have avoided all the recent chaos. (The stuff you mentioned.)

              I do love Sega, like I said above. I just can’t give them a free pass when it comes to some of the recent mistakes.

              A good example was the Marvel license they had until recently. They continued to pour money into really bad games. Sure, the deadlines on movie based games are rough, but they milked that until Marvel finally had to more or less put a stop to it.

              That makes me really sad to be honest.

              • KurisuMakise

                Well yes, they don’t deserve a free pass for mistakes like that or how they handle their Japanese projects (Valkyria Chronicles 3). Definitely they could learn from Atlus concerning this because with the Digital Distribution focus, I think they could make some good money on a lot of these titles being left in Japan. After E3 for example, why didn’t they take advantage of the publicity of Project Diva F being there and work to do a Digital only release? They still lack the full organization and effort to utilize not just their back catalog but more recent and future titles.

  • PrinceHeir

    bye THQ :(