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THQ’s Troubles Could Be Bad For All Of Us

THQ’s Troubles Could Be Bad For All Of Us

THQ might be in trouble. Then again, THQ might not be in trouble. THQ might just be coasting along, for all I know – I’m not privy to their latest financial forecasts. Yet.

But word has spread over the weekend that the company may well be ‘not doing that well’. Rumours of a dropped MMO, a slate for 2014 cleared and the company offering its services for sale to Asian firms.

The company came in to deny things, if only slightly and not entirely, and it hasn’t really stopped the speculation. Is THQ on the ropes? I don’t know. But I hope not.

Even though this is the company that killed Red Faction, even though it’s the company that thought the MX vs ATV: Alive business model was a good idea, even though this is the publisher that releases the greatest example of diminishing returns I’ve ever seen in the shape of the Smackdown/WWE series – even though they’re perennial cock-up merchants, at least in 2011, I wish the publisher nothing but well.

That might be slight insanity on my part, but there is some logic at work. THQ is a publisher that encourages creativity and is willing to experiment. Yes, Homefront was just another militaristic manshooter, but it was new IP. Yes, Red Faction Armageddon was (in the main part) a pile of pump, but it was mixing things up in an established franchise. Yes, WWE ’12 turned out to be a pile of half-truths and broken physics, but at least… actually, no. That one was just poor.

But THQ is a publisher that allows its devs to make things like Saints Row The Third. It’s a publisher that hires Guillermo del Toro and lets him loose, free to create what he wants. It’s a publisher that sticks with a shooter based on a fairly obscure Russian post-apocalyptic literary series. It openly makes a statement it is dropping its licensed output – something THQ was commonly mocked for during my youth – and focusing more on original ideas and establishing new series.

Regardless of quality, that’s the kind of thinking I can get behind. And that’s why I wish nothing but good things for THQ in the future. Unless it goes evil, in which case I will retract that statement.

I was sat in a presentation this time last year – it was in New York, but frankly it could have been anywhere in the world such was the dark warehouse location of said presentation – in which Danny Bilson revealed the new logo for THQ. On revealing it, he pointed out what he thought ‘THQ’ stood for: “THe Quality”.

Yes, that is true.

Yes, we – the British contingent – had to stifle some pretty massive giggles.

But Bilson seems to be a man who truly believes these sorts of things. He seemed to truly believe what he said; he seems to truly believe that THQ – ‘THe Quality’ – is home to some great games that will do well. He truly believes a slow and steady pursuit of establishing new IPs and focusing on creativity will reap rewards. He truly believes all of this.

And if there’s one thing I know, regardless of what you think about THQ’s output: you never write off a true believer.

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  • Adrian Carswell

    I really hope they do well again. I think the uDraw branch was a big mistake for them.