THQ has apparently axed all of its 2014 anticipated titles, cancelled development on MMO Warhammer 40K: Dark Millenium Online, and returned IP to Disney, in moves which suggest the company will soon be sold or closed completely.
The news – which THQ is yet to confirm or deny – came from industry veteran Kevin Dent, currently chairperson of the Independent Game Developers Association Mobile Special Interest Group after a career working closely with companies including Sony Ericsson, Microsoft, EA, Activision, Atari and Disney.
He explains that giving back already-licensed IP is a “worry” – considering both that Disney titles are “relatively cheap” to produce and generally make money, but also that licenses are traditionally tied to development milestones. “Use it or lose it,” he says.
Dent also claims, via Twitter, that the company is offering itself to “Asian firms” in order to increase value, in preparation for sale.
2011 was a year of ups and downs for THQ, who closed five development teams (including the company’s Australian presence), before cutting a number of jobs in the remaining studios and scrapping two popular IPs.
Despite that, the company also snagged publishing rights for Obsidian‘s upcoming South Park: The Game, and opened a new studio in Montreal, snapping up Assassin’s Creed developer Patrice Désilets to work on an unknown title.
[img_big]center,7763,2011-08-17/Explosions_FINAL.jpg,Saints Row The Third[/img_big]
While the release of Saints Row The Third was a highlight of the year, the game’s entry into an already over-crowded Q4 market didn’t help sales. The game caused a small ripple in the company’s share price, but it’s potentially a case of too little, too late – THQ shares have otherwise declined consistently since February 2011.
At this stage, nothing has been confirmed, so apply grains of salt liberally, but a second round of rumours has started up which suggest that THQ could start laying off more staff as early as this week.