THQ Axes 17% of Staff Under 'New Strategic Plan'

Following THQ's closure of five internal studios--over 25% of its internal resources--earlier this week, the publisher has terminated 17% of its studio staff--roughly 250 people--under a "new strategic plan" that will "focus on fewer, higher quality titles."

Along with the studio closures, THQ cancelled "several titles that were in development but had not been publicly announced." The company cited decreased consumer confidence, a "cautious" retail environment, and problematic exchange rates as factors that lowered its overall expectations for the current year.

While THQ will now produce less games, the studio claims this strategy will allow it to have bigger budgets on select titles. Moving forward, it hopes to focus on fighting games, such as UFC titles, more rational kids and family games, and migrating "key brands" to the online arena, such as Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40,000.

"We have made substantial progress in improving product quality and innovation, as evidenced by recent shipments of several well-reviewed games including de Blob and Saints Row 2," explained THQ CEO Brian Farrell.

"We are aligning our business to be more competitive in key consumer segments and address the current business environment. We expect the combination of a much more focused and competitive product line with a more efficient cost structure to put THQ back on the path to growth and profitability in fiscal year 2010."