THQ studios and games sold to Sega, Koch Media, Crytek, Take 2, and Ubisoft

In an auctioning process, THQ has sold many of its studios and upcoming games.

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In an auctioning process, THQ has sold many of its studios and upcoming games. Sega has agreed to purchase Relic Entertainment, developer of the upcoming Company of Heroes 2. Given the publisher's penchant for PC strategy games (like the Total War series), Relic's future may be relatively safe in the House of Sonic. According to @DDInvesting, Sega fronted $26 million in the auction, proving they want ownership of the PC strategy space.

Koch Media, owner of the Deep Silver publishing label, has agreed to purchase publishing rights for Metro: Last Light, and Volition, developer of THQ's successful Saints Row franchise. Koch Media offered $22.3 million for Volition, $5.8 million for Metro.

Crytek, developer of the upcoming Homefront 2, has agreed to purchase the IP from THQ--a rare move where a developer can outright buy a property from its publisher. The cost of the IP purchase: a mere $500k.

Take 2, owner of the 2K Games and Rockstar Games label, has agreed to take "Evolve," the unannounced next game from Turtle Rock Studios, developer of the Left 4 Dead franchise. The publisher offered $11 million for the title, suggesting a lot of confidence in the unseen project.

Finally, Ubisoft has agreed to purchase THQ Montreal, ironically recapturing Patrice Désilets in the process. Désilets worked on the Assassin's Creed franchise before moving on to work on to the yet-announced 1666. The French publisher will also pick up South Park: The Stick of Truth--arguably THQ's biggest upcoming game. Ubisoft spent only $2.5 million for the Montreal studio, less than the $3.2 million it fronted for the South Park game.

The publisher expects these deals to close as early as this week. However, Kotaku points out that a number of other parts of the business have been unsold. For example, Vigil Games, developer of the Darksiders franchise, is still unclaimed. "They will remain part of the Chapter 11 case," CEO Brian Farrell wrote in a letter to employees. "We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible."

"We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered employment by the new owners," the letter says. "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," adding "unfortunately, employees of a studio that were not purchased will have their position end."

From The Chatty

  • reply
    January 23, 2013 12:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, THQ studios and games sold to Sega, Koch Media, Crytek, Take 2, and Ubisoft.

    In an auctioning process, THQ has sold many of its studios and upcoming games.

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      January 23, 2013 12:33 PM

      I guess things could've gone worse. Relic to Sega is an interesting move, but I'm more concerned about how things will work out with Last Light and Volition, since Deep Silver is less of a known quantity.

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        January 23, 2013 12:36 PM

        If this fucks up the next Saints Row game, I will beat someone with a 4' long purple jelly dong.

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          January 23, 2013 12:42 PM

          The first showing of Dead Island started out pretty piss-poor. I guess we'll see if they've learned anything in their next installment coming up soon. I'd say you'd be able to get a fair judgement after that of the direction it'll be going.
          Truthfully, I think 2k/Gearbox would have made a good buyer for Saints Row. They've got that over-the-top ridiculousness in their games more so than probably any other company out there currently.

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            January 23, 2013 1:03 PM

            I mostly liked Dead Island. It wasn't perfect, but it was fun.

            I think it mostly comes down to whether Koch Media fucks around with Volition or mostly leaves them alone.

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              January 23, 2013 1:06 PM

              I liked it as well, but the technical implementation was atrocious. They patched it to be significantly better, though, so I do give them kudos for that.

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                January 23, 2013 1:09 PM

                For a relatively unknown studio I have to give them a lot of credit for making what they did. It wasn't perfect but it was a great first attempt.

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                  January 23, 2013 1:12 PM

                  Yeah, it wasn't Far Cry "holy shit where did these people come from", but it was damn good for their first AAA title.

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        January 23, 2013 12:55 PM

        Considering how well Sega has handled Creative Assembly and the TW franchise I'm definitely ok with that move. They also get control over the Warhammer 40k rights. I hope in the long run this increases the chances of a new Homeworld game. As far as Deep Silver I thought Dead Island was a decent game especially for a new IP by a relatively unknown studio. I doubt they're going to fuck with Volition though.

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          January 23, 2013 2:00 PM

          I know it's wishful thinking on my part, but Relic going to Sega makes me want a Total War style 40K game EVEN MORE.

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          January 23, 2013 2:05 PM

          Sega owning WH40K? Hmmmmmmm. Interesting.

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            January 23, 2013 2:11 PM

            I believe in the deal they only get Company of Heroes, not the WH license, which I assume is owned by Games Workshop still

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              January 23, 2013 2:19 PM

              I'm assuming the agreements with Relic over the Warhammer 40k franchise probably won't be voided. Sega got the rights to make other Warhammer games recently so I'm assuming things will be worked out one way or another. I'm assuming they got the rights to Homeworld as well.

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                January 23, 2013 2:19 PM

                This seems pretty safe to assume.

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                January 23, 2013 2:21 PM

                In the very least I won't be surprised if Sega makes an agreement over Warhammer 40k with THQ effectively dead.

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                  January 23, 2013 2:32 PM

                  One way or another, we need more Dawn of War!!

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                    January 23, 2013 3:01 PM

                    Indeed. I kind of feel like Sega is carving out a RTS niche for itself.

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              January 23, 2013 2:19 PM

              If Games Workshop was willing to murder the successful independent game shops by moving in next door just for a small bump in their margins, I don't see why they would let the game license float around without some really tight strings.

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      January 23, 2013 12:35 PM

      Interesting split of properties. At least companies were only buying what they could use instead of someone buying everything and then shutting down half of it.

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      January 23, 2013 12:41 PM

      I think I'd like the idea of Bethesda acquiring the Darksiders series for some reason, if any company is going to buy it. Guess we'll wait and see.

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      January 23, 2013 1:03 PM

      We had some THQ Shackers worried about their jobs yesterday. Hopefully they feel this is good news.

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        January 23, 2013 1:39 PM

        It was good for us (Relic), it could have been much worse us considering some of the publishers that were thinking about bidding. I hope those that didn't make it out land on their feet.

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          January 23, 2013 1:46 PM

          I wanted to buy Relic and then have them make Homeworld 3. Unfortunately I don't have $26 million.

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          January 23, 2013 2:22 PM

          Do you guys keep the 40k IP rights?

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          January 23, 2013 3:21 PM

          Good to hear it man, you guys deserve to keep rocking.

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      January 23, 2013 1:03 PM

      I really hope someone picks up Vigil, they need to stick around.

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      January 23, 2013 1:07 PM

      Well, at least EA and Activision didn't grab any of this. Could have been a lot worse.

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      January 23, 2013 1:08 PM

      Hmmm seem good, I hope they let all the games live and the teams. We shall see.

      Man I hope who ever gets Darksiders series take the best care of them, #2 was so ace I am dying for the next ones, man I hope they are going to be ok.

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      January 23, 2013 1:09 PM

      I want to know who bought up all the extra uDraws.

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        January 23, 2013 2:16 PM

        I almost got them for $3.50, but I would have had to pay for shipping. Fuck that.

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      January 23, 2013 1:11 PM

      Does that mean that sega can publish total war style WH40k game now? Because I want that badly

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        January 23, 2013 1:21 PM

        i really liked what they did with DoW2 though. made RTS fun again for me.

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      January 23, 2013 1:13 PM

      Runner ups were announced too.

      Sega just barely beat out Zenimax for Relic
      Turtle Rock got beat out by a huge margin by Take 2 to publish their own game. (lol.. and aww)
      Ubisoft put up 5.4million for Volition, but lost to Koch (22m). Ubisoft also lost out on Metro.

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        January 23, 2013 1:16 PM

        Ahh shit, Zenimax would have been awesome for Relic :(

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          January 23, 2013 1:20 PM

          Sega paid 26.6m, Zenimax put up 26.3m. That friggin' close.

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          January 23, 2013 3:47 PM

          Sega isn't too bad though. They're on steam and don't have their own stupid online platform to push. Zenimax would be better but at least its not ubi.

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        January 23, 2013 1:17 PM

        From the looks of it, Ubi was just low-bidding on almost everything just in case.

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          January 23, 2013 1:18 PM

          Yeah. Stupidly didn't do Darksiders. I wonder if the minimum was high.

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            January 24, 2013 1:12 AM

            Yeah I think Darksiders is a good fit for Ubi, despite Uplay and AssCreedin' everything and all.

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        January 23, 2013 1:18 PM

        5.4 million is a damned pittance for Volition. Kinda disappointed that Zenimax didn't end up with Relic (or anything else, for that matter); I want to see more developers and titles move back to private ownership.

        Although, now that I look closer, I think Koch Media is still privately held rather than being publicly traded.

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          January 23, 2013 1:30 PM

          I see 22.3m for Volition. 5.8m for Metro Last Light from Koch Media.

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            January 23, 2013 1:30 PM

            Oh I see from the OP, the low-ball bids by Ubisoft just in case. Nevermind me

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              January 23, 2013 1:35 PM

              I wrote it all backwards and confusing. :P

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          January 23, 2013 1:34 PM

          22.3 for voliton , it was 5.4 for metro.

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            January 23, 2013 2:14 PM

            No, I'm responding to K1Bond007 saying that Ubi offered a laughable $5.4 million for Volition.

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          January 23, 2013 2:04 PM

          Glad to see last light and saints row series will live on.

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      January 23, 2013 1:29 PM

      Vigil might be finished already, one of their designers looking for a job: https://twitter.com/verytragic/status/294168371161866241

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      January 23, 2013 1:34 PM

      I think relic got a pretty good deal. Sega seems to know that their TW series has a particular formula working for it so they just keep polishing the same wonderful thing, hopefully they let relic do the same with COH and its other properties.

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        January 23, 2013 1:58 PM

        I have my doubts that SEGA will last the decade. They've had a rough few last years.

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      January 23, 2013 1:41 PM

      Kind of crazy that Volition went for so little.

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        January 23, 2013 1:44 PM

        $22 is little?

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          January 23, 2013 1:44 PM

          lol, $22 million of course. $22 is indeed little :D

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        January 23, 2013 1:48 PM

        Agreed, also I would have much rather seen Volition go to pretty much any other publisher listed here...

        Outside of Dead Island, and I guess X3 and maybe STALKER, Deep Silver publishes generic IP tie-ins and nothing else, it appears. Very few of their titles are what I would call "AAA".

        I do not have good feelings about them taking over Saints Row :/

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        January 23, 2013 2:09 PM

        $22m for Volition plus the Saints Row franchise is pretty nice. makes it kind of hilarious that Take2 paid almost $11m for a game being made by the studio that couldn't finishe Left4Dead

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          January 23, 2013 4:02 PM

          What do you mean? I thought that Valve extended job offers to everyone at the company when L4D wrapped up, and the ones who didn't want to move remained at Turtle Rock.

          As a funny side-story, the office where we signed the closing papers on our house was in the same building as Turtle Rock and we had to hear them playing Left 4 Dead through the wall prior to release while we read through our paperwork.

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            January 23, 2013 4:22 PM

            Valve extended offers to some employees after taking the project from Turtle Rock, but that was like a year before release

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        January 23, 2013 2:34 PM

        The funny thing is that the runner-up bid by Ubisoft was for 5.4 million. Koch Media must be kicking themselves for bidding so high.

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          January 23, 2013 2:38 PM

          From the sounds of it though if they had bid significantly less they may have lost out to the all in one bid.

          Most unfortunately that would've been best case scenario for Vigil :(

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      January 23, 2013 1:44 PM

      Dang I was looking forward to the South Park game. Stinking uplay.

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        January 23, 2013 2:00 PM

        I'm hoping with being so close to release that they won't have time to mess with it.

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          January 23, 2013 2:23 PM

          Presuming the 'publisher shit' isn't already built into the time line, they'll probably delay the PC version for Uplay, because why wouldn't you want to piss off your customers?

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      January 23, 2013 1:47 PM



      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 t:

      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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        January 23, 2013 1:59 PM

        Aww shit, Ubisoft is supposed to get South Park? I just hope they don't have time to slap on Uplay or some other nonsense before release.

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      January 23, 2013 1:52 PM

      This is a warning to everyone thinking of getting into the game design department - GET OUT NOW, it's a over inflated business you'll be constantly wondering if you'll have a job after the next project... People already before this where looking for jobs all over the place and it's just not worth it... Going Indie is the best thing to do no bullshit higher ups betting their future invested in the joke of a stock market and leaving you or your company always on a fine line... I'm sure there's great game companies out there but it's only a matter of time before they become this... :P

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      January 23, 2013 1:52 PM

      did EA or 2k sports end up with the WWE license?

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      January 23, 2013 1:55 PM

      This is makes me happy :) It didn't turn out to bad after all.

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      January 23, 2013 1:55 PM

      I have to admit,even though I HATED the first Homefront game,I'm extremely curious to see what Crytek does with it.It can only get better,imo.

      My other big concern is the ultimate fate for the Darksiders franchise.First game was really good,second game was great (my personal GoTY),and who knows where it goes from here.Hopefully it can go to a more than competent owner that doesn't screw the next one up.

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        January 23, 2013 1:59 PM

        Yeah, I'm also interested in what Crytek will do (big Crtek fan myself). And if it uses CryEngine3 it could be interesting. But I wonder who will publish the game? I hope not EA...

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        January 23, 2013 2:10 PM

        well, it's now set in a jungle and they're renaming it from Homefront to Cryface. also there are aliens at the end.

        get it, because Crytek makes the same goddamn game over and over?! I'll still play it :(

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        January 23, 2013 2:24 PM

        Yeah, Cervat Yerli or whatever his name is likes to shoot his mouth off, but Crytek still makes pretty fun games.

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        January 23, 2013 3:20 PM

        It's not even really Crytek. They're named that now, but it's really Free Radical. The ones who did Timesplitters and are one of a few devs that were created from the original GoldenEye 007 team at Rare.

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          January 23, 2013 3:25 PM

          Which is a shame because they're a terrible developer who only ever made overrated mediocrity. Still, 500k to own the license you're already working on makes sense.

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            January 23, 2013 3:44 PM

            Lot of people like Second Sight and Timesplitters (1&2). Regardless, it's barely the same company anyway. This is a pretty good read about the life and death of Free Radical: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-05-04-free-radical-vs-the-monsters

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              January 23, 2013 4:20 PM

              I never played Second Sight to be fair, but I always found TimeSplitters to be hugely derivative with a disjointed, random single player campaign and hugely unbalanced multiplayer - I guess some people found charm in the "everything including the kitchen sink but no original ideas of their own" approach.

              Haze was abysmal all round, however.

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            January 23, 2013 4:43 PM

            Yeah, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and Timesplitters 1/2 were mediocre crap. On what fucking planet was this ever true?

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              January 24, 2013 1:33 AM

              Go to MobyGames. Compare the team members. Go on. Free Radical dined off the "We made Goldeneye!" bullshit for way too long, a tiny fraction of that team were at Free Radical and they never made a game remotely as important or good.

              Goldeneye was a great game for the time, no question. Perfect Dark pushed the N64 too hard and, having tried it more recently on Xbox, does not hold up at all.

              TimeSplitters 1/2 were an inconsistent pick 'n' mix of any idea they felt like throwing into the pot. Charming and chaotic? Maybe. Classics? No.

              Don't even get me started about Haze.

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      January 23, 2013 2:32 PM

      what happens to the THQ stock if you had any?

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      January 23, 2013 3:36 PM

      Missing the most important bit we all want to know,who got the Homeworld IP?! Please tell me Sega bought that too.

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        January 23, 2013 3:45 PM

        Did you even bother to read ... anything? Crytek got it.

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        January 23, 2013 3:50 PM

        I think it's fairly safe to assume, unless otherwise specified IP and licensing moves with studios.

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          January 23, 2013 4:14 PM

          It makes sense but it feels like we don't know enough yet. THQ's CEO makes mention of unsold IPs here.

          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.


          http://kotaku.com/5978429/this-is-the-letter-that-thq-sent-to-employees-today

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          January 23, 2013 4:21 PM

          Relic never owned it, isn't that Sierra? So, fuck knows where it now lies.

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            January 23, 2013 4:25 PM

            it doesn't matter anyway since THQ owned Relic. Relic can't really own an IP if they're a fully owned subsidiary of another company.

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              January 23, 2013 4:27 PM

              Yeah thats why I made my comment, it isn't clear in all cases what IPs went with the studios although it makes sense for Saints Row to go with Volition, etc... There isn't any info I've seen yet that spells it out.

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                January 23, 2013 4:35 PM

                there's a legal document that was released detailing what each sale included, and a lot of it dealt with contracts. Volition was already working on Saints Row 4 and they would have made a contract with THQ to do so, and in order to purchase Volition you needed to buy that contract. So you get the game and potentially the IP for the franchise in that case. But if you look at another franchise that Volition has worked on, like Red Faction (and they made all four of those games) that's not mentioned anywhere because they weren't working on it (or at least there was no contract for it). Compare that to THQ Montreal which had two in-dev games, you buy that studio then you end up with the rights to those games as well.

                That's why it seems like any 3rd party studios (currently Turtle Rock on their project and 4A Games working on the next Metro game) seem to be okay because the purchase included their contract with THQ to make the game. It's also why buying Homefront was s good idea for Crytek since they're already working on Homefront 2 and now they will probably shop it to EA Partners to publish.

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                  January 23, 2013 5:39 PM

                  Cool, thanks for the info.

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        January 23, 2013 3:56 PM

        Homeworld was owned by Sierra, which means it's currently owned by Activision in all likelihood

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          January 23, 2013 3:58 PM

          oh ho, apparently THQ bought the IP from Activision back in 2007, so I guess it's in limbo with a bunch of other IPs

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            January 23, 2013 4:22 PM

            Aha, good find man. Seems pretty unlikely Relic will do another then. Honestly, I see no harm in spiritual successors instead though that seems unlikely too

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            January 23, 2013 5:52 PM

            Wait, so they owned it all this time and NEVER FUCKING MADE A SEQUEL?

            GOD DAMMIT!

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          January 23, 2013 3:59 PM

          Preeeeeety sure it was purchased up by THQ/Relic during their big selloff.

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          January 23, 2013 4:17 PM

          Relic got the rights back for it which means Sega now has them.

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        January 23, 2013 4:20 PM

        If they can't make a direct Homeworld sequel I at least want a super awesome spiritual successor.

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          January 23, 2013 4:25 PM

          I doubt it, and really, I'm kind of okay with it at this point. :(
          I don't think there's even anyone from Homeworld 2 left, let alone it's superior predecessor.

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        January 23, 2013 4:30 PM

        Does Relic even still have the right people to make another Homeworld?

        http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/01/17/interview-homeworld-dev-tells-all-about-new-rts-hardware/

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        January 23, 2013 4:37 PM

        Does Relic even still have most of the people that worked on Homeworld? I mean, it seems like some of the major people are doing other stuff.

        http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/01/17/interview-homeworld-dev-tells-all-about-new-rts-hardware/

        (Sry if double post, the other one is definitely not showing up)

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          January 23, 2013 4:45 PM

          Mother fucker. I waited seven minutes and that other post still didn't show up.

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          January 23, 2013 5:41 PM

          I would be shocked if there's a single person who even worked on Homeworld 2 still at Relic, it seems like everyone moved on. Not to disparage Company of Heroes and their Warhammer 4K stuff, but... it's not the same Relic anymore, and I'm okay with them not having access to Homeworld. The happiest move I could see at this point is someone actually grabbing the rights, and then getting the three games on GOG and Steam.

          A sequel? I don't know. Maybe it's been too long, and long shot hope for something like Human Revolution happening just isn't good enough for me.

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            January 23, 2013 6:03 PM

            Honestly I'm not sure where they could go with the story for a 3rd game. Like I say I'd at least be happy to see a spiritual successor. Even if most of the original team is gone I think Relic is more than capable of making a quality space RTS.

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              January 23, 2013 6:24 PM

              I wouldn't complain about new full 3D space RTS games taking inspiration from Homeworld. Well, modern ones which are also better than ORB and The Jupiter Incident were.

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        January 23, 2013 4:37 PM

        THQ, as an estate, still kinda exists as a legal entity. They probably still own that.

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        January 23, 2013 6:17 PM

        Their legacy IPs are to be sold off later this month, if Twitter is to be believed.

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          January 23, 2013 8:34 PM

          Really now? It would be kind of funny to low ball some random old stuff in the catalog. STAY OFF ALTER ECHO IT'S MINE.

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      January 23, 2013 3:49 PM

      I'm not one to believe in internet petitions, but something has to be done about this Vigil situation. It makes me truly (not just internet hyperbole) sad to see the Darksiders dev out of work

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        January 23, 2013 4:00 PM

        Surely they must be worth SOMETHING?

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          January 23, 2013 4:24 PM

          You'd think, right? Even if they were half as good as they are that'd be a worthwhile purchase for a ready-made studio.

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            January 24, 2013 1:30 AM

            Perhaps they were making a loss?

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              January 24, 2013 1:34 AM

              Yeah, could well be an expensive studio to keep running, they were pretty big, right? I am still le sad. :(

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        January 23, 2013 4:40 PM

        The people there clearly have talent. I agree that it's messed up, but I bet they will get snatched up by other dev houses here and there. I know if I was working at a game dev house I'd be getting a list of employee numbers from Vigil right now.

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      January 23, 2013 5:56 PM

      26 million dollars doesn't seem like a lot of money for Relic.

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        January 24, 2013 12:47 AM

        It's a decent chunk of change. That's the budget of a decent AAA multiformat release.

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      January 24, 2013 3:13 AM

      So sorry for Vigil, those guys rule :( Best art ever too :(

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      January 24, 2013 5:33 AM

      THQ bought them for $10 million and sold them for $26 million, thats a pretty good profit!