411 Games Fact or Fiction 01.31.13: THQ Memorial Edition
Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. As always, I am Daniel Anderson, and I hope everyone has had a good week. In memory of THQ, we are having a special edition of Fact or Fiction dedicated to the dissolution of THQ. We will get different opinions on the companies that bought parts of THQ. Anyway, this week we have 411’s Gavin Napier going up against Adam Larck. Let’s see what they have to say, shall we?
1.) You were surprised that Vigil did not sell during THQ’s auction.
Gavin Napier – Fact: The Darksiders property has a solid fan base and has sold relatively well. The games look good and have a nice mechanic to them, and so I’m surprised that Vigil didn’t get picked up. Releasing back to back quality games that can serve as the basis of a franchise is no small feat in today’s gaming climate. Hopefully we haven’t heard the lady of the Vigil team, as there’s speculation for other buyers coming after the auction.
Adam Larck – Fact: I was really hoping to see the studio get picked up by a new publisher. The Darksider series is being left unfinished, and their new game, Crawler, sounded like it was shaping up to be a strong title. I’m still hoping to see the employees get picked up by a new company. For now, I send them my best wishes in finding a new job.
Score: 1 for 1 - I haven’t heard anyone not say they were surprised that Vigil didn’t sell, let alone didn’t have any bids put in.
2.) You were surprised to hear Sega paid $26.6 million for Relic.
Gavin Napier – Fact: I’m always a little surprised at what Sega does, because they’ve been so random for over a decade now. They get caught between nostalgia, crappy licenses, and the occasional decent product. Purchasing Relic gives them the Warhammer license and allows Sega to make a major push into PC gaming. It should be interesting, and hopefully can spark a revival for the once great company.
Adam Larck – Fiction: Sega is in a prime position to pick up a RTS PC maker. Total War has done well for them on PC, and they still sense a strong market for PC gamers. Relic will give them both Company of Heroes and Dawn of War, two strong PC titles that follow along the RTS genre as well. I look for Sega to just sit back and let them continue doing their own thing and make them some money.
Score: 1 for 2 - I think at first glance Sega surprised everyone, but when you take into account the Total War series it makes more sense. I think you have to consider Sega as one of the leaders in RTS games right now.
3.) 2K Sports will license AKI’s engine for their first WWE game.
Gavin Napier – Fiction: As much as I want it to be fact, I’m too cynical to believe. The AKI Engine is the greatest wrestling engine ever developed. The games that features it are also relics at this point. Take 2/2K Sports has done an excellent job with sports games since the Dreamcast, and I’m sure they’ll come up with something great here. If you’ve played NBA 2k13, you know that the commentary is absurdly good, and the graphical presentation flawless. Audio and visual components notwithstanding, I’m excited to see what they can come up with on their own for a wrestling engine.
Adam Larck – Fiction: I’m sure some fans would like this, but I look for 2K Sports to either come up with their own engine or try to get the engine from Yukes. I’m curious to see what will happen to the next title in the series, but for now my bigger question is if the game will come out this year or not.
Score: 2 for 3 - No one thinks the AKI engine will get used for the WWE game? I don’t either, but I had to go there and figured someone would be more optimistic than realistic. At this point I would rather see a new engine used instead of Yukes.
4.) You were surprised that EA did not purchase any of THQ’s assets.
Adam Larck – Fact: Considering EA’s position in the industry, I figured they’d pick up a few more titles or a developer to bolster their roster. Considering there are still some titles out there, and Vigil Games, they could still make a late push. I actually figured they would pick up Volition Studios, which leads me to the next question.
Gavin Napier – Fact: Eddie, if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised. EA gobbles up licenses in the name of destroying competition. It’s what they do. Either they’re content with what they have or didn’t see any THQ properties as a threat when taken over by someone else. Now if they’d only let that damned NFL exclusive rights deal expire.
Score: 3 for 4 - EA’s lack of purchases surprised me. I figured EA would have purchased one or two licenses just to have them and deny those licenses from someone else.
5.) Koch Media, owner of Deep Silver, getting Saint’s Row will be a great help to the franchise.
Adam Larck – Fact: I think Koch knows not to ruin a good thing. They have some interesting IPs already, but considering how much money the past games have been, I really thing Koch will let Volition keep making over the top titles that sell great. What I’m more interested in, though, is if Koch will have Volition bring back Red Faction or not. I feel there is still potential in this series, but I’m not sure if Koch is willing to take a gamble on it. All I can do is wait and see.
Gavin Napier – Fiction: I’m only saying fiction because I think Saint’s Row is in good shape as is. Italy similar to GTA in concept but has a style and vibe all it’s own. The games could use some tightening up in some areas, but overall I can’t envision a huge leap forward for the franchise no matter who’s handling it. I’ve been wrong before, though.
Score: 3 for 5 - I think worst case Koch leaves things as they are. Best case, I think we get some new people with new ideas that adds new twists to the series, but keeps the core of the game the same. Should be interesting to see what happens.
6.) Take-Two outbidding Turtle Rock Studios on their own property, Evolve, is surprising.
Adam Larck – Fiction: I talked to a few writers about this particular purchase on Twitter after it was announced. Like Polygon writer Chris Grant said, Turtle Rock Studios trying to outbid Take-Two was like bringing a “knife to a gun fight.” I’m not exactly sure why Take-Two wanted to take Evolve away from its developer, but there apparently must be something big there. I’m not sure if Take-Two will allow Turtle Rock to do development still or give it to one of their own studios, but hopefully news about that will come in the near future.
Gavin Napier – Fact: Take Two doesn’t make reckless business moves, generally speaking. They must have major plans or see major potential in Evolve, or they wouldn’t be sinking money into it. It’s a blow to Rock Studios, who may have simply been unable to place a higher bid or may have undervalued their own property. For the sake of the team and their jobs, here’s hoping they can rebound.
Score: 3 for 6 - I think Take-Two has something planned. I think we will see some type of announcement relatively soon giving us a hint at what their plans are.
Bonus Question: What is your favorite memory of THQ and what will be your final opinion of the company?
Adam Larck – I’ll probably remember THQ the most for helping save Volition as Interplay was spiraling downwards. Volition is the one game development studio from my area, and seeing THQ back them with only the FreeSpace series behind them was a big gamble at the time. Since then, Volition has really made a name of its own by producing the Red Faction and Saints Row series. Without THQ, I’d like to believe Volition would be here today but there would be no way to tell. As far as parting opinion, I think a bit more moderation may have helped the company stay afloat, if only for a bit longer. Immediately dropping all entertainment licensed games, like TV and movie, may have cost the publisher more money than they saved. Between that and the uDraw failure on PS3 and 360, the downward spiral was too much to overcome. Hopefully, everyone that got bought out enjoys their new publisher and keeps their jobs, and the ones that did lose their jobs finds new ones quickly.
Gavin Napier – THQ will always be the company that made WWE games to me. Some were great (Here Comes The Pain!), others were lacking. Still, they were consistent producers of the best wrestling games most American gamers had access to. As a fan, I appreciated that. I’ll miss the THQ logo popping up and it’s another chunk of my youth disappearing, which is a little sad. I wish something had been done differently to keep them around, but change is the nature of business. They had a good run.
That wraps up this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. Adam and Gavin went 3 for 6, agreeing as much as disagreeing. I hope everyone has a good week, and until then, happy gaming.