It appears that game publisher THQ may be preparing to sell itself to any interested party if some of the tweets on this NeoGAF thread are to be believed. The steps that the publisher has seemingly taken include cancelling all their 2014 projects including the Warhammer 40,000 MMO Dark Millennium. Certainly things do not look good for THQ unless they can find a willing and able buyer, but how exactly did they get into this dire situation in the first place?
THQ has a lot of subsidiaries including Vigil Games, Volition, and Relic Entertainment which have provided them with Darksiders, Red Faction and Saints Row, and the Warhammer 40,000 series of games respectively. Some of these titles have been extremely lucrative; Saints Row comes to mind as a game that has been met warmly by both critics and the general gaming populace alike. With the success though have also come failures, like the lacklustre performance of the rebooted Red Faction series which ultimately cost the series its chance for a third title in what had been planned to be a triology of releases.
It has to be noted that THQ has been suffering from net losses for the last few years, and if this Kotaku article which also details things is correct then the current price for the company stock sits at an underwhelming 66 cents a share; not a position that any company that's been around for over twenty years likes to be in.
Perhaps it was inevitable, but despite the seemingly mostly underwhelming library there are some games and franchises in there that have done well and could still have the opportunity to continue to thrive if they fall into the right hands. Darksiders has a lot of untapped potential, the Warhammer series already has an extremely loyal following, and Saints Row would certainly be a fine acquisition for someone. Hell, in the right hands even Red Faction could see the light of day again as something really impressive.
So now the question stands: how will gain from THQ's loss? Only time will tell.
THQ has refuted claims that it has cancelled its 2014 titles:
"THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO. As part of the ongoing review of our business, we have made decisions to ensure that the company is strategically addressing the most attractive markets. As we have previously announced, we have dramatically reduced our commitment to the kids' boxed games sector which leads to a significantly more focused release schedule moving forward. Our slate for calendar 2012 and beyond is focused on high-quality core games and continues to build our digital platform and business. We are excited for our pipeline of original and high-quality content along with our relationships with some of the best talent in the industry."
It appears that the rumour mill was spinning out of control in this case, although it certainly looks like the company is still interested in finding a potential buyer. Of note is that while 2014 games are in the cards, there's no guarantee on which ones will see the light of day.