Big Huge Games in sizable peril

THQ confirms plans to sell or close Rise of Nations dev, spins off Heavy Iron and Incinerator Studios into independent businesses.

THQ has revealed the final phase of its massive business realignment. The publisher confirmed that it will thin its internal ranks by another three studios one way or another.

Hopefully Big Huge winds up in better shape than these guys from Rise of Legends.

As reported by Crispy Gamer and confirmed by GameSpot, THQ informed developers at Maryland-based Big Huge Games that it will close down the studio if a buyer isn't found in the near future. If that happens, employees at the studio will be given 60 days' notice. Additionally, THQ is spinning off two of its California studios--Los Angeles-based Heavy Iron and Carlsbad-based Incinerator--as independent companies.

"These actions were unfortunate but were necessitated by the difficult economic environment," the company said in a statement. These moves should bring to completion plans THQ announced in February to cut nearly one-quarter of its worldwide work force, some 600 people.

"With the completion of these actions, we will have achieved all of the actions contemplated within the previously announced cost reductions," a representative told GameSpot.

Big Huge Games was founded in 2000 by a quartet of PC strategy-game developers whose credits included Alpha Centauri, Civilization, Civilization II, and Gettysburg. The developer is best known for its work on Rise of Nations and the fantasy follow-up Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends. More recently, the studio was responsible for the Xbox Live Arcade game Catan, and has been developing an untitled role-playing game with Ken Rolston, lead designer on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. THQ acquired the company in January 2008.

Although Big Huge Games was acquired by THQ after it had a proven track record, Heavy Iron and Incinerator were the publisher's own creations. THQ founded Heavy Iron in 1999 and set the company to work creating games based on its licensed properties. The studio has created games based on SpongeBob SquarePants, Scooby-Doo, and numerous Pixar films, including The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Wall-E. Established in 2006, Incinerator produced the Wii version of Cars.

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Discussion

114 comments
ViccyQ
ViccyQ

Godamit BHG!

 

All of you. Put your money together!

 

Buy a small-medium empty Studio!

 

Get to work on -->

 

Rise of Nations 2

Rise of Nations Ascension

Rise of Nations Reign of Kingdoms

 

I DON'T KNOW but name it something!

 

Reestablish your selves!

 

sell a couple million copies

 

THEN. Make BANK $$$$

 

 

After the 38 Studios dust settled, It is clear you guys need your own feet so to speak and I personally think you guys can pull it off.

 

There is just no other RTS's I care for playing other than Sins and SupCom

 

With godspeed BHG

september_basic
september_basic

Big Huge Games is not worth the millions of dollars they require. To be honest, Big Huge Games is strongly derivative and their best work is just a minor addition to RTS style games, drawing from game-play already existing in boardgames and other computer games. We owe nothing to THQ though. They're even more derivative than Big Huge Games. It would make more sense for BHG to split from THQ. I think THQ firing BHG is probably like the guy in the study group who gets a D trying to kick out the guy who gets a C. Even though it's not really graded on a curve. In essence, we are watching the mediocre big publishers panic and get rid of people who are only slightly less mediocre.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Big Huge Hames in "Sizeable Peril". Huh. Don't they mean "Big Huge Games in -BIG HUGE- Peril?" That's what I would've have written as the title to this article if I was in charge. But then again, I have absolutely no taste or imagination. In any case, I sure hope someone buys them out or THQ changes its mind. I really like Big Huge Games's games, and I'm really interested in seeing what kind of RPG they could make with the lead designer of Oblivion.

zyxomma100
zyxomma100

This is sad. Rise of Nations is a great RTS, and I don't believe there's been a better one created since its launch. As for Heavy Iron, I wish them the best of luck. I played Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom for some reason and it was a surprisingly fun platformer.

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

I agree with stanleyCG1_2. And it happened with a company I worked for too, many times - bought a fine-doing company and either took apart its activity or stopped it after some kind of financial analysis. This really, really is one of the bad sides of our capitalistic economy.

zgreenwell
zgreenwell

THQ could have had them release the Catan expansions everyone was expecting, but never got.

stanleyCG1_2
stanleyCG1_2

So basically they were doing fine untill THQ got involved. lol

Crazy_Guns
Crazy_Guns

Rise of Nations is one of the best RTS games I've ever played! Was so much fun lining up archers or musketeers and having huge battles that way. I wish only the best for them in the future.

strayfies
strayfies

I hadn't heard of their work since Rise of Legends, that's probably also indicative of what they should not be doing. That and RoN were great, I wish they'd get behind more solid original titles like those. Might be what saves them, by the sound of it.

Roken1
Roken1

This was going to happen sooner or later. Everyone knows that THQ bought out Big Huge Games because it wanted less competitors in the RTS genre. Now the economy is giving THQ the perfect excuse to shut BHG down completely.

AcolyteV1
AcolyteV1

I agree with Avenger1324 completely; they bought the company one year ago, only to drop it in the name of the economic meltdown (and the huge amount of bandwagon corporate politics that's coming with it). Really disappointing and annoying. You'd really hope the company would have a little more foresight.

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

Heavy Iron and Incinerator make those crappy movie-based games that are never above mediocre, at best. BHG' list is impressive, and includes some great strategy titles. Publishers either don't realize the massive interest there is in great strategy titles, or consumers need to stop purchasing crap games and get exposed to quality ones more. I mean not all the games listed under BHG were great, but most were. Rise of nations? Employees who worked on Alpha Centauri and Civ 2? Yes please.

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

Hmm.... I agree that the title of the news thread could have been a bit more tasteful, though you read far worse in tabloids every single day... that doesn't mean others have to join in though, I suppose. It's always sad to hear about those being made redundant as I've been through it... lets hope that if the worst happens, it turns out to be a positive change and those individuals can move on to even better things

baystatethrashr
baystatethrashr

rise of nations is a great game that needs a sequal badly

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

I agree with lilmp, a bunch folks losing their jobs in this effed up economy is no very funny. Hopefully they gte picked up so those guys don't add to teh already soaring unemployment rate. James

Blue78
Blue78

@lilmp89 It's a play on words and it's true. Are you saying they aren't in sizable peril? If you're going to find something to whine about, find something that actually matters.

lilmp89
lilmp89

Humerous article titles are not amusing concerning quite serious issues... Best of luck to BHG

Mandalore_15
Mandalore_15

Can't say I'm gonna shed any tears over Heavy Iron and Incinerator. You'd think that with cool names like that they wouldn't be spewing out the kind of crap listed in this article.

halomonkey1_3_5
halomonkey1_3_5

this sucks...i wish they would just let them make another RTS...

FlakeyCrust
FlakeyCrust

I just hope Red Faction: Guerrilla is killer.

Gamesterpheonix
Gamesterpheonix

Is it just me or are all the RTS developers getting the Axe? Thank god for Blizzard. At least they will give us good games. Poor everybody else.

fourthgeartappe
fourthgeartappe

You know what's even better than Big Huge Games? Big Huge Boobs.

ENVYHYSTERIA
ENVYHYSTERIA

big huge games's Rise of Nations was a great game. Rise of Legends was epic fail.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

sucks :( rise of nations was quite fun.

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

i love big huge games there strategy titles were always good-great, i hope they don't close!

DPhunkT
DPhunkT

Too bad. Hopefully they'll find a buyer!

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

THQ bought them in Jan 2008, and now barely a year later want to close them down :( You'd have hoped a developer the size of THQ would have had the foresight to put them on a longer term project

CamiKitten
CamiKitten

Wow, another is gonna bite the dust. This is a saddening time. Someone buy this!

expandingeye
expandingeye

damn i was just about to buy rise of nations, i guess i shoulda bought it to help a bit..

tony2077ca
tony2077ca

i hope someone comes along and buys them to keep them going

method115
method115

@adamn_the_nerd It's easy to tell companies what to do from your computer desk. When your actually running the company and know everything that's going on things are much different.

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

It is really a good news-2009-03-19 00.38.01.296000

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

habaro
habaro

i miss strategy games

TexasAnMGrad2K
TexasAnMGrad2K

Hurry up and release a sequel to Rise of Nations! No more of that Legends crap.

arijit_2404
arijit_2404

Huh! One of the bad news of this month. :( Relic is definitely doing wrong here. They should keep Big Huge and sell or close the other two companies.

That-B-Guy
That-B-Guy

Um... to the guy talking about giving them credit for not asking for public help like other businesses that argument holds no water. Can you imagine what the scene would be like if a video game company shows up to the steps of Congress demanding a bailout? I highly doubt the entire economic infrastructure of the United States rests solely on the success of Big Huge Games... That's where those companies who received bailouts and Big Huge differ. On a side note, I absolutely loved Rise of Nations. Also, I hope they at least keep the rights to the game and retain the main minds behind it being so great.

Waza19
Waza19

there keeping heavy iron because movie video games probably brings a lot of money to gaming cie.

shakensparco
shakensparco

"So many companies getting thrown out. People need to learn that this will only further the economic downturn. If they tough out, you'll win in the long run "-Adam_the_Nerd Its not that easy. People can't just be throwing money around in the hopes that they can make it through this downturn. Were going to be stuck in this economy for another year at the minimum. Chances are that it will take over 5 years for things to get back to where they were. THQ doesn't have the money to spare. If they are going to survive, then they need to cut their losses.

programexpert
programexpert

Wait... Sell or dismantle BHG, but keep Heavy Iron and Incinerator alive? FFS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

So many companies getting thrown out. People need to learn that this will only further the economic downturn. If they tough out, you'll win in the long run