Saints Row devs reflect on THQ collapse

uDraw and lack of focus on mobile blamed for THQ's closing.

THQ's collapse was down to "bad choices" made by the publisher according to Saints Row developer Scott Phillips. Speaking to GameSpot about the company's collapse, Phillips blamed not just poor decision making, but also a lack of investment in mobile games.

A lack of investment in mobile contributed to THQ's collapse according to Phillips.

"It was uDraw and bad choices like not getting into mobile," said Phillips. "I don't even think they were thinking about mobile as of the beginning of this year, nor were they planning on iPad games. They were just behind the curve on everything and that ultimately hurt them."

Senior producer Jim Boon placed much of the blame on uDraw, a tablet peripheral for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii that fell over $100 million below the company's sales expectations.

"When you have things like the kids business--which by their own admission they wished they had gotten out of a bit earlier than they did--there's a lot of investment that went into that," said Boon. "Then there's the lynchpin of it all with the uDraw issue. That came out right when Saints Row The Third came out, so here on the one hand is this huge hit for THQ, and everyone's so excited about that, and then here's a $100 million loss as the same time for uDraw."

The collapse of THQ led to Saints Row developer Volition being purchased for $22.3 million by Koch Media. Saints Row IV is now being published under Koch Media's subsidiary brand, Deep Silver. Boon told GameSpot that while the transition between the two publishers wasn't entirely without issue, it hasn't affected the studio's creative direction.

"I don't think we were really worried about [switching publishers] for our jobs, say, because with THQ they had the Clearlake investment that they were going for," said Boon. "We always looked like we had an avenue where we knew we were gonna be safe. The concern for us was who would ultimately be the owner of us and what would that mean? Say if it was a different publisher that grabs us, are they going to want to change the game, or are they going to want to change our culture or processes? Luckily with Deep Silver they've been totally great. It's the same process, the same culture, they've not asked us to make a single change on the game. It's been pretty seamless."

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Mark Walton

Mark is a senior staff writer based out of the UK, the home of heavy metal and superior chocolate.
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109 comments
VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Also... Saints Row IV... looks so SUPER awesome.
Can't wait to run around like the Flash.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

lmao no mobile focus? I might not think mobile games are worth the craptastic lines of code they are made of... but it doesn't take a genius to see that mobile games are booming because we live in a culture of impusle buy brainless sheaple.

Then there's the Udraw... lmao. Let's take a high level artistic tool. Dumb it down, put it on the Wii (and other non age demographic platforms) and watch it sell... like shit.

THQ... why you didn't fall apart sooner is a mystery to me.

PStrife
PStrife

Except they were in the start of mobile gaming, see these THQ Volition guys are really living in a bubble.  Pretend THQ mobile game beginnings (even though they were unsuccessfull in the early 200s, when it started), having a douchebag dev on board feeling used after years of benefits from those same consumers.

Volition guys gotta start knowing their employers business better, if they still think this way they ain't gonna last long under Deep Silver either.

X_Box_Killer
X_Box_Killer

The only reason THQ was able to stay afloat for so long is because they had the WWE license. Too bad every game in that franchise that came after Smackdown 2005 sucked. 

commander1122
commander1122

is 100% nothing to with mobile game......only reason they collapse is make alot of crap console game.....

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

What he says is that if you don't make crap mobile games you can't survive... The world we live in... where you can't survive as a publisher making just GOOD CORE games... really saddening.

adam1808
adam1808

I was reading the name "Boon" for most of this article thinking Ed Boon had somehow ended up at Volition.

NoelXYeul
NoelXYeul

I don't didn't know the Saints Row devs were capable of talking seriously, putting into account the joke/parody that is Saints Row franchise.

wanaskug
wanaskug

Sandbox yeah! I'm checking out one very different style Age of Wushu.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

How about make a Red Faction sequel that is actually better than the original.

A simple solution to money problems is to stop making shit games.

Sakarnen
Sakarnen

We want Summoner 3. Does Volition still own the license?

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

Blaming it all on uDraw is like saying that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the cause of WW1.  It might be the proximate spark, but THQ had a sea of problems leading up to that.  It was partly those other issues that led them to bet the whole farm on this ridiculous peripheral in the first place.  And when it failed they had nothing to fall back on because they had been so incompetently managed for so long prior.

Chushingura
Chushingura

piracy destroyed this company also...

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

The other reason THQ failed was burning money on failed MMO development.

freedomspopular
freedomspopular

I have a hard time believing that mobile is THAT profitable.

nurnberg
nurnberg

I disagree with that guy.  Mobile games would not have saved the company.  Mobile games are struggling right now.  Mobile games are just a bandwagon that everyone jumped in, hoping to make a quick buck.  But the genre is oversatured and filled with low-quality titles.

WCK619
WCK619

So your choice to sell out by releasing a DLC as a full game was entirely your choice and not the publisher's. Good to know you have no integrity.

radikel
radikel

I just pray and hope 'Darksiders' finds a nice place, and people who care about developing it. 

@MJ-X

spot on with everything i appreciate about the series.

Crytek should fuckin die, if they set about making the ex-vigil staff work on another goddamn uber-graphic FPS monstrosity.

aryanbrar
aryanbrar

most heart breaking thing about THQ bankruptcy  was death of darksiders franchise. i still can't believe nobody  bid on it. 

telaros
telaros

"Luckily with Deep Silver they've been totally great. It's the same process, the same culture, they've not asked us to make a single change on the game."

 Worries laid to rest. I'm pretty excited for this game again.

 I really wish they managed to get things at THQ worked out better, it was a great company. Not my favorite, but far from my least. I just hated you had to use that crappy website to register their games though. I was never able to recover my password for it, and now you just have to get all new accounts for PC... Sucks.

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

I FEL SORRY  FOR THEM AND I GLAD THEY GOT GOT OUT OF THE MESS,

TheSkyrimStatue
TheSkyrimStatue

Volition need to take their head out their ass and make a new red faction

Nezard
Nezard

Talking about THQ, what happened to Darksiders? did someone bought the franchise?

Gary_Stanton
Gary_Stanton

The fate of the company depended on Saint's Row the Third. Unfortunately, uDraw's failure was greater than Saints Row's success. 

 Foolish of THQ, trying to market and sell a glorified coloring book to the CoD crowd.

diabolik_023
diabolik_023

i loved THQ.... they were great !!! a piece of me died with them :(

somebody337
somebody337

I blame ruining Red Faction and the Destroy All Humans series.

LazyGamerX
LazyGamerX

Man why would you even waste money on trying to make hardware if your a software company? Thats an expensive and risky move for a company that's main source of income is software. 


The mobile app biz I think wouldn't have been too huge, casual players play these games for a little while then get bored and move on to the next thing, there not going to want to put much if any money down.

jakesnakeel
jakesnakeel

We recently bought a UDraw at BestBuy for 5 dollars.  It was a total waste of 5 dollars.

BillJr106
BillJr106

I just hope they realize that once these already started games are released, there is no longer a need to keep them around since they effectively bought the IP

Shango4
Shango4

EA will soon end up like THQ.

TrueGB
TrueGB

Udraw I believe. Lack of investment into mobile I don't. Throw away the Udraw and it sounds like Saints Row would have saved THQ.

oflow
oflow

didnt they already have an article about this? they are gone what does it matter

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Just because mobile games sell well, doesn't mean that we all love to play on mobiles, because we don't. The core audience of gamers hate mobile gaming, and this is something that a ton of publishers just aren't getting (or don't care about). Just like the Wii U fad, just like the Facebook app fad, casual gamers will get bored and move onto something else. The core gaming scene will always be here, and always interested in full screen, control pad / M&KB experiences.

R2C25
R2C25

Only thing I got out of this is: 

Koch Media... is it owned by those brothers, that I don't like to speak of?

fredwv
fredwv

I'm reflecting on why I wasted my time reading this article.