THQ dead in six months, says GTA publisher

[UPDATE] Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says THQ's licensed business is its undoing, stresses importance of quality in games; THQ rep says comments are "irresponsible and false."

THQ will be dead in six months, according to Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two's CEO, Strauss Zelnick. Speaking at the MIT Business in Gaming conference today (as reported by Joystiq), Zelnick said the Saints Row publisher's reliance on licensed properties is doing it in.

THQ is doomed, according to Take-Two.

"THQ's strategy was licensed properties, first and foremost. License stuff from other people, whether it's UFC or WWE or a motion picture property, and make a game around that," Zelnick said. "And our approach, since we took over the company, is 100 percent owned intellectual property."

"[THQ's] strategy didn't work and the execution was bad," he added. "To put it another way: the food was no good and the portions were small. THQ won't be around in six months."

According to Zelnick, a key distinction between THQ and Take-Two is that of quality.

"Take-Two has the highest quality ratings among third-party publishers, according to Metacritic and most people in the industry. Quality really, really, really matters. THQ has had some good game[s], but their quality levels aren't even remotely…the quality hasn't measured up."

[UPDATE] A THQ representative told GameSpot, "Obviously, Mr. Zelnick's perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate. His comments are irresponsible and false. Perhaps he would be better off commenting on his own business."

Last year, THQ noted that it was stepping away from children's titles and movie tie-ins, a move it continued to press earlier this year at the cost of hundreds of jobs.

The company has in recent years pushed a number of original intellectual properties, including Darksiders, de Blob, Juiced, Stuntman, Homefront, Frontlines, Destroy All Humans, Red Faction, and Saints Row.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

166 comments
IgotEpixx
IgotEpixx

"So, The Illusive Man was right..."

cjmilla527
cjmilla527

Saints row is nothing like gta. Its funny nowadays that when someone creates a game that's part of the same genra its a clone.If people didn't borrow parts from other games than we would still be playing pong. Saints row did its own thing and set itself apart from gta with its over the topness that gta never brought to the table.iv had way more fun in saints row games to be honest and while I think that gta games have a better story and realness to them the wackiness of SR is just to much fun and lets be honest having fun is why we play games right?Shay said it best when reviewing sr2 "Both games have a arsenal of weapons and cars to drive but that's where the similarities end" and he was right.

J_Money-MOB
J_Money-MOB

All of their "original" games suck so far, with the exception of Red Faction and Darksiders. Two of them I never even heard of, if that tells you anything. You guys can thumbs down me all you want people but I'm saying it anyway. Saint's Row is a copy of GTA. They made the gameplay a little different, but obviously the GTA series had a strong influence in the game as a whole. I agree with Zelnick, I'd say THQ is nearly finished. Either they'll go bankrupt or they'll end up trying to barely stay alive like Sega. Not to say Sega is like them. I grew up playing Sonic and their titles, because I deemed them worthy, but they made rookie mistakes back then that hurt them in the long run. THQ to me is essentially a nobody, with no flagship titles that they can say they are proud of making. And the management and leadership, or therein lack of, hasn't helped them either. I don't wish any game company to go under, even fiends like EA and Activision, but I don't have much respect or sympathy or THQ. You know you're in trouble though when you don't even have a dollars worth in stock value on the Nasdaq.They put themselves in this hole and keep digging deeper. Eventually that trench is gonna cave-in and THQ will be effectively buried. And that folks, is how you dig your own grave.

MN121MN
MN121MN

@DDSSTT Oh, sorry for my lack of knowledge. I do however, agree with you that closed game publishers is a bit dramatic. I remembered one time when Midway was almost done to completing "This Is Vegas", but the company went bankrupt, got bought and closed. Though This Is Vegas is a potential breakthrough, it got canned because it costs too much money. I wish I could get a hand on a copy of This Is Vegas......

DDSSTT
DDSSTT

@MN121MN, No he means Homeworld 2, it was a PC game made by Relic whos parent company is THQ. As a gamer I have been playing games since the late 90's and THQ has made and produced a lot of "Good Idea" games but they always lacked quaily. For Example "Full Spectrum Warrior" was a game that on paper and on the Box sounded like it would changes gaming forever, but felt unfinished and lacking in detail. Then Gearbox comes along and said 'Hey thats a good idea' and then makes Brothers in Arms, a much better quality game overall. I personally hate see game publishers going out of business because that means there are less and less new style of games. We are left with the same games just with a different color of paint. I completely agree with Elann2008, and THQ to me, dose not create but borrow and destroy in their rush to push out games without a proper QA/QC process.

MN121MN
MN121MN

@Grimkillah Do you mean Homefront? I kind of agree a bit that the games are declining in quality. Let me example SR3 (sorry if it offends you, but this is again my opinion) It's a good game that can entertain people for hours with it humours, but the story and the side quest lacks a lot. SR2 was way better it it's storytelling. (e.g, it is hinted when the trailers was released that Loren would be the main bad guy, but as we who played the game know, he died during the middle)

AmnesiaHaze
AmnesiaHaze

they just jelly cause saints row 3 was better than gta 4 in every possible way :D :D

Elann2008
Elann2008

I really hated how THQ handled the Dawn of War 40K license. Dawn of War 40k was once an admirable franchise but the level of quality has declined. Dawn of War 2 was a solid installment of the series, but not as great as the original Dawn of War and Winter Assault. You can easily tell that the game looked rush, lacked proper funding, and it looked like Relic was restricted. It's too bad that THQ happens to own Relic. They would have been better off with another publisher. Oh, they also killed the Red Faction franchise. It was actually good before the newer ones Guerilla and Armageddon. The fact that they aren't even flinching when gamers ask about Homeworld 3 is their "undoing." They continue to push out average games, destroy once great franchises, and ignore those that feed their wallets so they could put food on their tables. I guess, at the end of the day, we as consumers have the right to vote with our wallets. We'll see what happens. No offense to anyone.

SheerMadness84
SheerMadness84

Hey Take Two SHUT UP AND RELEASE GTA V YOU HYPOCRITE YOU DELAY EVERYTHING and you talk trash. Just shut up and finish the game....Stop Wasting time like this....

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

Hopefully things are not as bad as they seem and THQ can survive.

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

I have a business plan that can save THQ, make a sequel to HOMEWORLD 2!!!

williebazerka
williebazerka

@tachsniper It worked fine on my pc so how do you know it wasn't the operators fault.With so many different variables on pc like different operating systems and different configurations who's to say it was the game and not the user and/or pc? Yeah epic fail.Try again.

tachsniper
tachsniper

@williebazerka what about the 37,000 who couldn't even get the PC version running and playable? yea epic fail

TheReaper180
TheReaper180

@Kriggy They released a whole string of Dawn of War 2 games.

williebazerka
williebazerka

@tachsniper - a 84 average on metacritic and millions of games sold including a million the first week is a real turd.

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

I suppose Take-Two spies inside of THQ are reporting this information back to Mr.Zelnick?

scarletsnake
scarletsnake

THQ was once the house which published classics like the original Red Faction and The Punisher. Nowadays they only do crappy sequels or mindless GTA-clones. Their brand managment sucks, so do their latest IPs. Take Two owns Rockstar. They own brands like GTA, Max Payne, Red Dead, Manhunt, Bully, Midnight Club... When they call you out on a topic like this you know it's got some truth in it.

345tom
345tom

Out of the given list of original IPs, most hardly made a dent, and those that did, fell flat on their face after the first game. Original Destroy All Humans was brilliant, just enough madness, with creativty and challenge, second was a bit too overboard if I remember. Red Faction they destroyed what was fun about the game, making it too linear. Juiced is not really original, its just an arcade driver. THQs most successful games are arguably at the hands of Relic, with the Warhammer games, and Company of Heroes.

xerxes5678
xerxes5678

Well, that's what happens when you don't put out quality products. Maybe another company will pick up the Saints Row and Red Faction IPs? THQ was pretty successful in killing them off, but I think the franchises could be resurrected with a new team on the job.

tachsniper
tachsniper

if THQ keeps releasing turds like Saints row 3 then yes they will be dead in 6 months.

kriggy
kriggy

I think a new Warhammer rts game would put THQ back on track, but that takes more than six months to make, so for once I hope he is wrong.

de_graph
de_graph

the poop far out weighs the good.

Randal__Graves
Randal__Graves

Mr. Zelnick. I'd mind my own damn business if I were you.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

@jinzo9988 You say "Some of their licensed stuff isn't bad" but it is not good either, So does that make it 'Just right' lol..

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

would not come as a shock to anyone really, THQ did not really make good games, It has what been only the past 6months they have started to really focus on making games worthwhile to play.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Some of their licensed stuff isn't bad. He mentions UFC and WWE specifically but their UFC games have scored high on review sites and WWE... not as rosy but not awful. Neither of these have any real competition in the market. Movie games however, I'll agree that they're a waste of time and energy. None of them ever go on to sell large quantities and most gamers that take themselves seriously don't even consider them to be real games. It's junk like uDraw(the concept itself of releasing devices and games like that, because they did discontinue uDraw), the movie games and their ValuSoft division(which pretty much says "Look at me! I'm crap!" right on the box) that they need to get rid of. The other thing with THQ is that many of their good games fall just under the "awesome" benchmark... they usually sit in 7s and 8s but never really see 9s.

JFERNANDEZ84
JFERNANDEZ84

Well, it's pretty sad but I guess it's true. The only quality game that I saw from THQ was Homefront (but it's bugged as hell) but they closed the studio responsible for it. And then, there's Darksiders that I actually never played but it seems good and I guess it's the last shot for them. Or they conquer respect with quality with the continuation or they close business.

joce667
joce667

THQ have killed saints row for me ! saints row the third was unfinished and ugly yes very fun but short and too many crappy dlc to be bought at ridiculous price .

chinarice
chinarice

Bring us homeworld 3 and all will be solved

MemberUnknown
MemberUnknown

THQ can't do anything but bend over and take hits from Take-Two and any other publisher who wants to join the party. They make respectable games that thrill, but they don't make great games. Only Darksiders II can put some money in their pocket, if that game is a bomb, it's over.

gix47
gix47

agreed,THQ is dead

Sayed101
Sayed101

THQ: "Obviously, Mr. Zelnick's perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate. His comments are irresponsible and false. Perhaps he would be better off commenting on his own business." OUCH......This my good friends is business dissing.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

I'd believe it. THQ puts out buggy crap on a daily basis now a days.

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

What do they want, every third party developer/publisher who is not a powerhouse gone, WTH. Without them there will just be rehash after rehash.

staring_death
staring_death

I always say chew before you spit! As their Rep said: he's comments are dated! That's all I prefer to say.

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

First Sega now THQ, Darksiders 2 is right around the courner and UFC seems to be doing well. Hope they make it.

ujwal199
ujwal199

that can't happen... i wanna play metro first light....!! :(

phillkillv2
phillkillv2

They need someone to help put them back on track.. New IP's are needed nonetheless.

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

I hope not. They gave us Darksiders, an IP I'm extremely fond of.

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

@Sgthombre I was meaning in public but I get what you're trying to say.

dicegamer
dicegamer

this wouldn't happen if thq step away from children and movie tie-ins, face it thq lost there path without these they are not better company so all i have to say 3 companies down for the count unless thq turn it around

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

hope THQ turns around, UFC & WWE are great partners with them! love the miz v cory "feud" in the WWE side.

el_danny_m
el_danny_m

I really liked THQ. They have made some great games (WH40k, CoH, SR series, RF, etc). However, I have noticed they've been going the wrong direction for a while. I loved Red Faction, back in the PS2 it was so awesome. But now, Red Faction isn't that great as it was before. So many buildings to destroy in Red Faction 3, but you couldn't destroy its metal frame? Really? Red Faction (original) had more destructive environments than their 3rd one. The original was made about 10 yrs ago! Not to mention RF: Armageddon. Man THQ I hope you turn your boat around really soon.

edmond_villamor
edmond_villamor

Any company who bets on making a product for a technology that is only 1 year away from becoming obsolete is pretty dumb. Everybody knew the Wii is dying 2 years back because they already have to upgrade to HDMI/High Definition standards. I'd bet the person who suggested this is already out of the job. If they can pull it off to use it for the Wii-U it might turn the company around just to sell those thousands of unsold units. Loved THQ, they should have stuck to making Company of Heroes sequels and Dawn of War (not 2) typish sequels instead of trying for new concepts if they have very little cash to to spread around. If my company is in deep sh!t I'll make things that will most likely sell first before making new stuff that would test the market.

edmond_villamor
edmond_villamor

Well he can about this given that Rockstar is releasing Max Payne 3 alongside Diablo 3. Thems have balls I tell you.

R2BDSi
R2BDSi

Publishers THQ struggling while Activision sits with greed, and glory. What has this world come to!

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

"A THQ representative told GameSpot, "Obviously, Mr. Zelnick's perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate. His comments are irresponsible and false. Perhaps he would be better off commenting on his own business." Ahahhaha, that's all he got to say? What a childish comment, backed up by NOTHING. "Obviously" Zelnick was right and THQ's response only proves it. They were "better off" not responding at all.