Saints Row publisher THQ has had a tough year, and to turn things around, company CEO Brian Farrell told Gamasutra that the company must perform without error.
"We don't have a lot of room to run, so we've got to execute flawlessly," he said.
Yesterday, THQ announced that its board had approved a 1-for-10 reverse stock split maneuver in an effort to remain listed on NASDAQ. Farrell said this was an important step, but much of the work remains ahead.
"We want to show the shareholders that the heavy lifting is done," he said of the reverse stock split. "The last six months have been an exercise in great pain and suffering. We feel like we're getting there."
"I've been doing this long enough to know that…at the end of the day, the product will drive the stock price. When it will happen, we don't control that. So the focus is on getting great products both in the near term and the long term."
Elsewhere in the interview, Farrell explained that he believes core gamers will be attracted to new AAA properties like Saints Row 4 and the Crytek-developed Homefront sequel. But the executive is not betting the farm on big-budget games alone.
"I think there's a real opportunity in the changing business models we see happening in the marketplace for a smaller and more agile company like us to position ourselves quite differently," he said. "We think there's a real opportunity--particularly in the digital space on the core gamer side [and] especially on emerging platforms like the PC and some of the things we see coming down the road, where there's an opportunity for core games that are not just [made with] the highest budgets, but [offer] alternate pricing and business models There's a place to attract the core gamer there."
Lastly, Farrell admitted responsibility for the recent troubled times at THQ, and said the burden rests on him to revive the firm.
"There is no question who is responsible for where THQ is right now. That's with me," he said. "That said, I feel equally responsible for getting this company out of it. I think the path we're on right now is a good one. I don't expect anyone to believe that until we do it--but my intention is to do it."
Last month, THQ announced that it had canceled the stand-alone Saints Row: The Third expansion Enter the Dominatrix and would instead fold this content into the next installment in the series, slated to arrive in 2013. THQ estimates this will mean taking a $20 million hit in net sales for the current financial year.
Additionally, THQ has shuffled its top management recently. In June, the publisher named Naughty Dog cofounder Jason Rubin president, with vice president of core games Danny Bilson also exiting. Further, THQ vice president, corporate controller, and chief accounting officer Teri Manby resigned on June 14 and will officially leave the company on Friday.
THQ has had a difficult run of late, as the publisher is looking to divest itself of Tomonobu Itagaki's Devil's Third project, citing profitability concerns. Earlier this year, the publisher laid off hundreds as part of a restructuring to exit the children's licensed game market, and then changed its long-awaited massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online to a standard RPG in light of "changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO." That move led to 118 more layoffs.