MX vs. ATV out of gas as THQ lays off 200

THQ Phoenix, THQ Australia, and Bluetongue shut down as publisher steps away from licensed kids' titles and movie tie-ins.

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Last month, THQ revealed that it was putting the Red Faction series back on the shelf and acknowledged that its microtransaction-driven MX vs. ATV Alive experiment had been an unsuccessful one. That was just the first hint of a realignment for the company, as today it announced that not only was the racing franchise joining Red Faction in deep storage, but it also laid off 200 developers by closing two studios in Australia and axing the Phoenix-based team behind MX vs. ATV Alive.

Don't expect to see MX vs. ATV again anytime soon.
Don't expect to see MX vs. ATV again anytime soon.

"THQ is in the process of transitioning its portfolio away from licensed kids titles and movie-based entertainment properties for consoles and has also decided not to actively pursue further development of the MX vs. ATV franchise at this time," the company said in a statement.

THQ Digital Studio Phoenix developed MX vs. ATV Alive, while Brisbane-based THQ Studio Australia worked on licensed titles like Megamind: Ultimate Showdown and Avatar: The Last Airbender - Into the Inferno. Melbourne-based Bluetongue developed the de Blob series for THQ, as well as Marvel Super Hero Squad.

The publisher still has five internal studios remaining: THQ Montreal (working on an unannounced new IP), Volition (Saints Row: The Third, inSANE), Relic Entertainment (Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine), Vigil Games (Darksiders II, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online), and THQ San Diego (WWE All-Stars).

The moves come just weeks after THQ reported disappointing second-quarter results, with a net loss of $38.4 million for the three months. However, executives expressed confidence at the time that the company could return to profitability in the back half of the year. THQ has Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine lined up for the current quarter, with Saints Row: The Third, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 uDraw tablets, WWE 12, and UFC Undisputed 3 set for launch by the end of its fiscal year on March 31.

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