THQ feeling punchy for 2009

Legends of Wrestlemania to debut on Xbox 360 and PS3 to coincide with 25th annual pay-per-view in March; UFC set for launch next spring.


THQ is apparently spoiling for a fight. After missing its revenue and profit targets for its full-year financial results today, the publisher revealed some of its more combative plans to improve the bottom line in the coming year.

First off, THQ is introducing a new WWE series. While the SmackDown! vs. RAW series has performed well as a November release each year (the 2008 edition has sold roughly 6 million copies worldwide so far, according to the publisher), the WWE brand peaks every year in March with the annual Wrestlemania pay-per-view event.

To capitalize on the hype surrounding the biggest event on the sports entertainment calendar, THQ today announced a new Legends of Wrestlemania game set for release in March 2009. Unlike the SmackDown series, THQ is limiting the target platforms for the new WWE game, so far opting only to produce it on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As the name suggests, the game will feature older and retired grapplers from the past quarter century.

That isn't the only fight for which THQ is spoiling, as the publisher also addressed today the Ultimate Fighting Championship game, which has kept an exceptionally low profile since the 2007 E3 Media and Business Summit. That project will now see release in spring of 2009, and like Legends of Wrestlemania, its release will be tied to one of the UFC's major events.

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