E3 2012: THQ denies San Diego ‘conspiracy’

New THQ president Jason Rubin has angrily hit back at suggestions that the company chose to close its San Diego studio at a time when the gaming media was distracted by E3 2012.

THQ was reported to have closed its San Diego studio, which was working on a UFC game, on Monday, when Microsoft, Sony, EA and Ubisoft all held their E3 press conferences. Speaking to IGN, Rubin said THQ had little choice, given that it was EA's announcement during their conference that they had secured the rights to the UFC licence which forced THQ San Diego's closure.

"It's a conspiracy theory that we were trying to bury the news in E3," he said. "You can flip that and ask, what was the best time for UFC and EA to announce their new partnership. Obviously, E3. It's simply not the case that we tried to bury it at E3.

"I apologise to everyone who has lost their job. I'm not shying away from the fact that it's a terrible thing to lay people off, but it's essential for THQ to focus on its future. We are doing the things that are necessary to move forward."

Before its closure, THQ San Diego employed some 50 staff. The loss of the UFC rights will come as a blow to the publisher following the warm reception afforded the recent UFC Undisputed 3, though it will be compensated for the early termination of its agreement with UFC, confirming in an investor relations statement on Monday that it had received an undisclosed lump sum.