THQ denies cancellation claims
THQ has moved to deny claims that it is in such dire straits that it has cancelled its entire 2014 lineup and put itself up for sale.
A series of tweets from Kevin Dent, head of the IGDA mobile special interest group, over the weekend claimed that THQ had cancelled its 2014 slate and Vigil-developed MMOG Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online, and had returned IP to Disney after paying an advance without seeking a refund.
He also claimed that the publisher was offering itself to Asian investors in a bid to drive up its share price ahead of a sale of the entire company. In a statement from its Australian wing passed to VG247, however, THQ denied the claims.
"THQ has not cancelled its 2014 lineup, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMOG," the company said. "As part of the ongoing review of our business, we have made decisions to ensure that the company is strategically addressing the most attractive markets."
The publisher points to the performance of Saints Row: The Third, which it says outsold its predecessor by three copies to one in the US and led to the company being named the fifth most successful US publisher in 2011, as evidence that it is headed in the right direction.
While THQ insists it has "not made any decisions" on Dark Millennium Online, sources have told gamesindustry.biz that the MMOG, first announced back in 2007, is very much up for sale, and is being offered to other companies.
While the denial is welcome – Dent has since described it as "good news" – recent events make it clear that all is not well at THQ. While it has reason to be confident of its future prospects after it lured Assassin's Creed creator Patrice Désilets from Ubisoft, and with talent such as Tomonobu Itagaki and Hollywood director Guillermo Del Toro currently working on games for the publisher, its financial performance throughout 2011 was dismal.
In November, it announced that losses during the second quarter of the fiscal year had doubled, to $92.4 million; three months earlier it posted a loss of $38.4 million despite a $45 million increase in sales revenue. In November it reduced its third-quarter earnings forecasts by a quarter following poor performance of its uDraw tablet.
During 2011 it closed Homefront developer Kaos Studios, its UK division Digital Warrington, two Australian studios and the Phoenix, Arizona-based team behind failed digital experiment MX Vs ATV.