Rumours have surfaced that publishing giant THQ, the company behind hit properties like UFC Undisputed, Red Faction and the WWE series, could be up for sale, with many future titles being cancelled.
The whispers began with a tweet from industry insider @TheKevinDrent, who said "Apparently, the Game Workshops MMO has been cancelled by THQ." Understandably, this got fans of both THQ and Warhammer 40,000 riled up and looking for more information. Several further tweets from Mr. Drent claimed that most of THQ's planned 2014 titles had also been canned.
So people started thinking: Why would a company like THQ cancel future sequels and planned games for such hot intellectual properties? The usual reason for publishers doing such a thing is money. It could also be a rebranding strategy. Was the publishing giant up for sale?
Fortunately, it wasn't too long before THQ felt the need to respond, releasing a statement that denied many of Drent's claims - though there is still a shake up in the works.
"THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO. 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. As we have previously announced, we have dramatically reduced our commitment to the kids' boxed games sector which leads to a significantly more focused release schedule moving forward. Our slate for calendar 2012 and beyond is focused on high-quality core games and continues to build our digital platform and business. We are excited for our pipeline of original and high-quality content along with our relationships with some of the best talent in the industry."
So it's certainly going in a new direction. As Games Radar points out, the statement is less committed to the Warhammer 40,000 MMO than it is to the 2014 line up of games. The refocus could also be a look to rebrand the company, which would make them more attractive to hardcore focused publishers, or a more casual one looking to expand its focus should a sale still be the aim.
In South Park fashion, we can note that there is no mention of THQ not being sold, so for now the rumour persists.
THQ finished up its statement with how well it had done in other markets. Hell, you got to do something to ward off share price drops right?
"Additionally, we are thrilled with the great performance of Saints Row: The Third, which on a like for like period in North America has tripled in sell-through from Saints Row 2. In addition, WWE '12's worldwide sell-through sales are up almost 40% year-over-year for the same sales period with fewer platforms. According to NPD, for the month of December and the 2011 year, THQ was the #5 publisher overall, #4 third party, with reported sell through growing over 18% in a market that was down almost 6%. And coming up next, we have two great titles for the first half of the year including UFC Undisputed 3 and Darksiders 2."