THQ’s assets and games sold off on liquidation auction

Game developer THQ has fallen on hard times, and during a recent asset auction, the company was finally liquidated and its assets auctioned off to the highest bidder. Most of THQ’s development and gaming franchises were scooped up by some of the best studios in the industry, except for Virgil Games (who was responsible for the Darksiders series), which nobody bid on.

A screenshot from Saints Row The Third (image: THQ)

“Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements.

They will remain part of the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible,” wrote CEO Brian Farrell and president Jason Rubin in a letter to THQ’s former employees.

Vigil Games, which is owned by THQ, did not manage to get a bidder, and Darksiders lead designer Haydn Dalton is not very hopeful about the future of the franchise.

“There was a shimmer on a slither of hope, that at one point, there’d be a Darksiders 3. Four-player co-op: it rode off into the sunset today,” he tweeted.

As for the other development studios owned by THQ and their respective gaming franchises, Relic Entertainment (who made Makers of Company of Heroes) was auctioned off to Sega for $26.6-million. Volition, Inc., who recently released Saints Row 3, was snapped up by Koch Media/Deep Silver for $22-million. Koch Media also paid $5.8-million for the Metro series of games.

Ubisoft got their hands on THQ Montreal for $2.5 million, and also secured the publishing rights to the upcoming South Park game Stick of Truth.

Farrell and Rubin further explained in their letter to staff that not everybody will be guaranteed a new position when the acquisitions are approved, and that some might find themselves unemployed.

“If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale [i.e. Vigil], we regret that your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be employed by THQ beyond 25th January to assist with the transition. THQ has sufficient resources to pay these employees for work going forward, and we will be contacting these employees immediately to ensure their continued employment during this transition period. We are requesting the ability to offer certain severance pay to minimise disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next steps in their careers.”

“We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered employment by the new owners. However, we cannot say what these owners may intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new owners intend to extend employment to you. Please note that the terms of your new employment, including pay and benefits, may be different from the current terms of your employment with THQ.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor