Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Okay Fine, I'm Sorry THQ

I complain about not having anything news-wise to talk about and THQ goes and files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.  Possibly -only- to make me feel bad.  (Or try to, but the Christmas Fuzzies are still in full-force)  Or you know, possibly as an attempt to get out from the crushing debt the company was under.  That is the more possible reason, but I'm not putting anything past them.  This is, obviously very big news and while I honestly -could- write about other things tonight, it probably wouldn't be in my best interest to do so because this is like, front-and-center material right here.  Strictly from a "I need things to talk about" stand-point, this is a thing that doesn't happen very often and, dire as it is, it is certainly -something- that should be talked of, if only -because- of how dire it is.

Well, perhaps dire is pushing it just a little, but this is as much of a bad thing as it is a good thing for THQ and it's sort of a thing that you have to wait for the dust to settle on before you can really call it.  While it does indeed say Bankruptcy, which probably evokes images of chaos and such as people jump from the sinking ship, it's not quite like that.  Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is just a restructuring phase which companies can, and oftentimes do, work through and come out on the other end as a healthy, profitable business again.  Businesses that you might never expect to have -needed- Chapter 11, even, so it's not necessarily a mark of death or even something to fully worry about.  I know the first instinct is to take the news, look at the games you have with a THQ logo on them, or even games that are so close you can almost taste them and despair, but you might not have to do that.  Honest.

In fact, in a direct message to all of us from Jason Rubin, President of THQ, we are assured that this is the -opposite- of the truth of the matter.  I'll cherry-pick a few quotes here before I sort of explain the contents of the article for those who don't want to read the whole of it.
Today THQ announced that it has secured an investor, a private equity firm named Clearlake Capital Group, who is interested in purchasing most of what you think makes up THQ:  the teams that make the games (Relic, THQ Montreal, Vigil and Volition), THQ’s Intellectual Property (titles, source code, etc.), THQ’s contracts (like the ones with Crytek, South Park Digital Studios, 4A games, Obsidian, and Turtle Rock) and the support staff that are required to help the teams succeed. 

In fact, Clearlake is even providing the company the money it needs to keep working on the products as the process plays itself out. And importantly, when the purchase is complete, Clearlake has committed to invest additional ample capital to let us finish the games we are making and continue making games going forward. [...]
[...]The most important thing to understand is that Chapter 11 does not mean the end of the THQ story or the end of the titles you love.  Quite the opposite is true, actually.

Chapter 11 is a safety net for U.S. companies. American Airlines is currently in Chapter 11 restructuring, yet I flew back and forth on that airline when I visited Volition two weeks ago.  Donald Trump and his companies have been in Chapter 11 four times.  You can add to that list household names such as Macy’s, Eddie Bauer, the Chicago Cubs, Chrysler, Delta Airlines, General Motors, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Marvel Studios, and MGM, among many others.

MGM filed Chapter 11 two years ago, and this year it released “Skyfall” and “The Hobbit,” two of the biggest titles of the year. That’s what I mean when I say new start![...]
[...]Whatever happens, the teams and products look likely to end up together and in good hands.  That means you can still pre-order Metro: Last Light, Company of Heroes 2, and South Park: The Stick of Truth. Our teams are still working on those titles as you read this, and all other rumored titles, like the fourth Saints Row, the Homefront sequel, and a lot more are also still in the works.
From what I can tell here, the basic gist of the whole thing is that THQ filed for Chapter 11 so that somebody could come in and run some money into the company to keep it alive while it puts out product that will, presumably, also bring in profits.  I might be wrong, and in fact I probably am, as there's likely a little more to it than that, but this isn't a deal where some company (or multiple companies even) get to come in and buy this and that so that THQ can throw a little money at the pit of debt it'll face beyond its demise like some sort of Yard Sale.  Clearlake Capital Group, whoever they are, seems poised to 'buy' THQ so that THQ can resume doing what it's been doing.  And when I say what they've been doing, I mean the positive direction they've been moving in in the previous few months.  Kind of.  Pretty much just the positive direction that involves releasing South Park:  The Stick of Truth and confirming that another Saint's Row title is in the works.

There is a very real possibility that THQ is going into this with us all feeling doom and gloomy about it and will come out of it on the other side as a company like we haven't seen them be before.  As Jason Rubin said it, several businesses that are big deals out there have gone through Chapter 11 before and are still around, and in a big way, so this is likely not going to put a dent into anything you're expecting from THQ in the near future.  That alone is a strange thought but, as I said, with South Park:  The Stick of Truth on the horizon, it's a comforting one as well.  THQ does make some good games, which I think we might forget sometimes, and if the situation were any worse of one, it'd be a real blow for the general landscape of gaming as a whole.  We can only really hope that this thing is as positive as we're being led to believe, since if it is, it could really simply save the company and let it keep putting out those good games.  Like possibly Darksiders 3.  Maybe.


  1. As a side note- as a primarily PC gamer (and a 40ker) I never forget that THQ makes good games. :I

  2. Hi, I saw at one time you preordered Little Big Planet Karting. I am assuming you got it from Gamestop right? Can you take a snapshot of the full receipt? I'm looking to see if it says the same thing on yours as it did mine.. and if theres a credit card or whatever on there, you can black it out, it doesn't bother me.