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THQ Declares Chapter 11 & Is To Be SoldFollow

#1 Dec 19 2012 at 3:05 PM Rating: Excellent
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From Polygon:
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Struggling video game publisher THQ announced today that the company has entered into a purchase agreement with a bidder to acquire "substantially all of the assets of THQ's operating business, including THQ's four owned studios and games in development."

THQ has also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its U.S. operations in a Delaware court, the company says, to facilitate the sale of the publisher's owned studios and current games in development. The four studios, according to a bankruptcy court filing, include THQ Wireless, THQ Digital Studios Phoenix, Volition Inc and Vigil Games.

The announcement says THQ has entered into an agreement with a "stalking horse bidder" — a bidder chosen by a bankrupt company to avoid lower bids on its assets — an affiliate of Clearlake Capital Group. THQ says it has acquired approximately $37.5 million in financing commitments from lenders Wells Fargo and Clearlake.
[...]
THQ says it does not plan to reduce its number of employees as a result of the bankruptcy filing or sale of its assets.

THQ says its publishing business will continue "without interruption during the sale period" and that development continues at the company's owned studios. The publisher has a number of announced games in development, including South Park: The Stick of Truth at Obsidian Entertainment, Company of Heroes 2 at Relic Entertainment, Metro Last Light at 4A Games, Homefront 2 at Crytek and a new Saints Row game at Volition Inc. Unannounced THQ titles are in the works at THQ Montreal and Turtle Rock Studios.


Worth mentioning that Chapter 11 bankruptcy provides protection while "restructuring", it's not a complete liquidation and dissolution of the assets. THQ will still exist but with a new corporate structure/owners.

Edited, Dec 19th 2012 3:08pm by Jophiel
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#2 Dec 19 2012 at 3:07 PM Rating: Good
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****. Hopefully they still finish the South Park game.
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#3 Dec 19 2012 at 3:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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Supposedly the bidder is an investment firm and not one of the other gaming heavies (EA, Activision, Valve, etc).
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#4 Dec 19 2012 at 3:30 PM Rating: Good
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It's a placeholder bidder so THQ can declare bankruptcy without shutting down production. There is nothing preventing another game company from placing a bid for the company or any of the IP.
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#5 Dec 19 2012 at 3:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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Oh, I knew that the firm would be looking to resell THQ. I was just shutting down initial speculation.
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#6 Dec 19 2012 at 3:54 PM Rating: Good
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THQ says it does not plan to reduce its number of employees as a result of the bankruptcy filing or sale of its assets.


I'm not really familiar with how these things work, but good on them for that, I'd say. Hope everyone keeps their jobs.
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#7 Dec 19 2012 at 5:02 PM Rating: Decent
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Not that I didn't see this coming, but I was hoping they could stay afloat on their own. No matter who ends up buying them there are projects that will get the axe. I thoroughly enjoyed Darksiders II, and would love to see III at some point. That, and Saint's Row is always good alternative to the the let down that was GTAIV.

Edited, Dec 19th 2012 6:03pm by Turin
#8 Dec 19 2012 at 5:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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Saints Row is their banner franchise. I can't imagine it going away. It'd be one of the main reasons someone would buy them.
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#9 Dec 19 2012 at 6:39 PM Rating: Good
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Metro: Last Light better not get scrapped.
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#10 Dec 19 2012 at 6:59 PM Rating: Good
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Joystiq wrote:
THQ's filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy includes a rundown of all of its current projects and lists a few unannounced games from Vigil Games, Turtle Rock, Relic Entertainment and Patrice Desilets, who is at THQ Montreal.

Relic Entertainment is developing a project under a working title of "Atlas," set to launch in 2014, as well as Company of Heroes 2, the filing states.

Turtle Rock Studios, previously involved in Left 4 Dead 2 and Counter-Strike Source, is developing a co-op, multiplayer action game called Evolve. THQ filed a trademark for Evolve in March.

THQ Montreal is working on 1666, another trademark THQ filed in March.

Vigil Games, the team behind the Darksiders series, is working on a game called Crawler. No more information about this project is revealed in the filing and this is the first murmur of its existence.

THQ game director Jason Rubin tweets that all current projects are on track for their scheduled release dates, including Company of Heroes 2, Metro Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth, while Saint's Row and Homefront follow-ups are still a go.
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#11 Dec 19 2012 at 10:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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Oh, we get more Homefront. Thank God.
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#12 Jan 23 2013 at 2:32 PM Rating: Good
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THQ is officially dead, and other third party developers have picked off the juiciest parts of the carcass.

Quote:


To All THQ Employees:

We now have the answers we've been seeking through our financial restructuring and
Chapter 11 case. While much will be written, here are the facts of the bids and auction
that occurred t:

Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business,
along with Clearlake's offer, and numerous offers for separate assets.
During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was
that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority
of the company.
Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must
concur with our assessment.
The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows :
Sega agreed to purchase Relic
Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro
Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront
Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve and
Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park

We expect these sales to close this week.

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.

What this means for employees

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.

If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, we regret that
your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be
employed by THQ beyond January 25 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
minimize disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next
steps in their careers.

We know you will have many questions about this news. We'll be meeting tomorrow
when we return to talk through this announcement and to answer any questions you
have. You will receive a benefits fact sheet and FAQs with answers to some questions
that may be on your mind. Please review these materials closely.

A personal note

The work that you all have done as part of the THQ family is imaginative, creative,
artistic and highly valued by our loyal gamers. We are proud of what we have
accomplished despite today's outcome.

It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company
will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will
continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain
intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be
operating as part of new organizations.

For those THQ employees who are part of entities that are not included in the sale, we
are confident that the talent you have displayed as part of THQ will be recognized as you
take the next steps in your career.

Thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your talent with the THQ team. We
wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Brian Farrell
Chief Executive Officer

Jason Rubin
President
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#13 Jan 23 2013 at 2:35 PM Rating: Good
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Koch made out the best, looks like.
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#14 Jan 23 2013 at 2:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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Koch Media = Deep Silver, the guys behind Dead Island and Risen, for those unfamiliar.

I haven't actually played Dead Island or Risen yet so I don't have an opinion on them owning Saints Row & Metro. Hopefully they treat them well and I agree that those are (in my opinion) the banner IPs I cared most about.

Edit: No mention of Vigil, developers of the Darksiders franchise. Wiki says:
lolwiki wrote:
Although much of THQ's assets were sold in an auction as part of bankruptcy hearings, THQ is still seeking a potential buyer for Vigil through reality TV shows.

...but doesn't actually have a linked citation to look at.

Edited, Jan 23rd 2013 2:59pm by Jophiel
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#15 Jan 23 2013 at 3:12 PM Rating: Good
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All I care about is South Park.
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#16 Jan 23 2013 at 3:44 PM Rating: Decent
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Bah, I was hoping Vigil would go to Ubisoft, they would have done some great things with the Darksiders franchise. It's too bad that silly South Park game is still going to be made. I can't stand that show, and another game based off of it is something I could do without.
#17 Jan 23 2013 at 3:54 PM Rating: Good
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Turin wrote:
Bah, I was hoping Vigil would go to Ubisoft, they would have done some great things with the Darksiders franchise.


"Darksid3rs, now with tower defense!"
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#18 Jan 23 2013 at 3:56 PM Rating: Good
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Eske Esquire wrote:
Turin wrote:
Bah, I was hoping Vigil would go to Ubisoft, they would have done some great things with the Darksiders franchise.


"Darksid3rs, now with tower defense!"



OH **** NO!!! Smiley: banghead
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#19 Jan 23 2013 at 6:48 PM Rating: Good
It's looking like it's either that or no Darksiders period.

Currently, no bids, so no Darksiders is more likely.
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#20 Jan 23 2013 at 7:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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Let's pass a hat and buy Vigil.

I mean us posters though, not Zam. I don't need giant obnoxious popups on my Darksiders.
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#21 Jan 23 2013 at 11:13 PM Rating: Good
The Lead Combat Designer at Vigil wrote a goodbye post on the Neogaf forums:

Quote:
My name is Ben Cureton, and I was the Lead Combat Designer at Vigil Games. I'm sitting at my desk among... what appears to be a warzone. The walls look bare. It's quiet.

The seats are empty.

We've all been on edge for the past couple months... and more so, the last couple weeks. I mean, I'm sure you can imagine what it's like to wonder if you will have a job tomorrow. Most of us here joked about it just to keep the mood light, but we all knew what could happen. Now I look around and I realize... it did happen.

Am I sad? Well yea. I've been in this industry for 20 years. Seriously. Two decades. I've been laid off more than once. It sucks every time. But am I sad I don't have a job? Not really... I'm sure I'll get another one eventually. I'm sad because it won't be THIS job. It won't be at Vigil. That's why I'm sad. The people I waged war with are no longer together. The people that I bled with, vented with, argued with (often times LOUDLY), and kicked back with... these people will never be together again in the same combination.

Not that it was perfect. But what is perfect? Did I like coming to work? Yes. Was I proud of the work that I did? Yes. More importantly, was I proud of the work that WE did? Absolutely. I knew, without a shadow of the doubt, that the project we were working on (Codenamed: Crawler) was going to blow people away. In fact, it DID blow people away. We did, in TWO months, what many companies haven't done in a year. The pride of knowing that no one was doing anything like us was so satisfying, it kept us coming to work and giving 100% every single day, even through the dark times.

... so maybe you can imagine what it feels like when you read the list of who bought what only to discover your name is not on the list. Why? Did we do something wrong? Were we not good enough? Were we not worth 'anything?' Imagine that.

Vigil was filled with people that I would put up against the best in the industry. People that made my work better, people that made me a better designer, and people that made me a better person. And now they are gone.

Their seats are empty.

It's OK, though. I guess this post makes it sound a bit melodramatic. Seriously... if you work in the video game industry you have to be resilient. Doing what you love often comes with a price - anyone who has been around for a while can tell you that. Today, that price has been paid. That being said, I'd still never dissuade anyone from following their dreams if their dream is to make video games. While it's not as romantic as it sounds, it's sure a **** of a lot of fun.

So don't cry for the people at Vigil. We made games for game players. I have no Horror stories from working here... only Honor stories. Through both praise and critiques alike, our goal was always to make a product as if we, ourselves, were the end-user. We may have gotten pushed and pulled in certain directions by forces out of our control, we were always in it to make games for game players. And that's what we did.

I can only hope that those spared from the other companies remain employed long into the future. There is not much worse than false hope, and these people deserve to continue making great games. You may not know their names, but they exist, and they bleed, sweat, and cry for your entertainment. I mean that honestly, with no negativity. They do it... no, WE do it... because we want you to have a good time.

In closing, I can only say thank you to the fans of Vigil games. Your support means more than you can imagine. Your feedback (both positive and negative) gave us long-lasting insight that we will all take with us, wherever we may go. You are the reason we made Darksiders 1 &2... and you are the reason we will continue to make games.

And with that... my seat is empty.


Ben Cureton
Lead Combat Designer
Vigil Games


P.S. This is no place for a horse.


I still think the Darksiders franchise will be picked up by someone. It's still a fairly large name, and I'd really love to see a Darksiders 3. In fact, rumors are going around that Platinum Games (Bayonetta) might be picking it up. We'll see.

Edited, Jan 24th 2013 12:15am by IDrownFish
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#22 Jan 24 2013 at 12:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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Amazon still has its [link=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/************** Bundle for $25[/link] in case you wanted to hoard game keys for the coming end times.
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#23 Jan 24 2013 at 12:54 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Let's pass a hat and buy Vigil.

I mean us posters though, not Zam. I don't need giant obnoxious popups on my Darksiders.
On the plus side, no popups in Darksiders would be a great incentive for Zam premium.
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#24 Jan 24 2013 at 10:22 AM Rating: Good
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Going through that THQ pack I realize im a pretty big THQ fan. I already own (and enjoyed) 14 of the 19 games... /shedtear
#25 Jan 29 2013 at 8:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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Crytek (Crysis, Far Cry 1, working on Homefront 2) has hired most of the Vigil core staff and formed a new development house, Crytek USA Corp, with them. That doesn't include the Darksiders IP but at least the team is (mainly) remaining together and employed. The Darksiders IP will still be sold off with other lesser odds and ends IPs.
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