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Bankrupt games publisher, THQ, is currently in the process of selling off its remaining library of games properties and licenses which include some well known titles such as Darksiders, Homeworld, and Red Faction.

Polygon.com have the complete list of the current THQ games up for auction and almost lost in all the games titles available for the fire sale are two notable franchises that were highly celebrated original games created and developed right here in Australia.

The first is Destroy All Humans!, an open world game developed published by THQ but developed by Pandemic Studios in Brisbane for the Xbox and Playstation 2 way back in 2005. A tiny bit of trivia about Destroy All Humans! is that Matthew Harding is listed in the credits, a person much better known for the Where the hell is Matt viral video which featured his amusing dancing jig performed in various places around the world. It was a dance he initially did at the Brisbane games studio in front of fellow workmates.

Destroy All Humans! spawned a sequel called Destroy All Humans! 2: Make War Not Love in 2006. The other titles in the franchise, Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed and Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon were developed at other THQ studios and are up for sale too.

Destroy All Humans! won the 2005 Australian Games Developer Conference (AGDC) Award for Best Console Game, and also the AGDC Award for Best Game Audio. Destroy All Humans! 2 won the Games Developers' Association of Australia (GDAA) Award for Best Game in 2006, and the 2006 GDAA Award for Best Console Game.

The other Australian-developed franchise in the list is de Blob, developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment, a Melbourne studio acquired by THQ in 2004. de Blob dominated the GDAA Awards in 2008, picking up Best audio, Best Graphics, Best Gameplay, Best Console title, and the GDAA Award for best game of 2008. The sequel, de Blob 2, was released in February, 2011, but sadly, THQ closed down the studio just six months later.

de Blob was an interesting risk for THQ. It was a completely original I.P based on a Dutch student project, developed when publishers were increasingly banking on sequels and games based on known franchises. Following the great reception of de Blob on the Wii, THQ CEO, Brian Farrell, called de Blob "a great brand" and "a great brand to build" on when confirming a follow up sequel for all console platforms. There was mention of bringing de Blob plush toys to market and a television series planned for the SYFY channel.

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As THQ's share price continues its extraordinary plummet over the years, from $33.73 five years ago to now just 66 cents according to Kotaku AU, it has had to take some extreme cost cutting measures to stay afloat. One of those measures includes the closure of the publisher's Australian studios, Blue Tongue Entertainment and THQ Studio Australia, last year.

Mark Serrels from Kotaku AU has gone through THQ's financial statements to find out how much it cost the publisher to close down their Aussie studios. The costs include:

Severance pay: $4.4 million in severance packages and other wage-related issues.
Cancelled titles: $17.5 million related to the "cancellation of two unannounced titles in development" at THQ Studio Australia and Blue Tongue.
Avengers License: Wiped away was the $16 million cost of The Avengers licence for the Avengers game title that THQ Studio Australia were working on.

So that amounts to nearly $40 million dollars for THQ, and it begs the obvious question, would it have made better financial sense for THQ to finish off their Avengers game and recoup some of their production costs instead of axing the whole lot and writing off the expenses as they have chosen to do. From the leaked stills and footage of the game, it looked like it was coming along quite well.

For the full report, head on over to Kotaku AU.

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AIE lecturer and former Blue Tongue animator, Kate Inabinet, will be facing some serious life threatening challenges if restrictions on certain forms of medication goes ahead. Kate is a mother and cancer survivor. After the removal of her thyroid, she was subscribed Levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid replacement hormone. Levothyroxine caused her disastrous symptoms and considerable pain as her body reacted adversely by producing thyroid antibodies...

(Kate) By the eighth week every last available part of my body was killing me. The pain across my chest was restricting my breathing, and it even hurt to go to the toilet. My head was spinning constantly and every time I stood up I got so dizzy I fell over. My vision was blurry and my aching muscles had progressed to constant stabbing pain. I could barely bend my back and I was still throwing up on a regular basis from the migraines. My menstrual cycle went haywire. I could get no relief from any of the pain and I no longer even had the energy to cry. I couldn’t even shower because the pain of the water hitting me was too much. I honestly wanted to die.

I have never believed in suicide as a way out, but during this time I considered it on a daily basis. The only thing holding me back was the thought that my son would have to live with that knowledge for the rest of his life. Still, I took comfort in the fact that I couldn’t be far off from dying anyway.

Doctors and consultants weren't able to help her, apart from subscribing higher doses of Levothyroxine and even anti-depresents. Fortunately, it was the discovery of 'Armour', originally the only subscribed form of thyroid replacement, which returned Kate from clinging on to life to a comfortable and functioning state again.

The bad news is that the Therapeutic Goods Administration has decided not to approve and therefore restrict bio-identical hormones like Armour. The Endocrine Society of Australia (ESA), a national non-profit organisation of scientists and clinicians who conduct research and practice in the field of Endocrinology, have written a statement concerning their position against desiccated thyroid or thyroid extract solutions that help people like Kate. From their statement...

Desiccated thyroid or thyroid extract is not a pure product, not approved by the TGA, not available on the PBS, not produced by a pharmaceutical company, not subject to existing TGA regulations, has limited quality control, and is marketed as a “bioidentical hormone”, while “bioidentical” has been determined by the FDA in the USA as a marketing term.

Desiccated thyroid or thyroid extract is preferred by a minority of patients and doctors who claim better relief of some symptoms, such as fatigue and depression

ESA claims that there is no controlled clinical evidence for the success of treatments like Armour over synthetic solutions and are concerned that these successes are due to placebo or are an effect of overtreatment.

Now, this simply isn't a good reason to ban a life saving treatment that obviously works for a number of people, the result of which would pretty much mean handing them a death sentence.

Kate has created a petition as well as a document decribing her situation, and I urge you all to read her story here and sign her petition against restricting bio-identical hormones like Armour. Kate's been an extraordinary example of someone putting a face and person behind noble causes, in particular for women in games development, all in the sake of awareness and I hope you return the favour in helping push the number of signatures in this petition way past the 1000 mark..

My name is Kate. I am 38 years old. I live in Melbourne with my loving partner, 2 hilarious cats and my glorious little 3 year old boy who is my entire world. I have a family and friends whom I love, and who love me, and I’m not ready to leave any of them. Especially over something that is so easily remedied.

**Please help me raise awareness for my cause by signing my petition and send this message to everyone you know, asking them to do the same.

Thanks to IGDA Melbourne for letting us know of Kate's plight...

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Submitted by souri on Fri, 09/09/11 - 8:43 PM Permalink

It's probably worth adding that Square Enix has only recently announced their plans to boost up their Eidos Montreal studio to 680 employees, making it the third-largest games developer to settle there. Ubisoft has 2,100 in Montreal, and EA has 800. Incredible numbers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/09/11 - 11:15 AM Permalink

I think the closure had a lot more to do with this quote from Gamasutra:
"He said that when THQ bought those studios 10 years ago, the Australian dollar was "about half the U.S. dollar." Now that exchange rates aren't as favorable today, operating those studios was not cost effective, he said."

http://gamasutra.com/view/news/37104/THQ_Fewer_Studios_Is_Better.php

THQ has been bleeding money year after year and the games under development in Aus still had a long way to go before they were complete. They needed to do some surgery to stop the flow.

THQ executive vice-president and chief financial officer, Paul Pucino, has defended his company's decision to axe a number of internal studios this year, including Homefront developer Kaos Studio, THQ Digital Warrington in the UK, Blue Tongue Entertainment in Melbourne, THQ Studio Australia in Brisbane, and THQ Digital Phoenix in Arizona.

Pucino says that "fewer is better" is the best strategy for studio numbers, and that they plan to bring out less, bigger triple-A titles with only one or two original IPs every year. Sequels will be given a two to two and a half year gap between releases.

When explaining the closures of the two Australian studios, Pucino explains how the local studios and the titles they were working on didn't fit in with this new direction. From Edge...

(Pucino) "The two we just shut in Australia were working on games that aren't consistent with our strategy anymore - one on a movie tie-in, one on a kids' game," Pucino said, also pointing to the strength of the Australian dollar as a deciding factor. "Our strategy now is bringing fewer, bigger triple-A titles to market: one or two original IPs each year, and sequelling them every two to two-and-a-half years."

Pucino says that the publisher intends to ramp up their Montreal studio from 150 to 400 employees in the next few years, where games will be developed for 40 percent less compared to their other studios due to Montreal's generous tax credits. For the report, head on over to Edge at next-gen.biz.

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Submitted by Daniel Punch (not verified) on Mon, 22/08/11 - 10:06 AM Permalink

That's way too sad :-(

Hearing of BT's closure felt a little like hearing that my childhood home had been sold. I may have left voluntarily, I may never have gone back, but it was comforting to know that it was still there.

Thanks everyone for making it a great place to work. I hope you all land on your feet. I also hope that the Aus game industry doesn't lose too much of your talent.

Blue Tongue GM Kevin Chan's farewell to Blue Tongue at our final company meeting on 12th August, 2011. Sorry for the poor playing and singing. I hope the message from my heart made its way through the noise.

Goodbye for now, Blue Tongue crew. I'm sure our paths will cross again.

(Thanks, Raf, for the video.)

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 15/08/11 - 2:00 PM Permalink

Mental note: If I ever have a games company of my own don't sell out to a foreign publisher.

Sad day guys all the best in your future endeavours.

Submitted by MarkF (not verified) on Fri, 19/08/11 - 10:18 AM Permalink

What a lot of people are forgetting is that this is the natural cycle of a game development studio. A studio starts up, it's a terrific place to work, it gets bigger, it gets taken over by a foreign publisher who starts milking the IP and "changing" things, the people who were there from the beginning start getting disillusioned and leave, they get replaced by comparatively inexperienced people, the studio productivity starts to drop, the parent company continues to meddle and they milk the IP dry until they've made back their original investment at which point they close the studio down. And then everyone bitches about how horrible the parent company is.

The thing is, if this cycle didn't exist then venture capitalists wouldn't invest in start-ups in the first place and publishers wouldn't be able to secure funding for the development of any studios games. The trick is to get in once a company is reasonably secure, ride out the good times while they last and then exit gracefully when it all goes to shit, with full appreciation for the fact that if it wasn't for this cycle then the good times that make the game industry worth working in wouldn't exist in the first place.

Blue Tongue Entertainment, the Melbourne-based games development studio that celebrated their 15th anniversary only last year, and THQ Studio Australia in Brisbane are finishing up today. The outpouring of sympathy and well wishes for these local developers have been pretty overwhelming. Some of the poignant farewells were written in our comments areas by notable industry personnel..

From Andrew Heath, co-founder of Blue Tongue Entertainment..

To all at Blue Tongue I pass on my very best for your futures. Blue Tongue was an amazing studio, and I have very fond memories of the early years.

The industry has changed much over the past few years, however the new mobile platforms that have emerged have provided may small companies to shine where creativity and technical know how come together as one.

There is a future for the gaming development community in Australia, and we will continue to flourish.

All the very best.

Andrew Heath
Co-Founder Blue Tongue Entertainment.

From one of the original staff at THQ Studio Australia, David MacMinn..

As one of those lads around that kitchen table, it saddens me to hear the news. Working there in the early years was a pleasure and I feel privileged to have worked with so many talented people.

And from Mario Wynards, New Zealand's Sidhe..

Was sorry to hear the news about this. An unfortunate side effect of being a studio owned by a large publically traded company - you can become a line item on a balance sheet where high level strategic decisions have great impact, regardless of the underlying performance and quality of the studio itself.

Also via tweets by Tony Albrecht..

Big props and hugs for the great guys and girls at THQ Oz and Blue Tongue. You guys rock and deserved better. Good luck.

To all the Brisbane THQ people having their final party today - It's been a pleasure working with you all. Wish I was there. Get messy.

Kotaku games journalist, Mark Serrels, has written a heartfelt farewell and thanks to the fine folk at Blue Tongue, and in the process gives us a firm reminder on how great this studio is...

And let’s never forget, Blue Tongue made incredible games. The original De Blob was arguably the best 3rd party release on the Nintendo Wii – a game transformed by Blue Tongue into something unique and tactile. A ponderous purple cow in a sea of murky browns. Its sequel, De Blob 2, was a game that I, personally, fell in love with instantly. You got the impression that De Blob was a game that sprang from a different place, a different time where reward wasn’t coldly drawn from the dull dirge of gamification, instead deliriously delivered through explosions of colour, sound and glorious feedback. De Blob was just fun like that.

Tony Reed from the Games Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) who is currently working on options and support mechanisms for the staff being retrench, has given Gamespot his thoughts on the studio closures...

(Tony Reed) Those studios are filled with exceptionally gifted and experienced game developers. They have proven many times that they can deliver to the highest standards. Unfortunately the closures are a direct result of a strategic shift for the parent company and maintaining the local studios was not a part of the new direction.

The news of the studio closures has sparked additional debate on the current climate of the local games industry. Here are just some of those reports...

ABC News had a report on the THQ studio closures as well as the current state of the industry, with ex-Krome Studios employees providing their thoughts on the dire job situation in games development in Australia...

JOEL CRABBE: Now the biggest company in Australia I think is 50 people, if that, and geez, I'm looking at most of my friends and I'm guessing there's probably an 80 per cent unemployment rate amongst professionals with more than two or three years experiences. Anywhere between 60 and 80; it's horrendous to be quite honest and realistically, the country is losing a lot of talented people to overseas because that's really the only place that they can find employment and continue to do what they've been doing for the last 10 years and trained in.

Screenplay feature by James "DexX" Dominguez also discusses the current state of the industry and looks towards the future with additional comments from Steve Fawkner (founder of Infinite Interactive), Freeplay's Paul Callaghan, and the GDAA's Tony Reed...

(Steve Fawkner) We certainly can come back stronger, but it's going to take a heap of work, a lot of brains, a ton of inspiration, and just a little bit of luck. Still, I'm optimistic.

This is really the first time in the last 20 years that an indie can have a really big success.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:12 AM Permalink

Another one? We won't have any devs left in this country at this rate.

What's the reasoning for this?

Submitted by souri on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:49 AM Permalink

Well, the news about the closure is absolutely everywhere now with the THQ president and CEO releasing a press release on the reasons. I've posted a part of it in the main news item.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:19 AM Permalink

In case you haven't been paying attention, the global economy is foobar.

Submitted by Sean Edwards (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:27 AM Permalink

This is really bad news, I have friends at both studios, this is the last thing they needed. :(

Brisbane's Games Development Industry is nothing like it was 3- 4 years ago. I estimate something around 300+ jobs lost in that time between Auran, Pandemic, Krome and now THQ.

Only Creative Assembly and a handful of Indie guys left...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:30 AM Permalink

Higher aussie dollar is definitely a downfall for publisher-owned local studios.
What once was a cheap source of workers for them is now a money sink.

It really is a pity. I used to work for BT and have many friends still there who I hope can hit the ground running in some way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:31 AM Permalink

90 people at StudioOz, not sure how many at BT, very well looked after for redundancies, but devastating just the same.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:36 AM Permalink

Owwww. Well, there goes the last of the serious game development in Brisbane. What's left, Creative Assembly and Halfbrick? (And I somehow doubt that Creative is long left for the world either...) Australia-wide it's not looking too healthy either.

Submitted by Andrew Goulding (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 10:52 AM Permalink

I had to look at this news twice, I can't believe it! =0(

Well, actually I can, I think the high AUD is a big factor in this decision, it's more expensive to run a studio in Australia now than the US. It bounced below parity yesterday, but now it's back up again. What worries me though is that this exodus of big international studios is going to be hard to build up again if/when the dollar becomes more favorable again.

Yeah it'll create more indie devs, but being an indie dev also means running a business, something that a lot of developers don't want to have to worry about.

And what really boils me up is that every time the AUD goes up, the news always seems to tout that as a win. We're an export country guys, it's NOT a win! We SHOULD be worried.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 11:14 AM Permalink

It seems the media too often portray the high AUD as good because they're idiots and think its some sort of Olympic medal count. For the vast majority of people who don't work in export industries all it means to them is cheap computers, electronics and home entertainment systems. And the government seem to be quite happy to leave the currency where it is because having it damage exporters is keeping a lid on inflation. Punish the minority harshly just so the majority don't have to moan about a minor increase in the costs of their luxury.

Japan had recently moved to devalue their currency against the USD as have a lot of other central banks around the world. But when it comes the RBA they intervene to pump the AUD when it hits 80c just because they don't want to have people rattling their change tins and moaning about how much it's costing to hold 3 investment properties while the money from mining keeps the good times rolling for the average Joe.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 1:40 PM Permalink

Wow, what a ridiculous tangent. So, on the flipside, you would prefer punishing the overwhelming number of consumers to artificially prop up fewer businesses? Businesses that weren't smart enough to have a strategy, say like currency hedging? No, there's a reason the wealth of countries have a floating currency, and there's no reason to be involved in any direct intervention on the currency. Not unless you want to chop off a hand to save a toe.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 2:37 PM Permalink

Of course it didn't take long for someone like you to come on here and kick people when they're down.

Perhaps you can explain how your currency hedging strategy is supposed to have avoid all of this?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/08/11 - 2:26 PM Permalink

Sorry but my comment wasn't about THQ, but the idiotic comments about monetary policy. For anyone who wants to know, currency hedging can help medium/large sized companies get access to preferential currency rates - it's basically insurance against the highly speculative currency market. Call your bank to talk about it.

As for the workers, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Bluetongue and THQ, as they were one of the few Aus dev houses actually producing games with profile. I've been laid off twice, once along with 90 others so can definitely sympathise. You guys are handling it admirably, best of luck for the future.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 12:39 PM Permalink

"Well, actually I can, I think the high AUD is a big factor in this decision, it's more expensive to run a studio in Australia now than the US."

Actually, it's still not more expensive to run a studio in Aus compared to the US, as Australian salaries are generally lower by 20% on average. Nonetheless, the point remains.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 11:08 AM Permalink

the list to the Right is going to get very small now, hopefully the talent doesn't leave to Canada or Europe or join other IT sectors and join the growing indie scene and add experience and talent so one day those indie devs can grow into larger studios to replace them. Lucky Sega Australia (creative assumbly Brisbane) is making the london Olympics game that Sega has said good information about, so they are in business until mid next year.

Submitted by Myndale (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 11:26 AM Permalink

The problem with THQ isn't their inability to make high-quality games, or their lack of vision and willingness to take risks, or the fact that they cripple their dev staff with layer-upon-layer of corporate procedure, or the global economic downturn, or even poor management decisions made by the people at the top. No, the real problem is with their new logo, it doesn't adequately reflect the companies underlying synergetic management structure or the transitional projections behind their concept-driven mission critical contingency policies. Just ask THQ managment, I'm sure they'll agree...

RIP Blue Tongue, I will always remember you as somewhere I once worked.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 11:37 AM Permalink

You could see this coming a while ago: THQ's share price has been in a nasty slide since the beginning of the year ( -70% ), and Aus is the most expensive, least convenient place to have a studio. It's definitely disappointing, but not at all surprising. Actually I'm just surprised it didn't happen a bit sooner.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 11:45 AM Permalink

Yeah, well given that they've averaged a net loss of $150 million a year for the past 4 years, and currently have a market cap of just $136 million, it didn't take much to see they were staring down the barrel of imminent bankruptcy.

Submitted by Andrew McMillen (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 11:50 AM Permalink

This is terrible news. My condolences to all affected by this decision.

I am seeking interviews with StudioOz and Blue Tongue staff. If anyone reading this wishes to speak to a journalist, on or off the record, email me: andrew dot mcmillen at gmail dot com. Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 12:04 PM Permalink

This is really becoming beyond a joke. If this industry is meant to worth so much every year why isn't the government trying to protect at least some of these companies that have proven there worth. It's like they are taking the stance of ok if we let it all go to fubar we don't have to worry about it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 12:18 PM Permalink

Come on now. What societal value do video games really provide? Why should the government think that De Blob so important that the franchise should be preserved at the taxpayers expense?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 12:20 PM Permalink

Because the industry isn't worth much at all, not to the studios themselves; it's the overseas publishers that make all the money. If anything the game industry is seen as a liability by tying up good staff that would be contributing more to our economy by working in other fields.

And unlike the film industry we're not seen as being culturally significant enough to warrent an inexhaustible supply of grant money.

Submitted by Canflipper (not verified) on Wed, 10/08/11 - 6:08 PM Permalink

By that logic, one could also argue that the TV and Film industries are also tying up useful people and are holding the country back, as many of the shows we see on TV and the Vast Majority of Films shown are from overseas. If, all of a sudden, all TV except news and all movies except government approved documentaries were canceled, would you still posses such a cavalier attitude?

Submitted by designerwatts on Wed, 10/08/11 - 12:19 PM Permalink

My sympathies to all the super skilled guys and girls at THQ and Bluetongue. I hope you all find yourselves back on your feet soon enough.

I'm happy to sit down and talk to anyone from BT/THQ looking for advice on going Indy, approaching investors for funding or managing small scale projects as it's something i've been working in for the last few years.

Get in contact with me at chriswatts at playbitent dot com

Cheers,

In a "strategic realignment" to steer development away from "licensed kids titles and movie-based entertainment properties" and push "focus to high-quality owned IP with broad appeal", publisher THQ has decided to close its games development operations in Australia.

The two studios owned by THQ in Australia, THQ Studio Australia (formed in 2003 and based in Brisbane) and Blue Tongue Entertainment (the Melbourne based studio founded in 1995 and acquired by THQ in 2004, most well known for their de Blob series of console games), will be closing down this week. Both studios had 90 staff each for a combined workforce of 180 employees. An internal development team in Pheonix has also been let go, making the total amount of employees redundant at 200.

THQ have slowly been restructuring and refocussing over the years. A 17% workforce reduction in late 2008 left both the local Australian studios unscathed.

The Games Development Association of Australia (GDAA) is currently working on options and support mechanisms for the ex-THQ OZ and Blue Tongue developers, so please follow @gdaa_oz on Twitter for further updates...

Working furiously to develop support mechanisms for all the talent at the local THQ studios. Way too much talent for Oz industry to lose.

Not prepared to let THQ vanish without a fight. Already working on options.

Hiring

Sega Studios Australia (Brisbane)
They will be sending tsumea new job adverts on open positions shortly. Keep your eye out on the front page and the jobs page.

Firemint
Firemint are specifically after programmers and quality assurance testers.

Fmod (Melbourne)
If there's any tool programmers at Bluetongue we're looking for one at Firelight, please send resumes to jobs@fmod.org

The Binary Mill (Gold Coast)
They are hiring programmers, please find the job descriptions in our jobs page.

Halfbrick Studios
Concept Artist positions available.

Please visit our jobs board for the latest jobs, including game programmer openings at Firemint, Twiitch, and The Binary Mill.

The THQ press release in full...

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., August 9, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) – THQ Inc., (NASDAQ: THQI) today announced a strategic realignment of its internal studio development teams to better align resources with the company’s future portfolio of interactive entertainment. THQ is in the process of transitioning its portfolio away from licensed kids titles and movie-based entertainment properties for consoles and has also decided not to actively pursue further development of the MX vs. ATV franchise at this time. As a result, the company announced the closure of two studios in Australia, and the elimination of a development team at the company’s Phoenix location. The company is maintaining its Quality Assurance team in Phoenix.

THQ’s five internal development studios are focused on key initiatives and franchises: THQ Montreal, creating an unannounced new IP with a team led by industry veteran, Patrice Désilets; Volition, Inc., developing the highly anticipated upcoming game Saints Row®: The Third,™ and inSANE™ in collaboration with renowned film director Guillermo del Toro; Relic Entertainment, creators of Company of Heroes and the upcoming Warhammer 40,000®: Space Marine™ for PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system; Vigil Games, developing Darksiders® II and next year’s MMO Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online™; and THQ San Diego, developers of WWE All Stars and creating best-in-class fighting games.

Today’s actions will result in a personnel reduction of approximately 200 people. All affected employees are eligible to apply for open positions within the company globally.

“With this realignment, we are narrowing our focus to high-quality owned IP with broad appeal that can be leveraged across multiple platforms, and to work with the best talent in the industry. By right-sizing our internal development capacities for our console portfolio, our five internal studios are focused on delivering high-quality games with talented teams driving the execution of those titles to market,” said Brian Farrell, President and CEO, THQ. “As we have outlined in our business strategies, we are making shifts to reduce movie-based and licensed kids’ video games in our portfolio, which underscores our strategy to move away from games that will not generate strong profits in the future.”

Farrell added, “We will continue to evaluate our capital and resources to concentrate on fast growing digital business initiatives such as social games, mobile and tablet -based digital entertainment.”

The company has recently outlined its four-pillar digital strategy: 1) create a digital ecosystem around key console title launches such as the scheduled November 15, 2011 release of Saints Row: The Third, which includes plans for a robust DLC schedule, online Season Pass, and in-game store for consumables; 2) create a critical mass of users on social media platforms such as Facebook and mobile platforms, including iOS and Android™, using THQ-owned or branded content, such as the upcoming fall release of Margaritaville® Online, based on Jimmy Buffett’s popular brand; 3) create an ongoing digital revenue stream with the launch of the company’s MMO, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium™ Online; and 4) continue to drive digital end-user sales through existing channels as well as through the upcoming re-launch of THQ.com.

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Submitted by NathanRunge on Fri, 25/03/11 - 10:22 AM Permalink

Intelligent sounding fellow with some good insights.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 25/03/11 - 11:34 AM Permalink

It's been said before. Unless your a complete idiot it really should be obvious that the mobile-app market has been changing. The days of releasing any old crap and making an obscene return based on the resources invested and no matter what the end app's quality. Are long gone ;).

However, I don't like the "tone" that suggests that unless you're one of the established big boys, then don't try. The subtext is suggesting that you should work for them instead, which, I don't necessarily agree with.

There's still room for upstarts and startups.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/03/11 - 11:05 PM Permalink

I very much doubt there is any subtext that you should go work for them. Blue Tongue hasn't shown any interest in hiring lately, if the complete lack of job ads from them on this site is anything to go by.

Nick Haggar, Project Director at Blue Tongue Entertainment, sat down for an interview with Mark Serrels from Kotaku AU on the Australian games industry. In the topic of the growing mobile and small games sector, Nick gave praise to the success of local studios, Halfbrick and Firemint, but expressed concern for the future viability of the rapidly progressing iOS platform. From Kotaku AU...

(Nick) "I think the iOS thing is good at the moment... but you’re even starting to see that transform. Look at games like Infinity Blade. That landscape is shifting, once it becomes cheaper to produce games of that quality all those disposable games – Dave Perry calls them Kleenex games – may not be as successful in the future. I mean how many Angry Birds can there be? Digital handheld content is seen as the place to be for aspiring developers, but I’m not sure how long that will last.

Nick gave comment on the independent game development sector where games like Braid are celebrated, but described that market as "a niche industry within a niche industry". He encourages others to think of the commercial reality and marketing games to a much wider audience. It's why he's a big proponet for commercial games development...

(Nick)“If your goal is to make a game and get it on the app store then, yes, you can get there. But if your goal is to succeed as a developer, to create a studio and a resource base that allows you to capitalise and make more games – and build from that – then, in my mind, the only way is up. You’re trying to build your studio so that you can continue to stay in business with multiple revenue streams."

The lessons learnt from the risk in commercial games development, Nick explains, is how developers are able to step up their abilities and capabilities for the next project. Commercial games development produces experienced developers, and it's an education that Nick believes is being skipped when new developers head straight into making it on their own...

(Nick) "If you look at those guys who are successful in the iOS space, they are seasoned developers. They did not start by creating iOS games – they moved here because they have the experience and they know how to make games.....

I'm not sure if we’re seeing the right fragmentation with seeds breaking off from larger groups and being the genesis for experienced developers."

Read the entire article over at Kotaku AU at the following link...

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