The auction has come and gone, and THQ's properties were sold off overnight. As rumoured, SEGA snapped up Warhammer 40K developer Relic; Koch Media and Deep Silver bought Saints Row devs Volition and the rights to the Metro franchise; Crytek have purchased the Homefront IP; Take-Two bought Evolve; and Ubisoft bought THQ Montreal and the rights to South Park: The Stick of Truth.
“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,” came the news via a letter from THQ’s CEO Brian Farrell and president Jason Rubin to employees.
“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. [...] We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible."
Below is a rundown of the studios that changed hands, along with their winning bids, via Kotaku:
Makers of Company of Heroes
Winning bidder: Sega, $26.6 million.
Backup: Zenimax Media, $26.3 million.
Makers of 1666 and Underdog, titles under development.
Winning bidder: Ubisoft, $2.5 million. No runner-up.
(title in development at Turtle Rock Studios)
Winning bidder: Take-Two Interactive, $10.894 million.
Backup: Turtle Rock Studios, $250,000.
Maker of Saints Row
Winning bidder: Koch Media, $22,312,925.
Backup: Ubisoft, $5.4 million.
Released 2011; due for a sequel.
Winning bidder: Crytek. $544,218.
Series; due for the sequel Metro: Last Light.
Winning Bidder: Koch Media, $5,877,551
Backup: Ubisoft: $5.175 million.
License; South Park: The Stick of Truth is due for release March 5.
Winning bidder: Ubisoft, $3,265,306
Unfortunately, however, a deal was not struck for Darksiders developer, Vigil Games.
"Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements," continued Farrell and Rubin's letter. "They will remain part of the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible.
"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."
There may yet be light on the horizon for some of Vigil's staff. Curiously, key staff from Bayonetta and Revengeance dev - Platinum Games - tweeted their interest at possibly snapping up members of the studio, but there's been no formal statement as yet.
"There was a shimmer on a slither of hope, that at one point, there'd be a Darksiders 3," Vigil's lead designer, Haydn Dalton, tweeted. "Four-player co-op: it rode off into the sunset today." However, JP Kellams, a writer and translator at Platinum, responded to Haydn Dalton's post with this statement: "@haydndalton hey man. If anyone is interested in working with/at Platinum let me know how to get a hold of you via DM."
This was followed by a this (translated by Kotaku) from Atsushi Inaba, head of Platinum Games, saying "In THQ studio and IP selling off auction, Darksiders is unsold? [We] wanna buy it...on the cheap..."
Ben Cureton, lead combat designer at Vigil, responded to the news, leaving a rather moving message on NeoGAF.
“I’ve been in this industry for 20 years," he wrote. "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.
“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.”
He finished up by thanking Vigil's fans, saying that their “support means more than you can imagine… you are the reason we made Darksiders 1 and 2… and you are the reason we will continue to make games."
We wish the very best to everyone affected by THQ's sale.