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Atari Entering Bankruptcy, THQ Hits More Bumps in the Road

Not exactly the most fun news to be dealing with in the new year.

THQ's transformation from a licensed-driven company in the last 10 years has not been easy.

It’s rough waters for two notable video game publishers in early 2013. Both THQ and Atari are entering bankruptcy, and it’s unclear how the two companies will emerge on the other side of it.

Atari is the latest development. Over the weekend, it was revealed the US branch of Atari filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy for a very specific purpose: detach itself from its parent company, Atari S.A.

This is part of an effort to transition Atari’s US branch from traditional retail company to full-fledged digital publishing, but the company will do without some of its most celebrated franchises. As part of chapter 11, in the next 90-to-120 days, Atari will sell the rights to Asteroids, Backyard Sports, Battlezone, Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, Tempest, and Test Drive.

There are updates on THQ, as well.

THQ’s big asset auction is due to take place today, but it’s unlikely we will have any real-time updates on what franchises, developers, and other material goes to the highest bidder.

However, one game, South Park: The Stick of Truth, may not be part of that lineup. South Park Studios has filed a complaint alleging the contract between the company and THQ stipulates a new owner cannot be found without the explicit approval of South Park Studios.

There’s more, too. South Park Studios believes it has the right to buy the rights to the game back for the amount of money THQ put into it, which would allow South Park Studios to find a new publisher on its own, rather than participate in the bankruptcy process. It also claims THQ owes South Park Studios money.

THQ said it hoped to resolve differences prior to the auction, but that it doesn’t owe any money, and elements of the deal between THQ and South Park Studios could be auctioned off. It’s unclear which rights THQ is referring to.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
THQ's transformation from a licensed-driven company in the last 10 years has not been easy.

It’s rough waters for two notable video game publishers in early 2013. Both THQ and Atari are entering bankruptcy, and it’s unclear how the two companies will emerge on the other side of it.

Atari is the latest development. Over the weekend, it was revealed the US branch of Atari filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy for a very specific purpose: detach itself from its parent company, Atari S.A.

This is part of an effort to transition Atari’s US branch from traditional retail company to full-fledged digital publishing, but the company will do without some of its most celebrated franchises. As part of chapter 11, in the next 90-to-120 days, Atari will sell the rights to Asteroids, Backyard Sports, Battlezone, Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, Tempest, and Test Drive.

There are updates on THQ, as well.

THQ’s big asset auction is due to take place today, but it’s unlikely we will have any real-time updates on what franchises, developers, and other material goes to the highest bidder.

However, one game, South Park: The Stick of Truth, may not be part of that lineup. South Park Studios has filed a complaint alleging the contract between the company and THQ stipulates a new owner cannot be found without the explicit approval of South Park Studios.

There’s more, too. South Park Studios believes it has the right to buy the rights to the game back for the amount of money THQ put into it, which would allow South Park Studios to find a new publisher on its own, rather than participate in the bankruptcy process. It also claims THQ owes South Park Studios money.

THQ said it hoped to resolve differences prior to the auction, but that it doesn’t owe any money, and elements of the deal between THQ and South Park Studios could be auctioned off. It’s unclear which rights THQ is referring to.

Posted by DrBeardface

Hope South Park comes out.

Posted by Morningstar

@DrBeardface said:

Hope South Park comes out.

And company of heroes 2..

Posted by ripelivejam

@Morningstar said:

@DrBeardface said:

Hope South Park comes out.

And company of heroes 2..

and homefront 2 :w

Posted by IcarusFoundYou

I just want Relic to not go under. I still dream of a new Homeworld game...

Posted by Jack_Lafayette

Men in Suits v. Guys with Ties

Posted by paulwade1984

We need an auction live stream.

Posted by Heartagram

@DrBeardface: Pretty sure they've said several times that south park will be out whether or not THQ makes it because they have already been funded by someone but I could be wrong.

Posted by Phatmac

EA presents: Saints Row 4. :(

Edited by crusader8463

I really couldn't care less about Atari, but I really hope relic ends up in good hands and doesn't get bought up by an EA, Activion, or god forbid Ubisoft. Would hate to see such a great PC dev in the hands of such an anti PC place like Ubisoft. Will also be interested in seeing whose name ends up on the box for the South Park game. Really looking forward to it.

Posted by jakob187

@Morningstar said:

@DrBeardface said:

Hope South Park comes out.

And company of heroes 2..

...and Metro Last Light...

Posted by Sferics

Did Atari still have the license(?) to do 'Wizards of the Coast' stuff?

Posted by Sil3n7

The Atari news is sad from a historical standpoint but someone may find a way to breathe new life into these old properties.

Posted by Ravenlight

@ripelivejam said:

and homefront 2 :w

Go stand in the corner and think about what you've said, mister!

Posted by Pudge

Wouldn't it be dumb if EA bought the Test Drive name and released Need For Speed: Test Drive and it was a Burnout game made by Criteron?

Posted by Akyho

@Heartagram: Funding, publishing, distribution and making are all different things in the eyes of the law. There is a different company and a different legal teams for each step. THQ being about two of those things for SP Stick of Truth.

Posted by Ixaan

@Phatmac said:

EA presents: Saints Row 4. :(

I heard your can change your dude to a lady for only 99 cents.

Posted by Scroll

@IcarusFoundYou said:

I just want Relic to not go under. I still dream of a new Homeworld game...

Considering Homeworld isn't seen to be commercially viable before the recession, the chances of Homeworld 3 being made are pretty damn slim. Regardless I really want another Homeworld as well and would kickstart the shit out of it.

Posted by HT101

I'd say Warner Bros. needs to buy up Volition and Relic with the rest of THQ being split up between the other companies. I'd say that the worst fit for their studios would be Ubisoft and then Activision and then EA. Other than that, I wouldn't mind any other studio getting THQ's assets.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

I can't think of anything that Atari has made in recent years. I just wonder what will happen to the D&D license.

Posted by i8Donuts

Video games are dying!

Posted by posh

hope south park gets canned

Posted by falling_fast

does Atari still have the license to make D&D games? maybe it's time for it to go to someone who will actually do something with it.

Posted by Demoskinos

@DrBeardface said:

Hope South Park comes out.

South park is safe Vevendi already funded the game. Its just a matter of finding a publisher.

Posted by ch3burashka

Bummer on all fronts. Very intrigued by the THQ outcome - too bad us plebeians won't know that for some time.

Posted by RobertOrri

Poor Infogrames, but they've kinda had it coming for a long while now.

Edited by HarlechQuinn

@Sferics said:

Did Atari still have the license(?) to do 'Wizards of the Coast' stuff?

@ArbitraryWater said:

I can't think of anything that Atari has made in recent years. I just wonder what will happen to the D&D license.

Afaik they lost the D&D license in 2011 to Hasbro based on a law suit from 2009...

Edit: Source

Posted by El_Rickhead

@jakob187 said:

@Morningstar said:

@DrBeardface said:

Hope South Park comes out.

And company of heroes 2..

...and Metro Last Light...

and Star Wars Battlefront 3...

Edited by Terranova

While i'm interested in the south park game so i hope it ends up well i'm more looking forward to Metro last light, I sure hope that still gets released and a decent publisher picks it up, i would hate for it to just dissapear or the new publisher wanting to make changes.

Posted by Nictel

So wonder if I have placed a high enough bid for Saints Row.

It's going to be all Quick Time Events and Escort missions from now on! And not the pretty girls kind of escort, no the kind of replay this mission 10 times because the dude you are supposed to protect keeps walking in to your gun kind of escort missions!

Posted by Winsord

I wonder what will happen with Test Drive. Seems most likely that it'll just get left in the dust, seeing as Forza Horizon basically is Test Drive 3. The concern with the other games is someone buys them and starts making really awful new versions, a bit like what happened to Yar's Revenge (though that was still published by Atari).

Posted by paulwade1984

I read about the Atari stuff yesterday...

Posted by Brodehouse

@Sferics said:

Did Atari still have the license(?) to do 'Wizards of the Coast' stuff?

God, I hope not. Hopefully EA or Bethesda or anyone who isn't Activision gets the Wizards license. Maybe D&D games won't be fucking terrible anymore.

@Pudge said:

Wouldn't it be dumb if EA bought the Test Drive name and released Need For Speed: Test Drive and it was a Burnout game made by Criteron?

THIS IS THE BEST KIND OF DUMB.

Also I will put dollars to donuts that no matter what happens with South Park: The Stick of Truth, Obsidian will wind up getting fucked over. I don't know who fucks them over, I just know that Obsidian cannot make a game without getting fucked over.

Posted by shodan2020

Man, this is a bummer.

Posted by Stimpack

@ripelivejam said:

and homefront 2 :w

I demand that this be stricken from the record, your honor.

Posted by Colourful_Hippie

@Nictel said:

So wonder if I have placed a high enough bid for Saints Row.

It's going to be all Quick Time Events and Escort missions from now on! And not the pretty girls kind of escort, no the kind of replay this mission 10 times because the dude you are supposed to protect keeps walking in to your gun kind of escort missions!

I'd buy that for a dollar.

Edited by Murdoc_

wrong thread. :)

Posted by Steadying

This makes me sad ;^;

Posted by CrossTheAtlantic

@Pudge said:

Wouldn't it be dumb if EA bought the Test Drive name and released Need For Speed: Test Drive and it was a Burnout game made by Criteron?

It'd kind of be the perfect encapsulation of this generation.

Posted by PimblyCharles

I hope Obsidian doesn't get too shafted by possible change of publisher. Southpark Studios wouldn't self publish if they thought the game was shit anyways, so if anything this could be good news

Posted by WinterSnowblind

Oh, Obsidian. How fate works against you.

Edited by synthesis_landale
Posted by EpicSteve

I think the whole South Park element sounds totally fair.

Posted by Giantstalker

I'm lighting a candle for Relic Entertainment.

They're one of the finest PC developers out there, and deserve nothing but the best from a new owner.

Also, I have a pre-order down on Company of Heroes 2 and really, really want to see something done with Homeworld.

Posted by eddiephlash

damnit, I really hope greed doesn't ruin what looked to be the first good south park game.

Posted by Draxyle

@WinterSnowblind said:

Oh, Obsidian. How fate works against you.

And this was looking to be one of the rare times a publisher wasn't screwing them over; Murphy's Law had to go into effect.

Luckily this probably won't effect the outcome of the game at all, but this has to be a major headache and a financial sink for all those involved.

Edited by mORTEN81

Yes yes that's all fine and South Park will be great and all that, but man.. The possibility that Atari will go mobile only is scary shit. In that event I hope they'll make a ton of money and put some of them back into bigger games, cause... Look where that got them. Imagine if it was capcom at some point.. EA presents street fighter, complete with capcom on disc dlc model, missing "true ending", origin account required, online pass and servers being shut down every other two years..

Posted by heatDrive88

@CrossTheAtlantic said:

@Pudge said:

Wouldn't it be dumb if EA bought the Test Drive name and released Need For Speed: Test Drive and it was a Burnout game made by Criteron?

It'd kind of be the perfect encapsulation of this generation.

Actually if you asked me, the best move EA can make is to buy the Test Drive name so it can monopolize the market on long-standing (or dying) racing franchise names. Granted, it's not a healthy choice, but if I owned EA, it's what I would do.

And who knows, they could turn the Test Drive name into... oh I don't know... let's say... a cloud gaming service.

Posted by fox01313

Hope this all gets resolved soon for THQ & Atari (or at least just the teams on Test Drive Unlimited) so they can get back to making games.

Posted by Pudge

@heatDrive88 said:

@CrossTheAtlantic said:

@Pudge said:

Wouldn't it be dumb if EA bought the Test Drive name and released Need For Speed: Test Drive and it was a Burnout game made by Criteron?

It'd kind of be the perfect encapsulation of this generation.

Actually if you asked me, the best move EA can make is to buy the Test Drive name so it can monopolize the market on long-standing (or dying) racing franchise names. Granted, it's not a healthy choice, but if I owned EA, it's what I would do.

And who knows, they could turn the Test Drive name into... oh I don't know... let's say... a cloud gaming service.

Coming to EA Origin in 2014!

Try out the latest Hawt EA demos with EA Test Drive!

Hop your save games onto other devices with EA Bullfrog!

Battle your friends in the EA Battlezone!

EA! We sound familiar!

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