Giant Bomb News

98 Comments

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.
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+