By YukoAsho 1 Comments
As you may or may not know, E3's in full swing. We've had outstanding announcements and somewhat lacking showings, as is the norm for the show. However, this might be the very first time that that a studio got closed down on Day 0.
Now, while I didn't pay much attention to EA's presser because, well, it's EA, I did catch that they got their hands on the UFC license, one of the few that hadn't become a burden for THQ over the years during their transition from licensed garbage factory to legitimate, viable studio. People were wondering how, exactly, THQ would react. I don't think anyone expected their reaction to be on the same day, but lo and behold....
“THQ confirms that today’s announcement regarding the UFC license transition will affect the company’s San Diego studio,” THQ vice president of communication Angela Emery told GamesBeat. “THQ is working closely with those relevant staff to either find possible employment within the company, or potentially with EA.“
Well, that was fast, to put it lightly. By "effect," of course, THQ means "close." That's right, THQ closed a major studio of theirs at the start of E3, as though they expected it not to be noticed. It almost succeeded, too. Well, almost. Otherwise I wouldn't be typing this out.
Now, studios close and open pretty much all the time now, so I'm not surprised. Also, THQ isn't exactly doing well. They seem to be sprinting on the track laid out by Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick. So yeah, no surprise THQ's closing a studio, especially one that was apparently working on the next UFC game, which obviously will no longer be required.
What does surprise is the timing. E3. The busiest three days in the whole damned gaming industry, and certainly not the best time to announce a studio closure. While most would probably think that THQ simply hoped to sweep this under a mountain of game announcements, the other shoe had to have been expected to drop when Dana White stepped onto the EA stage. THQ came off as reactionary, as though they didn't know that they'd lost the UFC license until the EA presser and immediately fired anyone related to UFC in a bid to stem the bleeding. Considering how contracts tend to work, they have to have at least known that the UFC wasn't coming back at some point before the EA announcement. Whether this is a poor attempt at sneaking it past the media or yet another show of gross incompetence, we may never fully know, but it doesn't look good.
Hopefully they turn things around. Or at the very least, that Volition finds a home that's not EA.