THQ Shutters Two Australian Studios, Lays Off 200 Employees

  • 50 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Alex (1935 posts) -

THQ has been on something of a "strategic re-alignment" tear lately, first closing down Homefront developer Kaos Studios alongside the publisher's UK studio, Digital Warrington, and then just a short bit ago announcing that the Red Faction series would no longer be pursued, due to less-than-stellar sales.

Alive no more, it seems.

That house-cleaning continued late yesterday, with THQ's announcement that 200 employees would be laid off following the closure of two Australian studios, as well as the elimination of development employees from the company's Phoenix studio. While all of these employees are apparently eligible to apply for other global positions within THQ, no citation was made as to whether they would be given any kind of specifically preferential treatment, or even assisted were they to pursue another job with another team.

All of this comes as a result of the usual culprit, known as "strategic re-alignment" of the publisher's portfolio. In corporate speak, that typically translates to, "This stuff isn't selling, so we're doing something else." In this case, the company plans to move away from "licensed kids titles and movie-based entertainment properties." It also plans to no longer pursue the MX vs. ATV franchise, after the previous entry, MX vs. ATV Alive, failed to produce significant sales.

The move is interesting, given that at the company's most recent press event, titles like Puss In Boots and Barbie Jet, Set and Style were among the titles pushed as part of the publisher's holiday catalog. Perhaps from here on out, these will be the aberration, while titles like Saints Row: The Third, WWE '12 and, god help us, Deepak Chopra's Leela will become the norm.

That said, while it's always lousy to hear about developers losing their jobs, this rings especially lousy given the current state of the game development scene in Australia. Often echoed throughout articles on the situation at Team Bondi were comments from Australian developers who bemoaned the lack of employment options within the country. Now the country has two less places to go--possibly three less, if the Team Bondi sale rumors turn out to be true.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (1935 posts) -

THQ has been on something of a "strategic re-alignment" tear lately, first closing down Homefront developer Kaos Studios alongside the publisher's UK studio, Digital Warrington, and then just a short bit ago announcing that the Red Faction series would no longer be pursued, due to less-than-stellar sales.

Alive no more, it seems.

That house-cleaning continued late yesterday, with THQ's announcement that 200 employees would be laid off following the closure of two Australian studios, as well as the elimination of development employees from the company's Phoenix studio. While all of these employees are apparently eligible to apply for other global positions within THQ, no citation was made as to whether they would be given any kind of specifically preferential treatment, or even assisted were they to pursue another job with another team.

All of this comes as a result of the usual culprit, known as "strategic re-alignment" of the publisher's portfolio. In corporate speak, that typically translates to, "This stuff isn't selling, so we're doing something else." In this case, the company plans to move away from "licensed kids titles and movie-based entertainment properties." It also plans to no longer pursue the MX vs. ATV franchise, after the previous entry, MX vs. ATV Alive, failed to produce significant sales.

The move is interesting, given that at the company's most recent press event, titles like Puss In Boots and Barbie Jet, Set and Style were among the titles pushed as part of the publisher's holiday catalog. Perhaps from here on out, these will be the aberration, while titles like Saints Row: The Third, WWE '12 and, god help us, Deepak Chopra's Leela will become the norm.

That said, while it's always lousy to hear about developers losing their jobs, this rings especially lousy given the current state of the game development scene in Australia. Often echoed throughout articles on the situation at Team Bondi were comments from Australian developers who bemoaned the lack of employment options within the country. Now the country has two less places to go--possibly three less, if the Team Bondi sale rumors turn out to be true.

Staff
#2 Posted by scarace360 (4828 posts) -

Had to happen sooner or later. Hope they find work soon.

#3 Edited by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

Hey Australia, stop making your country so darn expensive to do anything. We love you, but you're too high maintenance.

#4 Posted by RE_Player1 (7545 posts) -

THQ has been in a rough spot for awhile.

#5 Posted by buft (3300 posts) -

that sucks but the MX vs ATV series hasnt really been good for a while and the latest one was a good trial for the lower entry point but just a real shame it was so poor

#6 Posted by Redbullet685 (6020 posts) -

I'm surprised MX vs ATV has made it this far. It hasn't really been good since last gen.

#7 Posted by I_smell (3925 posts) -

THQ and Ubisoft appeared at Casual Connect for the first time this year.

JUST SAYIN

#8 Posted by Nitrocore (369 posts) -

 Hey i'm from Warrington! O thats a bad thing isn't it.

#9 Posted by EuanDewar (4688 posts) -

...Awkward.

Need to call up NekuSakuraba, get an on the scene report of the events as they unfold.

The bastard.

#10 Posted by TheGanjaKing (61 posts) -

Chaotic Evil?

#11 Posted by claudius (185 posts) -

That sucks. My thoughts go out to all those who lost their jobs.

#12 Posted by Lava (660 posts) -

Aw man this sucks. Sorry to hear it. I hope they are all able to find jobs elsewhere.

#13 Posted by Metal_Mills (2980 posts) -

@Buzzkill said:

Hey Australia, stop making your country so darn expensive to do anything. We love you, but you're too high maintenance.

Actually, blame the US for screwing the economy. A lot of films were made here(The matrix, PotC, ect) because it cost less but now the AUD is stronger than the US it's hurting.

#14 Posted by Korolev (1694 posts) -

Argh. First Team Bondi looks like it's going to go under despite the success of L.A Noire, and now this. Now my friends will never find work here.

#15 Posted by Capt_Ventris (588 posts) -

I loved both De Blob games such a shame. And a Melbourne studio as well.

#16 Posted by Atary77 (500 posts) -

I really hope those folks find jobs. Jesus when will the layoff's stop?!

#17 Posted by Zabant (1231 posts) -

Red faction failed because it was a shit game that went in the wrong direction, not because people don't like red faction. Whatever THQ.......you haven't made anything I've liked in quite some time anyway.

#18 Posted by Zippedbinders (983 posts) -

I blame everyone that didn't buy de Blob. Fuck you guys.

#19 Posted by probablytuna (3524 posts) -

My condolences to those developers.

#20 Edited by MrKlorox (11198 posts) -

I wonder what Rainbow Studios is working on now. I hope it's not another Wii game where you play as a spider.

@Zabant said:

Red faction failed because it was a shit game that went in the wrong direction, not because people don't like red faction. Whatever THQ.......you haven't made anything I've liked in quite some time anyway.

Pretty much this. It's not the properties that were uninteresting. It's the execution and giving us game we don't want. Instead of putting out shit after shit on a yearly basis, sit back and actually PLAN your games next time. If you have to survive on tiny downloadable nuggets in the mean time like Double Fine, then fine, and doubly so. But don't put out something nobody asks for and then kill the studios when it doesn't sell.

Kinda worried about what might happen to the Metro series after Last Night comes out.

#21 Posted by killawogg (222 posts) -

that sucks man, i hope saints row the third does good.

#22 Posted by Ronald (1334 posts) -

Well, there goes my hope for a MX vs ATV Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.

#23 Posted by BaconGames (3280 posts) -

I was just gonna say I would be super bummed if I was an Australian game developer right now. There was the game room dev shut down, the Team Bondi stuff, and now this. Shiiiiet.

#24 Posted by zombie2011 (4968 posts) -

I like those games a lot however, i think they release them every year which is definitely overkill.

#25 Posted by SomeJerk (3130 posts) -

Out of curiosity, English is my third language and all..

Why did people start using "shutter", and "shutters" for things like closing game studios? I started to notice it maybe a year ago, it's like how over here we no longer eat cereal out of bowls, it's called deep plates now. Shutters sounds like an attempt at saying shuts (down) that's all wrong to the ears. What's it like in the native English countries?

Online
#26 Posted by Arkanti (255 posts) -

Fuck I was in a job interview for THQ Brisbane less than 6 months ago and I know people who work there, mostly dudes who moved on from Pandemic after they were shut down. Our industry is in awful shape besides HalfBrick...

#27 Posted by FourWude (2261 posts) -

RIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT ON THE STREETS OF AUSTRALIA.... MATE!!!


#28 Posted by RuthLoose (775 posts) -

@SomeJerk said:

Out of curiosity, English is my third language and all..

Why did people start using "shutter", and "shutters" for things like closing game studios? I started to notice it maybe a year ago, it's like how over here we no longer eat cereal out of bowls, it's called deep plates now. Shutters sounds like an attempt at saying shuts (down) that's all wrong to the ears. What's it like in the native English countries?

Shutter means to close down. It is usually a reference to a "shutter door" one might find on a garage or a storage unit. It is typically symbolic of the death of an idea or organization.

#29 Posted by buzz_killington (3532 posts) -

Is Blue Tongue one of the studios closing? If yes, that sucks because the De Blob games kicked ass.

#30 Posted by Donos (1193 posts) -

Doesn't sound like they were making great games, but still best of luck to those folks.

#31 Posted by AuthenticM (3695 posts) -

As long as they don't touch Vigil Games.

#32 Posted by pickassoreborn (520 posts) -

It's Midway all over again :(

Best of luck to those who have been laid off.

#33 Posted by Damian (1538 posts) -

Good luck to those put out. Australia seems like a real bitch to developers nowadays. But all the same it feels kind of necessary for THQ. They can't keep shitting out the kind of stuff they shat on the PS2 and expect to be as relevant as Ubisoft or other second-tier publishers. And they said they were going to make these same moves before this gen even started, but they couldn't keep their hands out of the cookie jar of cut-rate licensed products. 
They need to be focusing on their (few) valuable IPs. And for Christ's sake, give Red Faction another shot. It's never been my thing, but It's not the IP's fault you fucked it up. And hurry up with Darksiders 2! 
... Bitches.

#34 Posted by dvorak (1496 posts) -

I really like Volition. That's basically the only studio at THQ I really enjoy. Saint's Row is such a perfectly absurd franchise. Plus, who could forget Freespace and Freespace II?

#35 Posted by css_switchfoot (118 posts) -

i think they are cleaning up loose ends so they can sell the company. its gotta be rough to be a video game company these days...if you don't push out a title every year its a loss and shareholders get pissed

#36 Posted by Kazona (3058 posts) -

I didn't even know they had studios in Australia. Go figure.

#37 Posted by phonicpod (99 posts) -

@buzz_killington: Yes, Bluetongue was closed. :(

#38 Posted by nazer858 (131 posts) -

Such a bummer, really hope all of those laid off can find work, had a few buddies hit by this.

#39 Posted by AquaGeneral (122 posts) -

More people need work, but the less jobs there are...

#40 Posted by 2Crisis (17 posts) -

This is real unfortunate, I live in Phoenix and have taken classes at ASU taught by a couple of employees from the Phoenix studio. They are good people and I hope they are able to all land on their feet.

#41 Posted by depecheload (493 posts) -

Why did THQ have a mediocre year? Because of shit like the new Red Faction game. So Volition sucks it up and two other studios get shitted. Business is evil.

#42 Posted by tankintheair315 (347 posts) -

This sucks hardcore. I know someone personally working there and its really unfortunate.

Online
#43 Posted by selbie (1835 posts) -

Hopefully the Blue Tongue guys find somewhere to go :(

#44 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7240 posts) -
@EuanDewar

...Awkward.

Need to call up NekuSakuraba, get an on the scene report of the events as they unfold.

The bastard.

Haha, yes sir!
#45 Posted by phonicpod (99 posts) -

@selbie: We're working on it. :)

#46 Posted by selbie (1835 posts) -

@phonicpod said:

@selbie: We're working on it. :)

Cool :) So you were with Blue Tongue? I'm sure with having games like de Blob on your resume, it won't take long to find something :)

#47 Posted by Vexxan (4612 posts) -

All these studios being shut down lately...not liking it no matter which games they were making. Every studio that dies is bad for the industry.

#48 Posted by kagato (886 posts) -

From what ive heard Sega is intersted in hiring the folks left jobless from this closure, so there is some hope for them.

#49 Posted by Australia (126 posts) -

Sigh. Just what the Australian games industry needs...

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.