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.
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.