It was a few years ago when things weren’t looking so good for THQ and its Intellectual Properties, considering they had filed for bankruptcy and were acquired by Nordic Games. Would Nordic use the popular IPs (Darksiders, Red Faction etc.) to bolster their own repertoire, or would they let them sit on the proverbial shelf to collect dust?
Unfortunately, there is no answer to that question, and THQ Nordic may have muddied the waters further today with their acquisition of two new studios. In two announcements on the THQ Nordic website it was learned that the company had now bought the Finnish studio Bugbear, as well as the Swedish studio Coffee Stain, the minds behind the Goat Simulator franchise. This continues a buying spree that seemed to start last year; Nordic has already acquired Deep Silver (Metro, Saints Row), they snapped up two popular franchises with Timesplitters and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and finally, finished the purchase of Alone in the Dark and Act of War from Atari. This rounds out their number of studios to 12, and their number of popular IPs to draw from almost unheard of for middle-development studios.
In fact, in a recent Q3 financial report, THQ Nordic states that “by the end of the quarter, we had 55 games under development, of which 35 are still in the pipeline waiting to be announced.” While that’s an impressive number to be developing at one time, they never say if any of those games are from existing IPs they have acquired over the last couple of years. Could a Timesplitters be in there? Probably, but we won’t know any time soon. Do they have plans to bring back the survival horror franchise that started it all in Alone in the Dark? Or are any of these original IPs, for which more company acquisitions and a variety of developers could create a breakthrough?
That last one doesn’t seem as likely. In the Coffee Stain studio acquisition report, there is a sentence that reads “Coffee Stain will continue to operate as an independent group under the parent company, a highly complimentary third leg in THQ Nordic.” Whether this freedom is extended to all of their acquisitions remains to be seen, but there should be a lot of well-known IP that hasn’t been seen in a while coming down the pipeline, besides their already announced and upcoming Darksiders III and Metro: Exodus. As for the shopping spree, it may not be over.
Darksiders III will be released on November 27, 2018 for the PS4 and Xbox One.
Metro: Exodus will be released on February 22, 2019 for the PS4 and Xbox One.
Sites cited: THQ Nordic Financial Report