Podzilla 1985

Friday, December 21, 2012

12-21-12...Only THQ's world might end.

They've really streamlined this process.
As you've probably already read on other sites, one time gaming juggernaut THQ filed for bankruptcy this week. It may not be the complete death of the company, but it is definitely a first step towards the big adios. It's sad news, but even Ray Charles saw this coming.

And he's blind.

And dead.

I'm not one to make light of such a serious situation, especially when people are losing their jobs. Actually, that's a complete lie. I'm the type of asshole that would exactly make light of such a terrible situation, especially compared to more important tragedies that may have occurred lately.

And this does sadden me. I loved THQ games, I still play quite a few of them. I was a huge supporter of the Saints Row series, which I felt were leaps and bounds better than Grand Theft Auto when it came to story and fun factor. I still hop on Dawn of War 1 and 2 occasionally to do the Emperor's will, not to mention crush a few Nazi's in Company of Heroes. I was never a big fan of Darksiders, though I did play the first one thought it was a decent enough game.

I liked the UFC games just fine, and the Smackdown series (later changed to WWE XX) was pretty much the only game in town when it came to professional wrestling. In fact, THQ and the WWE churned out most, if not all, of the best WWE video games dating all the way back to the Nintendo 64 era.

Did I say wrestling up there? I'm sorry, I meant Sports Entertainment. We don't want to mistake whatever the hell it is they do now with what I grew up with.

Sure, EA's MMA was an okay game for your mixed martial arts fans. And as far as wrestling goes, there was the Lucha Libre game that you've never even heard of. Or you could play that one TNA game that came out a few years ago, but that would insinuate you watch TNA wrestling. And if you do that, you've got bigger problems than worrying about THQ's closure you sick freak.

Then there were your Red Faction games, Destroy All Humans, and of course - My Little Pony "Pinkie Pies Party" for the Nintendo DS.

Yes, THQ had a pretty substantial library of games and most were quality. And then there was Pit Fighter for the Super NES, a game so bad it gave Magic Johnson the AIDS virus.

Yep, THQ was one of the longest running companies in a business that has become increasingly cut throat. It enjoyed heaps of success, which makes its fall from grace that much more tragic.

Before we all start pointing fingers at who or what may have caused this one time giant to fall and crush an orphanage below it, allow me to take a crack at the culprit.

Warning: Using uDraw will result in me punching you in the dick.
Yep. Did you expect anything else? When I was still working for Gamestop we couldn't even give this garbage away. It's a piece of hardware so worthless the company actually got sued over how terrible it sold. By some estimates this device alone cost the company over $80M in losses.

I would dare to call this appalling failure the Pluto Nash of the gaming industry. Although, I do see some striking similarities to the Wii U game pad. Maybe THQ will sue Nintendo and keep themselves alive long enough for me to see Saints Row 4.

To be fair, THQ isn't down and out yet. They have taken a major blow, but there is still a chance they can pull through this and rebuild. Some good news from a THQ statement said they wouldn't be eliminating any of their work force, and this turn of events would in no way delay the games they were working on.

Brian Farrell, CEO of the company, said that - "The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQ’s transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios and THQ’s deep bench of talent."

So maybe not all hope is lost. I'm more pessimistic than that though, and this whole situation reminds of me when they closed down my old work place Steve and Barry's and liquidated the shit out of it. I got myself a cool new computer chair out of that, plus the satisfaction of destroying the store with a sledgehammer. I don't think I'll be able to get any cool swag from THQ when they lay face down in the pool, though. And if I did, it would probably be one of the 44 billion uDraw's they never sold.

I actually did buy the uDraw when it was super cheap and gave it to my fiancee as a random gift. She's an artist, and I thought she might get a kick out of it. Believe or not, she didn't. The drawing on it was poorly done, and forget about doing anything else with it. The handful of games for it were at best mediocre and at worst downright embarrassing. That is, unless playing Pictionary the old fashioned way doesn't fit into your douchebag lifestyle.

The biggest problem I've seen with THQ is that it doesn't have that one "must have" game that a lot of other studios do. Their games are great, but Joe Average-Gamer who plays Halo religiously probably isn't as excited about Company of Heroes 2 as I am. Their titles are fun and well known, but I can't think of one that threatens to shut schools down because of its immense popularity. Gamers today have the attention span of a gnat and only adores what they're told to adore. THQ games, though arguably better in some cases (except for Homefront), lack the impact of your Call of Duty or Assassin Creed titles.

I hope THQ survives the dark night to see whatever bright day might lay ahead for them. We've seen so many classic studios close in the past few years that I worry by the time the next generation of consoles happens we'll only have a handful of companies left. And they'll just be churning out sequel after sequel to established games at a rate even more alarming than they are now. You want to know why there is an Assassins Creed game every 6 months and they all play the same? Because they sell, and no one wants to take any risks and end up like Midway.

THQ is heading down the same path, and it's a testament to how cruel this industry is. One mistake, especially one as big as the uDraw system, and you're dead in the water. Once the big studios die out, what will we gamers do? Play indie games!? Do you think you could play an incredibly imaginative and soulful indie game you payed mere dollars for over a 60 dollar rehash?

I'll be hugging my copy of Duke Nukem Forever extra tight tonight.

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