THQ President: Bad, Late, and Inferior Titles Killed the Company

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THQ President: Bad, Late, and Inferior Titles Killed the Company

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Former THQ top dog Jason Rubin weighs in on why he and so many others are now out of a job.

There countless differing opinions out there as to why THQ ultimately met its demise. Many point to a changing gaming landscape which the company simply couldn't adapt to, but THQ President Jason Rubin sees things a bit differently. In an interview with MCV, the former boss explains that several "massive mistakes" were ultimately what doomed THQ.

"To be sure, all triple-A publishers have been under pressure, but THQ had every chance to survive had it not made massive mistakes," Rubin admits. "Unfortunately, the mistakes that were made long before I joined, like the incredible losses attached to uDraw, massive wasted capital in the unpublished MMO that was cancelled, sticking with children's and casual titles far after mobile and tablets had killed the business, bad, late, or otherwise inferior titles like Homefront, and a generally haphazard and inefficient approach to deal making, left the company with too much negative hanging on its books."

Rubin's frank assessment of THQ's stumbles is somewhat refreshing, and he certainly doesn't beat around the bush. Having joined the company in early 2012, much the damage to THQ's stability seems to have been done before he took the job. But regardless of who should shoulder the majority of the blame, THQ's closure and subsequent piecemeal sell-off will make the next few years very interesting for the various franchises that once called the company "home."

Source: MCV

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MikeWehner:
massive wasted capital in the unpublished MMO that was cancelled

Man I totally forgot about that. I didn't even think about how much THQ had flushed down the drain with that at the time.

What a shame. Sounds like so many bad decisions and mistakes were going on behind the scenes. His comment about publishers being under pressure makes me think what hard times may lie ahead for other publishers.

Seems like a pretty accurate assessment. I think it's safe to say that near the beginning of last year, there was very little THQ could have done to stop their closure.

MMO? you mean the 40K one? I had almost forgotten about that. But it was awesome looking... yeesh, yea, I can see why the company took a nose dive with the UDraw, homefront, and the unfinished MMO. I'm just sad that the entire team of Darksiders has been booted, givin to Plantinum, so it's future is unknown at best. And utterly dead at worst.

Oh yeah THQ did make Homefront didn't they?
But honestly, who didn't look at Saints Row 2 and think: "You know what this game needs? Shittier character customization and fucking predator drone strikes. And dick jokes! Way more dick jokes!"

DVS BSTrD:
Oh yeah THQ did make Homefront didn't they?
But honestly, who didn't look at Saints Row 2 and think: "You know what this game needs? Shittier character customization and fucking predator drone strikes. And dick jokes! Way more dick jokes!"

They also at some point htought "No what this game needs? A much less enjoyable soundtrack!". I love the audio in SR2, I'm not one for rap or anything but even the raps they used were the kind of stoopid goofy raps that fitted the game so I didn't mind. There's literally not a single song I can stand in SR3. It was more polished, but less fun.

Honestly I can barely name a THQ game I played this generation and would recommend to people outside of SR2 and 3, maybe at a stretch I'd tell people to check out Darksiders, which I find pretty boring. Darksiders 2 I just can't be arsed to play on PC, got it on impulse dirt cheap...

If Red Faction Armageddon didn't undo all of the good that RF Geurilla did, and if Saint's Row the Third didn't have significantly less to do than its predecessor, maybe THQ would have lasted long enough to actually put out and make money off of all of those upcoming titles that people wanted. Making SR3 into another game that had DLC worth more than the game's original titles was a huge mistake IMO.

Wait, he's accepting that THQ MIGHT have had something to do with it's own demise?
Very refreshing. I was preparing to feel really bad for "not getting" their games, not reading the good reviews, and buying a used game.
THQ always seemed like a much more honest company. It's a shame they were a touch incompetent too, I liked a number of games they published.

I think SR3s only real downfalls were lowered customization<when the previous game is lauded for the amazing number of outfits and other visual changes you can make to have the PC you want, you don't go backwards from that> and that it was VERY short, I stopped playing it at about the same time length I stopped playing the second one, but I had also unlocked and completed every single event and challenge in the game while there are many I just will never get to in SR2.

To be completely honest, I liked 3 more than 2, yes it was sillier but the over all story was more engaging and better written, and with the exception of the "movie" bonus ending<god was that stupid...> it had a more coherent and interesting set of endings. Plus they fixed the AI so gangsters weren't driving at me shooting their own cars so that they would hit me and explode over and over again. Yes its a genius tactic.... but suicide bombers it's not really a mind set of gang members. I just wish that the separate gangs were actually separate gangs.... the over all warfare was better in 2 only because I could decide to just completely hate on one gang or spread the love.

Unfortunately there was nothing he could of done to save the company by the time he joined and its nice to see some one come out of something with honest feedback on the problems and keeping the "throwing people under the bus" to the minimal.

Its too bad, with this ending now bethsda and ubisoft<when they aren't smoking the ashes of hitler> are the only competent publishers left<that I can think of at the moment> that aren't completely devoid of souls and morals. When its only EA and Activision left..... well then it will be time to take up reading as my foremost hobby.

Braedan:
Wait, he's accepting that THQ MIGHT have had something to do with it's own demise?
Very refreshing. I was preparing to feel really bad for "not getting" their games, not reading the good reviews, and buying a used game.
THQ always seemed like a much more honest company. It's a shame they were a touch incompetent too, I liked a number of games they published.

Yeah, but at the same time he had no real stock in it. He's not owning his own mistakes at all. He's saying everything was buggered up before he got there.

I'm still extremely curious (and nervous) about Sega taking the helm of Relic, if they let them finish Company of Heroes 2 and Dawn of War 3, all will be fine.

AzrealMaximillion:
If Red Faction Armageddon didn't undo all of the good that RF Geurilla did, and if Saint's Row the Third didn't have significantly less to do than its predecessor, maybe THQ would have lasted long enough to actually put out and make money off of all of those upcoming titles that people wanted. Making SR3 into another game that had DLC worth more than the game's original titles was a huge mistake IMO.

I don't mean to pick on you, but this is a statement that a lot of people used to deride SR3 in a manner that I think is unfair.

It is the sign of the times, not the THQ development team that made Saint's Row the Third so 'short on content'. Every game nowadays is just a teaser for the one or two.. or more likely 4 dlcs coming down the line.

Would I have loved the level of DLC that GTAIV got? Assuredly. But if I'm having fun and laughing at how ridiculous this all is, I would willingly buy dlcs when they come up. But truth be told, I'm one of those polarized masses who loved the goofiness of SR3, and while I did love SR2, I was uncomfortable with the organized crime part of the second. So admittedly, I might be biased.

Well, at least he isn't blaming piracy like some other cavalcade of assclowns.

Frostbite3789:

Braedan:
Wait, he's accepting that THQ MIGHT have had something to do with it's own demise?
Very refreshing. I was preparing to feel really bad for "not getting" their games, not reading the good reviews, and buying a used game.
THQ always seemed like a much more honest company. It's a shame they were a touch incompetent too, I liked a number of games they published.

Yeah, but at the same time he had no real stock in it. He's not owning his own mistakes at all. He's saying everything was buggered up before he got there.

Heh, yeah true, but he did work there for some time in a high ranking position. While he may not have a lot invested, it is still refreshing hearing even a little bit of honesty from video game Suits.

Much better than EA's "everyone's fault except our own!"

Still, kinda sad... and I'd probably have checked out that (40k?) mmo, though it is just another example of too many developers/publishers trying to hop onto the mmo train. Though a 40k rpg would have been great, too... probably would have been fine without the mmo part, just like TOR would have been better as KotoR 3...

DVS BSTrD:
Oh yeah THQ did make Homefront didn't they?
But honestly, who didn't look at Saints Row 2 and think: "You know what this game needs? Shittier character customization and fucking predator drone strikes. And dick jokes! Way more dick jokes!"

More dick jokes than Bulletstorm?

Also what is this Udraw disaster I keep hearing about as well as this un-finished MMO?

I think they certainly did a good job on every game with "Warhammer" and "40K" in the title. I've played Dawn of War more than I've played StarCraft 2, and the recent Space Marine was surprisingly awesome.

Braedan:

Heh, yeah true, but he did work there for some time in a high ranking position. While he may not have a lot invested, it is still refreshing hearing even a little bit of honesty from video game Suits.

I dunno, maybe I'm just cynical, but it reads a lot more like someone who needs to find a new job than someone taking responsibility for anything.

DVS BSTrD:
But honestly, who didn't look at Saints Row 2 and think: "You know what this game needs? Shittier character customization and fucking predator drone strikes. And dick jokes! Way more dick jokes!"

*flameshield* Honestly, I played 2 AFTER I played 3, and I prefered 3. It had more humour and personality, the controls were a lot tighter, and the characters are actually pretty freaking good. And that bit near the start of the game, were you and Peirce are in the car, singing that Sublime song? Freaking brilliant. I think that combine the controls of 3, the customisation of 2, and balance out the serious-gang-drama/smack-zombies-with-penetrator ratio, and you'd have a classic.

OT: I like this guy. He's not afraid he admitted to doing stuff badly, and I respect that. Better than EA at least, though you don't have to try hard to do that.

Gearhead mk2:

DVS BSTrD:
But honestly, who didn't look at Saints Row 2 and think: "You know what this game needs? Shittier character customization and fucking predator drone strikes. And dick jokes! Way more dick jokes!"

*flameshield* Honestly, I played 2 AFTER I played 3, and I prefered 3. It had more humour and personality, the controls were a lot tighter, and the characters are actually pretty freaking good. And that bit near the start of the game, were you and Peirce are in the car, singing that Sublime song? Freaking brilliant. I think that combine the controls of 3, the customisation of 2, and balance out the serious-gang-drama/smack-zombies-with-penetrator ratio, and you'd have a classic.

OT: I like this guy. He's not afraid he admitted to doing stuff badly, and I respect that. Better than EA at least, though you don't have to try hard to do that.

When it comes to overall enjoyment I did enjoy Saints Row 2 more, but Saints Row The Third had some great improvements on weapons, driving and PC port. The Saints Row 2 port was very bad...

SupahGamuh:
I'm still extremely curious (and nervous) about Sega taking the helm of Relic, if they let them finish Company of Heroes 2 and Dawn of War 3, all will be fine.

I agree with you here. Unfortunately, I think it was THQ and not Relic that held the license to make the Dawn of War and 40K games. So, I guess we will have to see what happens to Dawn of War 3 and the Games Workshop license in general.

What the hell were you thinking releasing Space Marine two weeks before Gears of War 3? What did you think would happen?

thomasvano:

SupahGamuh:
I'm still extremely curious (and nervous) about Sega taking the helm of Relic, if they let them finish Company of Heroes 2 and Dawn of War 3, all will be fine.

I agree with you here. Unfortunately, I think it was THQ and not Relic that held the license to make the Dawn of War and 40K games. So, I guess we will have to see what happens to Dawn of War 3 and the Games Workshop license in general.

Sega recently acquired the rights to make Warhammer Fantasy Battle games, giving them over to their developer, Creative Assembly (The Total War series).

With Sega picking up Relic, and THQ dead, they could very easily acquire the rights back again and let Relic continue.

kajinking:
Also what is this Udraw disaster I keep hearing about as well as this un-finished MMO?

From my understanding, UDraw, a tablet for the Wii, did really well for that console, letting the kids draw and play Pictionary type games as such. They figured they could replicate the success for the other two consoles and upped the expected % sales based on how much of the market each one owns. And took out a loan to handle the manufacturing of the hardware for this, as it wasn't just the game itself they were releasing.

The problem was the whole "demographic" thing - the Xbox360 and PS3 player base tends to be a bit more hardcore and they didn't take at all to the uDraw tablet (then again, look at the PSMove and Kinect). So it didn't sell at all, meaning they also defaulted on the loan.

Hindsight is such a wonderful thing isn't it? If only they said this publicly earlier...

Whereas if EA went bankrupt they'd be blaming bad review scores, used games and piracy.

Yeah, THQ did a lot of dumb shit. Kinda sad, really, because when they published something good it was damn good.

image

So THAT guy makes up the one pixel at the bottom...

At least he had the balls to admit the company was wrong. Even when he personally wasnt at fault.

EA, on the other hand...

snekadid:
To be completely honest, I liked 3 more than 2, yes it was sillier but the over all story was more engaging and better written, and with the exception of the "movie" bonus ending<god was that stupid...>

Not if the theme of the game is "look how soulless commercialism is." I don't know about anyone else, but I took Saints Row 3 as an extremely sarcastic title, which is where my enjoyment of it came from. It's pretty much the pinnacle of "this is how intellectually bankrupt gamers prefer their entertainment nowadays." They make Johnny Gat, who spent the first game rocket launchering up the town into pieces, the voice of reason in the first five minutes of the game, then immediately kill him, after making a running gag out of faking his death throughout the previous games. I don't know about you, but I find that extremely subversive.

ObsidianJones:

AzrealMaximillion:
If Red Faction Armageddon didn't undo all of the good that RF Geurilla did, and if Saint's Row the Third didn't have significantly less to do than its predecessor, maybe THQ would have lasted long enough to actually put out and make money off of all of those upcoming titles that people wanted. Making SR3 into another game that had DLC worth more than the game's original titles was a huge mistake IMO.

I don't mean to pick on you, but this is a statement that a lot of people used to deride SR3 in a manner that I think is unfair.

It is the sign of the times, not the THQ development team that made Saint's Row the Third so 'short on content'. Every game nowadays is just a teaser for the one or two.. or more likely 4 dlcs coming down the line.

Would I have loved the level of DLC that GTAIV got? Assuredly. But if I'm having fun and laughing at how ridiculous this all is, I would willingly buy dlcs when they come up. But truth be told, I'm one of those polarized masses who loved the goofiness of SR3, and while I did love SR2, I was uncomfortable with the organized crime part of the second. So admittedly, I might be biased.

I don't think it's unfair at all to call out SR3 for its obnoxious DLC. Especially when you consider the fact that the DLC was, for the most part, clothing and vehicles. That's all fine and dandy, but do the actually expand on the game in a significant way? No.

My point is also helped by the fact that Saints Row 2 also had a decent amount of DLC, but was still a much bigger, longer game with much more mini games and other features in it. Most of those being ripped out was ridiculous. The lack of massive places with interiors(Stilwater University, Stilwater Mall) was a major upset. The removal of the territory protections missions and other things like that was another major ding against SR3. The game was not only shorter in its campaign, but it also fail to distract you with things other than the main story for the most part, because there are so few mini missions to complete.

One more reason I don't like SR3's DLC is because all it does overall is give you 3 missions and a bunch of clothing. All that is not worth another $60. I'd have preferred it if they added to SR3's game instead of giving it a massive snip. I also think that the story was not worthy of being an SR sequel. What happened to Dex? He's just gone. The last guy that screwed you over for 2 games straight is gone. And killing Johnny Gat was like killing whatever part of SR that was still true to the series. I'm sorry, while SR3 is a great game, its not a very good SR sequel.

TaboriHK:

snekadid:
To be completely honest, I liked 3 more than 2, yes it was sillier but the over all story was more engaging and better written, and with the exception of the "movie" bonus ending<god was that stupid...>

Not if the theme of the game is "look how soulless commercialism is." I don't know about anyone else, but I took Saints Row 3 as an extremely sarcastic title, which is where my enjoyment of it came from. It's pretty much the pinnacle of "this is how intellectually bankrupt gamers prefer their entertainment nowadays." They make Johnny Gat, who spent the first game rocket launchering up the town into pieces, the voice of reason in the first five minutes of the game, then immediately kill him, after making a running gag out of faking his death throughout the previous games. I don't know about you, but I find that extremely subversive.

Wait a second. I really liked saints row 3. Does that make me an idiot?

Braedan:
Wait, he's accepting that THQ MIGHT have had something to do with it's own demise?
Very refreshing. I was preparing to feel really bad for "not getting" their games, not reading the good reviews, and buying a used game.
THQ always seemed like a much more honest company. It's a shame they were a touch incompetent too, I liked a number of games they published.

I know, right? These people are far more honest and decent than EA. They've actually taken responsibility for their own actions. But why do they have to go down while EA continues to thrive? Why can't we have nice things?

DVS BSTrD:

But honestly, who didn't look at Saints Row 2 and think: "You know what this game needs? Shittier character customization and fucking predator drone strikes. And dick jokes! Way more dick jokes!"

And reduced gameplay! And more dick jokes! And a shorter story! And more dick jokes! And DLC! And more dick jokes!

Lugbzurg:

I know, right? These people are far more honest and decent than EA.

I love how the guys who don't advertise their online passes, even promoting features locked behind one are the more honest ones. I love the fact that the guys who actively attacked used sales are more decent than EA.

Lugbzurg:

Braedan:
Wait, he's accepting that THQ MIGHT have had something to do with it's own demise?
Very refreshing. I was preparing to feel really bad for "not getting" their games, not reading the good reviews, and buying a used game.
THQ always seemed like a much more honest company. It's a shame they were a touch incompetent too, I liked a number of games they published.

I know, right? These people are far more honest and decent than EA. They've actually taken responsibility for their own actions. But why do they have to go down while EA continues to thrive? Why can't we have nice things?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_of_Duty:_Black_Ops_II:
Within 24 hours of going on sale, the game grossed over $500 million, beating 2011's Modern Warfare 3 to become the biggest entertainment launch of all time

This is why we can't have nice things.

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