Rise of Nations developer Big Huge Games is on the block and struggling publisher THQ says if it can't sell the studio it will be forced to close it down.
Crispy Gamer reported yesterday on rumors that Big Huge Games had been issued a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice) Act notice, meaning that at least 50 of its employees would be laid off within the next two months. THQ, which purchased the studio in January 2008, did not comment at the time but now says things are actually worse than that: If it can't sell the studio "in the near future" it will be shut down completely.
"As part of THQ's previously announced business realignment and related headcount reduction plans that targeted cost reductions of $220 million, including a reduction in workforce of 600 people worldwide, THQ today notified the staff at two of its development studios that they will be spun out as independent companies: Heavy Iron in Los Angeles, CA, and Incinerator in Carlsbad, CA," Julie MacMedan, THQ's vice president of investor relations and corporate communications, said in a statement. "In addition, THQ informed the staff at its Big Huge Games studio in Timonium, MD, that it plans to close the studio if a sale is not completed in the near future. These actions were unfortunate but were necessitated by the difficult economic environment."
Heavy Iron and Incinerator have both worked almost exclusively on movie-based videogames for THQ and are most likely victims of the expiring deal between THQ and Disney-Pixar, so their future as independents is questionable at best. The fate of current Big Huge Games projects, meanwhile, particularly an unnamed RPG designed by Morrowind and Oblivion Lead Designer Ken Rolston that was slated for release in 2009, is unknown.
Source: Crispy Gamer