Didn't THQ used to be a crappy publisher?

I used to lump them in with Acclaim as responsible for publishing licensed-shovelware but I only just noticed a bunch of my boxes are all published by THQ:

Company of Heroes
Dawn of War
Supreme Commander
Titan Quest

Plus STALKER and some decent console games like Saints Row. I’d never even really noticed them before until the last few years. According to Mobygames they go back to 1991 though, and yeah, those early years are pretty dreadful…

They’ve been critically successful in the PC space, but as far as I know, Pixar and Smackdown still dominate their sales.

The Smackdown issue is interesting, sure it’s licensed but it’s also a good game and makes sales both because of it’s quality and license a rarity I’d argue. The Pixar stuff is mostly just the license selling the games.

THQ is probably branching out into more original IP and trying to put out quality games because it’s contract with Pixar is running out and now that Pixar is owned by Disney it very well might not be renewed. Also the success of it’s licensed properties gives it more money to put into new ventures, like Saint’s Row and acquiring successful studios like Relic.

I seem to remember that the head honcho at THQ was saying that they wanted to change over to fewer but higher quality titles.

I bought all of those and they are some of favorites.

I heard that THQ won’t let their employees go to GDC unless they’re specifically assigned to go, for fear that that they’ll be hired by another company. True?


Wouldn’t surprise me, I don’t have much fondness for THQ from a dev side and some of their studios(sandblast/crankypants) are downright hell holes.

I guess that really depends on what “let” means–if you can pay your own way and have PTO hours, they can’t really stop you from taking time off (though they may resist it). If you wanted the company to pay for your trip just so you could go look for another job…

— Alan

Since Relic in Vancouver is a big, famous studio, I wonder how much autonomy they have.

False, at least not as a corporate policy. However individual studios seem to be free to set their own management policies so i guess it could happen somewhere, but I doubt it.

A bunch of folks from my studio are going again this year.

All studios are run as mostly independent entities. I’m sure things at Relic have changed very little since they were acquired. This also means that the environment at different studios can be drastically different, some good and some bad.

By “let” I meant “If you go on your own and pay your own way, and we didn’t say you could go, you’re fired.” But given what others are saying, perhaps that was only the policy at one particular studio. Again, this is just a rumor I heard; that’s why I asked. :)


How would that even be legal? Firing someone for going to a professional development conference, on their own dime, in their own time… If my company tried to regulate how I can spend my time off and money, they wouldn’t have a chance to fire me, 'cause I’d be long gone.

I most states in the US, companies can fire anyone whenever they like without a reason. It would be incumbant upon the employee to go to court to demonstrate the firing was unfair, and that usually doesn’t happen unless it’s a clear case of class diiscrimination.


At will employees, ftw?

Many people in the US are “at will” employees. Meaning you can leave or be fired for pretty much any and even no reason at all. Various states have exceptions to the standard “at will” employment but not all and those exceptions can vary widely.

A lot depends on the jury, too. There was that guy in Michigan who sued when he got fired for telling the “Seinfeld joke” (Regina!) and he won big, even though there’s no law against that specifically. Also, companies are required to deal in “good faith”, so if they said you could go and then fired you after you went, you have a better case. But IANAL, so YMMV, IMNSHO, LOLWTFBBQ?


Whoah buddy the joke was Delores.

Good to know.

Although in a business that rewards you for attracting the best talent, a policy like the one described seems short-sighted at best.