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THQ announces 100+ new layoffs with Warhammer 40K "refocus"

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium will be a single-player game, not an MMO

THQ has announced that it is "refocusing" on Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium. The tangible result of this change will see team sizes at two THQ internal studios reduced by 79 full-time employees at Vigil Games in Austin, Texas, along with 39 employee redundancies at Relic Entertainment in Vancouver.

THQ is abandoning the MMO model for the new Warhammer, switching instead "to an immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features." The publisher promised that new details and release timing would be announced at a later date.

THQ's most recent financial report was filled with red ink, leaving the executive team scrambling to keep the company solvent. Previous to this, THQ had already let go 240 employees.

"As previously announced, we have been actively looking for a business partner for the game as an MMO. However, based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features," said Brian Farrell, President and CEO of THQ Inc. "Because we believe strongly in the high-quality and vast creative work that is in production, this is the right decision for both our portfolio and for gamers devoted to this powerful property."

"We are genuinely excited about the new direction that THQ is taking with Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, and we are sure that this will be a great addition to the ever growing stable of authentic and engaging Warhammer 40,000 video games," said Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing for Games Workshop.

Latest comments (14)

Private Industry 4 years ago
That doesn`t sound good, you can`t just change an MMO game into a singleplayer game.
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James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
I think it's just a financial matter. They had no choice. MMOs are HUGELY expensive to create and operate/maintain. They don't have the expertise, and they literally can't afford another fumble on that scale or it will be truly game over for THQ. Of course, you could argue that instead of switching it to single player that they should just cancel the whole thing.
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Private Industry 4 years ago
I would rather change it to something along the lines of 4-8 player coop centric game instead of a singleplayer centric game. It`s easier and cheaper to tweak a content to something thats designed for less players compared to tweak it to something that`s designed for one person.

Obviously it`s a financial issue with reducing the development costs and post launch costs to run servers, GM`s etc.
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Show all comments (14)
David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers4 years ago
THQ has never done a game like this before and trying to downshift to something like a free-to-play game is also not their expertise. I have a feeling this game has been changed into an single-player RPG, although the release was very ambiguous as to what the new version of the game would entail. Basically, this shifts the game into THQ's core specialty which is retail products. They can release the game and make whatever profit they can out of it and then put it aside for the most part- an MMO is a long term investment and THQ just can't afford to sink money into that right now.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
Hmmm, was wondering how they would balance a Imperial Guard with a Space Marine.

Sorry for the affected nonetheless.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
Layoffs at Relic ? The emperor was not with them today. Although all of the games done by Relic are solid hits, i dont think that will be enough to sustain THQ.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Keresztes on 30th March 2012 8:23am

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Make a homeworld rebooot!
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STEPHANE DASTOUS general manager, Eidos Montréal4 years ago
just come to Montreal and we'll find you a job for AAA games ...
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Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware 4 years ago
So in reality "However, based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features," "reads as "we came to the conclusion that our game was not shaping up in a way that it could compete with other MMOs on the market so we had to cut our losses, downsize the game, go with a DAY1 DLC content and ultimately let people go.

I predict that THQ wont be around for much longer and/or will be assimilated to one of the bigger publishers, in the near future.
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Mats Holm Technical Writer, Electronic Arts4 years ago
Hopefully it turners out to be a good Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine squeal. I love the look/feel and handling of that game.
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@ Stephane - har har! I think health competetion is good. we should support THQ in their times of hardship
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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts4 years ago
geekmode on;

There are several instances in the Warhammer 40K universe of individual Guards equipped with carapace armour and plasma pistols taking down Chaos Marines with headshots.

Also, from a game balance perspective, look at Star Wars - BioWare did a pretty good job there; in theory Jedis and Sith should be pwning all, but instead all classes are viable (some more than other admittedly),

geekmode off

Anyway, a real shame for those laid off and I know many people (many, MANY people) who will be very disappointed to hear this.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephen Woollard on 30th March 2012 5:01pm

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Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media4 years ago
@Alfonso By cheating every single sentence of WH40K lore that has ever been written, I guess...

Sad news anyway, I was looking forward to it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rafa Ferrer on 30th March 2012 5:18pm

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On the recruitment side, there is a blatant feeding frenzy from recruiters of various studios twittering to relic, vigil and THQ all trying to catch the eye of a prospective new employee
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