THQ: We're acquiring talent, not buying studios
Game and talent announcements due within weeks; days of selling anything other than "best in class" are gone, says Bilson
Resurgent publisher THQ has told GamesIndustry.biz that it has a number of significant new deals to announce in the coming weeks, as it continues to rebuild the company after the success of titles including Darksiders, Metro 2033 and UFC.
Danny Bilson, vice president of core games, said that the recent string of hits for the publisher are due to management letting creative talent build the games they love, and it's this approach that's attracting skilled developers to the business.
"What we do is we have a bunch of guys who love videogames wanting to make the games that they love the most, and if that's your mission I think we can make great games and succeed," said Bilson. "The other thing is that you're not going to see us buying studios, you're going to see us acquiring talent. Very different.
"You're going to see an announcement [this] Friday of a new game with a developer, and hopefully the week after that you're going to see an announcement about a team that we have acquired to inhabit a studio of ours. And these are people you'll know," hinted Bilson.
The talent-first approach is being echoed at other large publishers, with Activision striking a deal with Bungie that sees the Halo developer keeping hold of the new IP it creates, and with EA's recent bank-rolling of Respawn Entertainment.
THQ has also announced its own THQ Partners division, focusing on high quality products in a bid to expand its portfolio of titles.
Bilson added that there is no market for average games anymore, as consumers care little about the development process, just that they are getting value for money with the highest quality game on the market.
"In the rebuilding of THQ, it's all about best in class. Everything in best is class because you know what? My friends in those other companies - they are best in class. They know how to do it, they do it and to a consumer who's only got $60 he's only going to go one way or the other, he doesn't care that Red Dead cost however much it cost, how long as it took to get to get made, or that this cost as long as it did, he just wants great, right?
"And our responsibility is to give those guys - and ladies - great. There's nothing short of that, the whole world of selling average games in gone. It's gone. The world of selling anything but spectacular games is gone. So what I think that means is less games, more focus, more care and then more crafting in the marketing to make people care about them more, it's all just about more love really. It's just treating them with more respect."