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THQ: Closed studios didn't fit our new strategy

Kaos, Warrington, Blue Fang and Australia not part of "fewer, bigger" policy

THQ CFO Paul Pucino has defended the publisher's decision to close several studios this year, citing the need to reduce costs and maximise profit.

Speaking at the Citi Global Technology Conference, Pucino said that Blue Fang and THQ Australia were working on games, a movie tie-in and a children's game, which were not consistent with the company's strategy going forward, reports Edge.

No direct explanation was given for the closure of Homefront developer Kaos, or THQ's only UK presence in Warrington, but Pucino did outline a wider policy of wanting "fewer, bigger" studios, saying that THQ Montreal's staff was expected to more than double over the next two years.

"We think the best position we can be in with respect to studio structure is fewer is better," Pucino said in response to an investor question at the event.

"The two we just shut in Australia were working on games that aren't consistent with our strategy anymore - one on a movie tie-in, one on a kids' game. Our strategy now is bringing fewer, bigger triple-A titles to market: one or two original IPs each year, and sequelling them every two to two-and-a-half years."

With the release of Saint's Row: The Third looming large, THQ expects this holiday quarter to be its most profitable yet, but Pucino was keen to stress that cost control was an important factor in the closures.

"We're trying to reduce the cost of bringing high quality games to market. Our studio in Montreal will grow from 150 to 400 employees in the next couple of years. We're going to be able to make games there for 40 per cent less than some of our other studios."

THQ Montreal benefits greatly from tax breaks and employment incentives which have seen Canada labelled as the culprit in a perceived "brain drain" from the UK and other European development communities. The studio is being chaired by Patrice Desilets, creator of Assassin's Creed and is currently working on at least two titles.

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Dan Pearson