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THQ: developer-owned IP is "a deal-breaker"

Publisher hints at two forthcoming announcements involving "jaw-dropping talent"

THQ's Core division will always insist on ownership of intellectual properties (IP) when dealing with third-party publishers, according to a new interview with core games vice president Danny Bilson.

Speaking to website Industry Gamers, Bilson stated that "The only thing we have to have and insist on is ownership of the intellectual property. That's sort of the deal breaker for me."

"I believe in the Hollywood model, which is that, the bigger the artist, the more important, the more successful they are, the bigger share they get. Just like in Hollywood," explained Bilson.

"But you know, most of the biggest talents in Hollywood don’t own their IPs. It doesn’t work that way. My job coming to this company was to build an IP library, which builds value in THQ," said Bilson. "So that means having a developer own the IP becomes a deal-breaker."

THQ's policy runs contrary to many of key third-party development deals signed in recent months, including Bungie at Activision and Insomniac and Respawn at Electronic Arts. According to Bilson THQ met with the ex-Infinity Ward leads at Respawn and "had a lot of very serious conversations".

Asked whether the instance on retaining ownership of intellectual properties was limiting THQ's opportunities for signing big name developers Bilson hinted that the company had a number of significant announcements to make in the near feature.

"Wait till you see our announcements. You're going to go, 'Oh my God'," said Bilson. "And we're going to own all that IP, and the talent that we're bringing in is of that stature. And you can go home and you can go, 'Wow, I wonder who Danny was talking about'."

Bilson hinted that the revelations would be made within the next "couple of months" and would involve "two more sort of jaw-dropping talent". He also made a point to indicate that any such deals were independent of the recently launched THQ Partners scheme.

Instead the new announcements were implied to be similar in nature to the publishing deal for Devil's Third, from ex-Tecmo developer Tomonobu Itagaki and his new company Valhalla Game Studios.

GamesIndustry.biz also recently conducted an interview with Bilson, in which he discussed at length the company's new approach to core games.

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