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THQ has "hit the bottom", ready for the upswing

THQ CEO Brian Farrell believes the company's worst year is behind it

In an interview with VentureBeat, THQ CEO Brian Farrell explained that the company has gone through a horrible year, but now it's in a place to improve its fortunes.

"I think we have not only hit that bottom, but we're starting to pull out a little bit. Don't take my word for it, but if you look at our Q4 financial results, we look at that as a template for our future," said Farrell. Farrell pegged a number of the issues on the company's reliance on software aimed at kids.

"It's been a tough year on a number of levels. We've had to completely reposition the company. As you know, for a long time, the kids' business was part of our bread and butter. We recognized that the kids' business was declining. In fairness, we didn't move quickly enough out of that business, but now we're out, totally focused on core, and I think you're seeing the results here," he explained.

Despite THQ's issues with him at the helm, Farrell is taking responsibility for righting the company, with new president Jason Rubin being painted by Farrell as a reenergizing force.

"I've been through these troughs before and I've been through the peaks before. In a failure state I double down in terms of work ethic, dedication to the business. I feel personally responsible for where THQ is right now, I take full responsibility for that, but I'm also taking responsibility until relieved of command for making it work. I've done it before, I intend to do it again," he said.

"Getting Jason Rubin was a huge win. He is a smart, creative, but disciplined guy who has a vision to do even better on the core side. We also share a vision for where the industry is going and where the core business is going on a digital level. I'm personally re-energized. I think a lot of the company is too," Farrell added.

Though it may seem folly for THQ to go up in the AAA space against entrenched competitors like Activision and EA, Farrell said that the publisher has found where it stands out.

"Where can THQ stand out? Competing with 100-million-dollar budgets? Probably not. But a new world you've never been to before with a feeling and an ambiance that gamers can't get elsewhere?" said Farrell, taking about the publisher's upcoming shooter, Metro: Last Light.

"There will be some hundred-million-dollar budget games, and that's not where we intend to compete. We can still compete very aggressively with the talent in our studios. Again, the accolades that Darksiders II is getting, it's just a well-made game built on existing technology, a great storyline, great gameplay. Gamers like that, they don't ask us what the production budget was."

The full interview with Farrell is over at VentureBeat.

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Mike Williams avatar
Mike Williams: M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.
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