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THQ: We axed jobs "so that others might live"

Dropping almost a quarter of workforce allowed for more investment in stronger products, says executive VP Danny Bilson

Publisher THQ has told GamesIndustry.biz that it took the decision to axe almost a quarter of its workforce earlier this year as it was the only way it could save the strongest studios and projects within the group.

Taking the radical approach meant that titles such as Red Faction: Guerilla remained untouched by the staff changes, with the company able to pump more money into its development, said executive vice president Danny Bilson.

"We shut down a lot of studios and laid off a lot of people – 550 – in product development so that others might live," detailed Bilson in an interview published today.

"The studios that lived through that didn't get hit at all and they got more money in order to get to quality. The guys who are left didn't feel the pinch at all.

"We spent millions more on Red Faction: Guerilla at a time when we were closing and contracting all over the place because we have to win in the end."

Bilson believes the company is leaner and stronger now, able to take risks and its current games line-up demonstrates the "new THQ."

"A team that's in the toilet can rebuild and you're allowed to throw out old assumptions and it's easier to actually instigate change in the system. We're willing to take on risk, so you're seeing giant leaps up in quality as a result of radical change," he said.

"We were driving to E3 to show to the world that we don't suck. That we're not an inferior company. And not only do we not suck, but we exceed and we're going to compete with the biggest and the best because our games in that category are fully resourced with very talented teams. You can see the results," he added.

The full interview with Bilson, in which he speaks frankly about changing the company, why he doesn't believe in a diverse portfolio and not being afraid to hold back games until they are ready, can be read here.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.