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Old 06-12-2012, 06:33 AM   #1
randir14
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THQ Will Cut Games, but Not Jobs


THQ president Jason Rubin spoke to Joystiq, stating that he will be deciding which of the company's current projects need to be canceled. The good news is he promises no jobs will be lost.

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"I'm well aware of the other projects that are kind of in what you would call 'nebulous states' (though internally they may not be so nebulous)," Rubin said. "I have to go around and look at everything over the next few weeks, next month, and I have to then decide which of the titles are the titles we're gonna focus on based on what I believe our future should be."

Thankfully for THQ's employees (approximately 1,750 as of March 31, 2011), the coming change within the publisher doesn't mean a reckoning. "We have the appropriate number of teams and the appropriate number of people working on products, and we're not gonna be continuing to cut teams".
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:50 AM   #2
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What a good Biz Manager knows, is that you never tell your team there are going to be staff cuts, until there are going to be staff cuts Today.

Morale == Productivity
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:09 AM   #3
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What a good Biz Manager knows, is that you never tell your team there are going to be staff cuts, until there are going to be staff cuts Today.

Morale == Productivity
Meanwhile, tell the rest of the world you're cutting costs and one of your top teams is a big disappointment.

"But you guys are totally safe."
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:14 AM   #4
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What a good Biz Manager knows, is that you never tell your team there are going to be staff cuts, until there are going to be staff cuts Today.

Morale == Productivity
dingdingding, we have a winner.

I expect the staff cut memo to begin with "unfortunately, plan A didn't work..."
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:17 AM   #5
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He uses "gonna" in professional communications? THQ is doomed.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:55 AM   #6
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I for one believe there will be more time for this guys to look for another job right?

Management makes risky decision and the employee pay for it.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:56 AM   #7
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He uses "gonna" in professional communications? THQ is doomed.
Spoken interview, not typed. At least I assume. Or a potentially deliberate attempt to be more appealing to his consumer base; wouldn't be unheard of.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:44 PM   #8
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You think joystiq is "professional"

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He uses "gonna" in professional communications? THQ is doomed.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:31 PM   #9
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Meanwhile, tell the rest of the world you're cutting costs and one of your top teams is a big disappointment.

"But you guys are totally safe."
He never said their top team was a "big disappointment"; in fact, he said the exact opposite.
Saint's Row: The Third is an embarrassing game; one of the promotional swag items sent around to the press for the title was a giant purple dildo baseball bat. Everything about the game is juvenile and Jason Rubin called them on it.
In the same breath, however, he also stated that Volition is capable of so much more; in other words, he feels they're capable of giving us an experience akin to Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption.

I'm guessing he'd like to see his company become known for something critically acclaimed, not a game essentially based around boobs and purple dildos.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:44 PM   #10
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He never said their top team was a "big disappointment"; in fact, he said the exact opposite.
Oh yeah of course. The team is awesome. It's just their work that's a disappointment. Because he expects better from them.

The exact opposite of what I said.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:31 PM   #11
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He never said their top team was a "big disappointment"; in fact, he said the exact opposite.
Saint's Row: The Third is an embarrassing game; one of the promotional swag items sent around to the press for the title was a giant purple dildo baseball bat. Everything about the game is juvenile and Jason Rubin called them on it.
In the same breath, however, he also stated that Volition is capable of so much more; in other words, he feels they're capable of giving us an experience akin to Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption.

I'm guessing he'd like to see his company become known for something critically acclaimed, not a game essentially based around boobs and purple dildos.
I endorse this message.

If you're making a triple-A game and you're gonna spend all that hard work and money creating a game, at least make something that will be remembered in 20+ years. Something that shoots to make it into the gaming canon. Not something kitsch.
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:05 PM   #12
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I endorse this message.

If you're making a triple-A game and you're gonna spend all that hard work and money creating a game, at least make something that will be remembered in 20+ years. Something that shoots to make it into the gaming canon. Not something kitsch.
There have been many companies that are capable of more, but they do not always hit the right spot. A good way to make that happen is to tell them what they have to make and control every aspect of development because you know best. Also indirectly insult everyone who buys games from said developer and we have the perfect recipe for Volitions next flop.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:24 PM   #13
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Altho volition is capable of making great games such as descent and freespac, I think it was kind of dumb for rubin to dis THQ's best selling game in years. I do hope this means volition's next game will be descent or a game like it as I think interplay still owns the IP.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:38 PM   #14
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Gaming industry needs to grow up a bit and he sounds like he's in my camp. Dildo hats, seriously.

Anyway, cutting down non-performing products is a tried and true way to save a dying company.

When Jobs came back to Apple he axed their tremendously broad confused product line to a few choices and the rest is history--and that's just one example.

Games can be seen as products lines. Cut back say from five games to three, beef up your developers with those who were in the cut games, deliver potentially great 3 games instead of mediocre 5 games. Sounds smart. Let's see if he pulls it off.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:24 PM   #15
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I agree with the fundamental discipline behind THQ cutting down on IP's but I think they should and will go after the illusive, mid-tier game market rather than AAA market.(Jason Rubin made it clear in Gamespot interview.) In order to do that, they need to figure out proper pricing model and distribution channel.

I'm certain THQ won't bet on AAA IP any time soon since they do not have any AAA IP. All their current IP's, I believe, do not have potential to become AAA franchise so they have to create a brand new IP if they want to go down AAA path yet again.(which is not THQ's future plan according to Jason)

Arguably shooter(Call of duty) and open world(GTA) genres are the most competitive AAA markets. THQ never had enough resources to compete in this generation.

Homefront(should've been canned), Red Faction(never should've been revived), Saints Row(should've been scaled down for XBLA&PSN with micro-transaction), and Dark Siders(another XBLA/PSN title) are all bland IP's to compete in cut-throat AAA market. Warhammer, great niche IP which has no place in AAA market.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:20 PM   #16
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I disagree. Homefront has potential if it has the right developer and budget. Crytek should do a good job on HF2 as who knows more about CE3 than them. SR prob should be rebooted and be less silly. It should be more like the original SR as I doubt think the interest of the over the top silliness of SR3 will last..perhaps they can make a silly $DLC or something.

I think its a mistake for them to focus on mid-tier unless they charge a mid-tier price, e.g. $40, which won't happen.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:31 PM   #17
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I disagree. Homefront has potential if it has the right developer and budget. Crytek should do a good job on HF2 as who knows more about CE3 than them. SR prob should be rebooted and be less silly. It should be more like the original SR as I doubt think the interest of the over the top silliness of SR3 will last..perhaps they can make a silly $DLC or something.

I think its a mistake for them to focus on mid-tier unless they charge a mid-tier price, e.g. $40, which won't happen.
I base my opinion on the fact that right developer and budget for AAA title are extremely hard to come by. Crytek has great engineers but, I think, lacks experienced designers with creative vision, much like id Software. And Crytek recently announced that they are going after F2P market so even if they wrapped up HF2 as a retail product(hinted in recent interview), there's no guaranty they'll support and nurture the community for years to come.

Call of duty, Halo, Gears of war...games that sweep AAA market take multiple studios to make and support for years after launch; that's the kind of production value missing in THQ titles.

As for SR, I think the 1st game was still quite tongue-in-cheek silly compared to the competition that is GTA4, largely due to its focus on sandbox gameplay. IMO, SR was outclassed by Rockstar's production value. Take2 aggressively defended their only cash-cow(against pretty much every open-world bandwagoners from EA, Activision, MS and THQ) by overloading multiple studios onto a single IP. There clearly was no competition in the same AAA market for SR to begin with. At the moment, Ubisoft's only financially capable and well positioned publisher to compete in the same market with Take2's open-world juggernaut. SR belongs to non-AAA market.

I think THQ either can or will be forced to price their games lower in mid-tier market when they find proper ecosystem for their budget. Valve's steam was mentioned in Jason Rubin interview and perhaps online space rather than retail is where they're heading. I hope he finds a nice niche to turn THQ around.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:28 AM   #18
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As for SR, I think the 1st game was still quite tongue-in-cheek silly compared to the competition that is GTA4, largely due to its focus on sandbox gameplay. IMO, SR was outclassed by Rockstar's production value. Take2 aggressively defended their only cash-cow(against pretty much every open-world bandwagoners from EA, Activision, MS and THQ) by overloading multiple studios onto a single IP. There clearly was no competition in the same AAA market for SR to begin with. At the moment, Ubisoft's only financially capable and well positioned publisher to compete in the same market with Take2's open-world juggernaut. SR belongs to non-AAA market.

Saint's Row came out at a very opportune time; they beat Rockstar to the punch and came out with a crime-based sandbox game a full two years before GTA4. To many, Saint's Row still feels more like a GTA title than GTA4 ever did, since it maintained the tongue-in-cheek silliness the GTA series has always had...until GTA4, that is. At the end of the day, it really was the better GTA game; granted, it didn't have Rockstar's polish, but it managed to balance goofiness and seriousness much like its predecessors. GTA4 was stripped of nearly all of the series' patented silliness, which simultaneously stripped it of much of it's fun. It was still a great game...but it felt like the heart of the series was gone.

If we head back to 2008, Saint's Row 2 was marketed entirely around this idea; while Rockstar was essentially shedding one of the major aspects behind the "fun" of their flagship series, Volition was embracing it 150%. Their game was going to be everything Rockstar's no longer was; they cranked the insanity up to 11...and it was well-received, for what it was.

Flash forward three years and we get Saint's Row: the Third. Looking back at the previous titles and what gamers responded to, it makes complete sense that it ending up being what it was. It was, unfortunately, completely removed from what the series initially was...which is the same fate GTA4 had, amusingly enough. Saint's Row is essentially a solid, unofficial entry in the GTA series in terms of tone and execution. The Third, on the other hand, is simply complete batshit insanity filled with rubber genitalia and porn stars.

The Saint's Row series, while never as infamous and GTA, will likely be remembered for years to come...but for all of the wrong reasons. Despite it's violence and crime-based setting, GTA has always had its fair share of redeeming qualities such as high production values, solid storytelling and fantastic characters. Saint's Row ultimately has none of these, instead choosing to embrace frivolity and silliness. There's a time and a place for these things, but Volition went a little too far over the edge.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:59 AM   #19
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I agree. IMHO SR, the original one, was the only true GTA competitor unlike the other sandbox games. GTA4 was a let down as it was too serious. SR had the right balance of seriousness and fun. SR3 got too silly for me. I did not play SR2.

I was hoping that THQ would continue to polish and improve on SR, to the quality level of GTA, but SR3 was a huge step back. I say the same thing regarding HF. It has the potential to be a strong competitor to BF...if it is better refined and gets a better budget.

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Saint's Row came out at a very opportune time; they beat Rockstar to the punch and came out with a crime-based sandbox game a full two years before GTA4. To many, Saint's Row still feels more like a GTA title than GTA4 ever did, since it maintained the tongue-in-cheek silliness the GTA series has always had...until GTA4, that is. At the end of the day, it really was the better GTA game; granted, it didn't have Rockstar's polish, but it managed to balance goofiness and seriousness much like its predecessors. GTA4 was stripped of nearly all of the series' patented silliness, which simultaneously stripped it of much of it's fun. It was still a great game...but it felt like the heart of the series was gone.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:02 AM   #20
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Homefront will be good, Crytek are awesome and if THQ market it well enough it will sell well. Its not as if the first sold horribly, just below expectations. Saints Row, Darksiders, and WWE are probably their main focuses, althoigh hopefully Metro: Lats Light sells alot better then the original, because it really is a decent game. Much better then 90% of the first person trash to come out the last couple of years.
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