Buying up developers and adding new fully-owned subsidiaries seems like the cool thing to do lately. Between the BioWare/Pandemic acquisition and ActiBlizzard, I feel like I need to find something to bring under my umbrella corporation, just to fit in with the cool kids.
Anyway, the latest financial love party has been thrown, and THQ and Big Huge Games were invited. Big Huge Games, of Rise of Nations and Catan fame, is now a fully-owned subsidiary of THQ, bought for an undisclosed sum. This isn’t the first time THQ and Big Huge have rubbed shoulders: THQ signed on to publish an upcoming, unnamed RPG that’s being developed by Big Huge Games. According to Jack Sorenson, executive Vice President of THQ world studios, “the big RPG, we always felt [RPGs were] a big hole [in our portfolio]. When we signed it last year, we felt it was a relief to find something of this quality and innovation.”
In addition to satisfying THQ’s need for an epic RPG, Big Huge Games also meshes well with THQ’s business philosophy, says Sorensen:
From THQ’s perspective, I view this acquisition as a poster child for the way we like to approach things, which is that clearly we have a strategy of being in big genres on big, original IP, but we also have a very carefully constructed philosophy in how we look at internal developments, so working with a developer for an amount of time so we can get to know each other is a big prerequisite on internal versus external, so Big Huge Games hits all our strategy points.
Portfolio diversification and business philosophy commonalities aside, what really “sealed the deal” was another upcoming, unnamed title, according to Sorensen: “the RPG was enough, but what definitely sealed the deal for us on both sides is the next one. It’s more innovative, more unique, and we just felt like it requires both long-term thinking from both sides. But also from THQ’s perspective, it showed us that this is a studio that can gen some new concepts. Anything else coming out of Big Huge is icing on the cake.”
Details are sparse, but my knee-jerk reaction to immediately condemn small developers selling out to the Man is conspicuously absent. New IPs innovative and unique enough to cause a major publisher to fork over what I assume is a grotesque amount of money? Yes, please.