Forecasting the Future of THQ’s Core Franchises
The Game: Devil’s Third
Developed by: Valhalla Game Studios
Release date: Q1 2013
A standard-sounding 3rd person action shooter/brawler, Devil’s Third doesn’t sound like it would be a priority title for an ailing THQ. But au contrair! It’s being designed by Tomonobu Itagaki; You might know him as the guy behind the revival, and superhardification, of the Ninja Gaiden series? Devil’s Third is a departure from his previous games in that it’s a third person shooter instead of a THIS STUPID NINJA GAME IS TOO DIFFICULT game, and even if it doesn’t sell a million copies, it’s likely to be a critical hit.
Likelihood of release: Given Itagaki’s reputation, not to mention the cachet THQ is likely to get from publishing the first game Itagaki has produced after leaving Tecmo, it’s likely to come out. Granted, Itagaki has the potential to be the Japanese Tim Schafer, so we give this a 95% chance of release.
The Game: Untitled Company of Heroes game.
Developed by: Almost certainly Relic Entertainment
Release date: N/A
Nothing is known about any future Company of Heroes game other than that THQ confirmed development of this game in a press release issued January 25. However, that the series was singled out as one of THQ’s core franchises bodes well.
Likelihood of release: The original Company of Heroes was the highest rated PC game of 2006 and the F2P MMO Company of Heroes Online, released in 2010, hasn’t been a failure. A more streamlined THQ needs a critical hit that’s also an easy fit for the resurgent PC market, and Company of Heroes is this to a tee. If THQ stays afloat, a new COH is guaranteed. We give this a 95% chance.
We’ve pointed out more than once how long 2 years is for a business in THQ’s position. Their success during this period, not to mention the fate of the games we’ve discussed, will depend on how well they games they already have scheduled in the first half of 2012. There’s still the possibility that the critiques laid out in this scathing letter to the board have not been address, and they could always come up with another uDraw. But as their upcoming slate includes South Park: The Game, UFC Undisputed 3, Darksiders II and the XBLA/PSN relaunch of Nexuiz, there’s room for cautious optimism, at least for those of us who like blowing up Steelport.
We just hope once the ship is righted, they’ll make up for having ruined Red Faction.
*This is autotuned.