Just a few days after THQ announced that it would be turning its unreleased Warhammer 40,000 MMO Dark Millenium into a single player game, things aren't looking any better. Things are looking so bad, in fact, that Joystiq is reporting that Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of rival studio Take-Two Interactive, told a crowd at MIT's Business in Gaming conference that THQ won't be around in six months.
Zelnick contrasted THQ's approach of licensing all of its properties from well known brands to Take-Two's all-original portfolio. “THQ's strategy was licensed properties, first and foremost. License stuff from other people, whether it's UFC or WWE or a motion picture property and make a game around that.” Take-Two, of course, boasts blockbuster titles like the Grand Theft Auto series and Red Dead Redemption.
Zelnick also contrasted the quality of THQ's games to their own, mainly to show that games based on licensed properties tend to be on a lower tier than original creations. “Take-Two has the highest quality ratings among third party publishers, according to Metacritic and most people in the industry... THQ has had some good games, but their quality levels aren't even remotely [measuring up to THQ's].”
If that isn't harsh enough, Zelnick added that “THQ won't be around in six months.” Ouch – Michael Dell, anyone?
While we would normally just brush off such remarks as hubris between competitors, Zelnick raises some good points, particularly regarding THQ's track record of producing quality games, and regarding the quality of licensed games in general. Due to being rushed to the market, along with excessively controlling property owners, tie-in games are often somewhat lacking in quality.
Taking its dire situation into consideration, it's not hard to imagine THQ disappearing in the very near future. When a company guts one of the games it's betting its future on, you know it's in dire straits. The question is, what will happen to all of their properties (the Dawn of War series, in particular, has done a great job of breaking the mold when it comes to licensed games)?
Update 2:15 PM EST
Game Informer has received the following statement from Zelnick: "While discussing our strategy I spoke out of turn about someone else’s. It was inappropriate and I regret it."