THQ to focus on releasing low-cost triple-A titles and free-to-play games

Monday, 11th June 2012 12:26 GMT By Debabrata Nath

THQ has told Gamasutra that it’s to focus on releasing low-cost-triple-A-titles and free-to-play titles, following the sale of its UFC license to Electronic Arts.

The first ‘cheaper’ release from the company’s new mindset will be South Park: The Stick of Truth in March, 2013.

The firm also made it clear that it intends to enter the free-to-play market as a major concern. It also said that such free-to-play titles will particularly be developed for the next generation of home consoles.

THQ’s next triple-A title is Darksiders II, which is in development for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC and hits on August 14 this year. A Wii U version is also in development.



  1. Gheritt White

    Surely “low cost AAA” is an oxymoron? Does anyone know of any existing example of a low-cost AAA title doing well both critically and commercially?

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Fragpuss

    so thq are basically copying almost exactly the business model crytek announced they were switching too last week, when they announced they were switching to “free to play games” because DLC is sucking customers dry

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DSB

    Going F2P is pretty discouraging, but the way I understand the AAA statement is a return to the traditional THQ line-up.

    Pretty much since 2006, THQ has been trying to play EA and Activision at their own game, but all it did was sink the company.

    I don’t know how low cost they want to go, but to my mind there’s a difference between a company that spends 50 million on a production, and one that spends 10-25.

    THQ would obviously be better off going for the latter. To me this sounds like the only smart move they could make at this point.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Gheritt White

    @ DSB: But that’s my point. a $10-25M USD game these days just isn’t AAA. I mean, look at the Red Faction – the last one that was truly AAA was Guerilla, and the tech in that must have cost a small fortrune.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Hirmetrium

    As a person who strongly dislikes free to play (Tribes being my number 1 hatred), I think this is a really stupid move.

    F2P is over-saturated and everyone is overcharging for the simplest of things. If you don’t pay even a little in most of these games, it isn’t worth playing them because your crippled.

    I am somewhat excited for End of Nations and Airmech, but both of them ring hollow as free to play titles. I’d happily plonk down £10-25 if it got me somewhere – but to these companies, that’s a drop in the pond when they can wring £40-60 out of you through add-ons.

    If COH2 and DOW3 are free to play I will scream. Seriously. I’d rather put down the £30 and get the lasting value I got out of Retribution than play F2P games.

    It’s also depressing the lack of transparency of the models they intend to use. We still don’t know End of Nation’s planned sells. Who’s to say THQ won’t take that approach?

    Low cost triple A sounds very appealing on the other hand. If they can deliver quality products at a good price, they can make sales easier. Of course, quality products is the hard part.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DSB

    @4 Yeah, but they didn’t really get their moneys worth, did they? I thought Guerilla was pretty shit. The destruction was cool, but the driving physics and movement was crap.

    Space Marine has roughly the same role in my mind as Guerilla. Big, flashy game, bleeding the budget with protracted development, which really came to nothing. It was a totally underwhelming Gears of War clone.

    Personally I think that you can get a lot more than that, for a lot less, if you’re smart about it, and you rely on design. You don’t need to make a rival to Frostbite to do something like that.

    I’m thinking that if THQ started getting serious about strategy games again, they could really make something great without having to spend a whole lot.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    The whole purpose of releasing free-to-play games is obviously to help leverage costs for their triple A games.

    You have to have money to spend money, which seems to be something some people don’t seem to understand. Nobody is forcing you to play these triple A games.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Christopher Jack

    I don’t get this hate for F2P, most F2P games OPTIONAL payment methods are generally just cosmetic changes or early boosts in which these items or perks are able to be obtained my a traditional method by EXP or something,& you’re unlikely to ever spend beyond the price of a full retail game unless you’re addicted to it, even then, at least you’ve spent the money on something you’ve enjoyed.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DSB

    I don’t think anyone’s confused as to how F2P games work, but with the exception of a select few, they operate based on fighting with your wallet. People who don’t spend are just there to be cannonfodder, and are constantly faced with artificial scarcity so they’ll buy stuff.

    I’m sure people’s tolerances for that sort of thing differs, but personally I’d rather pay full price and get an even playing field.

    #9 3 years ago

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