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THQ Q2: South Park, Metro, Company of Heroes delayed

Monday, 5th November 2012 22:00 GMT By Brenna Hillier

South Park: The Stick of Truth, Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2 have all been delayed, THQ announced during its second quarter financials report.

THQ used its financial report to announce a handful of changes to its release schedule. South Park: The Stick of Truth has been pushed back from March 5 to a vague “early fiscal 2014″. THQ’s financial year ends in March, putting The Stick of Truth’s new release in April at the earliest.

Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light have also been delayed, with both now scheduled for a March launch.

President Jason Rubin said the delays are further demonstrations of his push to ensure the highest possible quality in THQ’s line up.

“Our fourth quarter releases are the first titles that I have had the ability to materially impact, and experience told me that the games needed additional development time to be market-ready,” he said.

“I firmly believe releasing our fourth quarter titles without extra time for polish in the current environment would lead to underperformance that could in turn lead to future additional capital shortfalls. But extending development schedules in order to make the best possible titles also has financial implications. Yet there can be no doubt which path has the greatest chance of leading to the long-term success of the company. We must follow the course that generates the highest quality games, and will establish THQ as a mark of quality for the consumer.”

THQ’s upcoming slate includes a sequel to Saints Row: The Third, Homefront 2 and an unannounced game from Turtle Rock Studios.

Rubin said the publisher has ten titles in development for FY2014 and beyond, “almost all of which” are THQ-original IP rather than licensed. Further announcements regarding these mysterious titles are expected in the next few months.

By the Numbers
THQ beat its own expectations to report net revenue of $107.4 million, down from $146 million in the same quarter of 2011.

This resulted in a net loss of $21.0 million, a better result year-on-year from $92.4 million.

Darksiders 2 was definitely the star of the quarter’s release schedule, with THQ seeming pleased with its Metacritic average of 83 at launch and shipments of 1.4 million, but CEO Brian Farrell told investors that sales were “below expectations” and did not live up to its reception.

On the other hand, THQ still out-performed its internal expectations thanks to ongoing catalog sales, particularly Saints Row: The Third, which has now shipped 5 million copies worldwide, which Farrell called “a hit by any standard”.

The publisher also highlighted digital revenue, noting that at $19.1 million, digital represented close to 21% of adjusted earnings, a 34% year-on-year increase, with Farrell saying digital catalog sales had been strong.

Storm clouds
Rubin used Darksiders 2′s low sales as an argument in favour of the delays announced today, saying it shows that only “top tier games” are viable in today’s market. He said he hadn’t had the chance to significantly impact Darksiders 2′s development and release but would bring his experience to bear on upcoming slate.

Unusually, THQ closed its call without a Q&A session; the publisher is still feeling the burn of its ongoing financial difficulties, and while it has guaranteed money incoming from convertible senior notes within two years, the delay of South park beyond its current fiscal year is going to hurt.

As a result, THQ has engaged the services of Centerview Partners LLC to find “strategic and financing alternatives” to raise additional capital and will not discuss its financial situation until a decision has been made. The publisher is also suspending net sales and earnings guidance, and withdrawing its previous guidance for fiscal 2013.

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15 Comments

  1. Giskard

    At this rate, we’ll never get to play the new Metro.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. dex3108

    I am afraid that they will cancel Metro :(

    #2 2 years ago
  3. DSB

    It’s good to see that Darksiders wasn’t a total fiasco. I want to see how far Rubins approach can take them.

    Pushing games back because you aren’t happy with the quality is a nice change, considering how many half-assed AAA titles are being pushed out these days.

    @2 They can’t afford that. Everything they’re working on right now has to come out tops :P

    #3 2 years ago
  4. dex3108

    @3 With THQ i wouldn’t be surprised :D

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Brenna Hillier

    I’ve updated with some more details from the release and investor call. Guys, THQ has *no releases* this coming quarter and is refusing to talk about how it’s going to survive.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. AHA-Lambda

    ah typical delay for south park :(
    I thought CoH2 and Metro were for about March time anyway though =/

    EDIT: reading through the whole article and the thread on neogaf, THQ sound properly fucked D:

    @5 – holy shit, will these 3 games even come out before THQ goes belly up?! D:

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    Right now it would be a lot more profitable for shareholders if they shut it down and cleaned it out.

    No doubt there’s a lot of wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes.

    Maybe we should start a Kickstarter to buy ‘em out. 90 million should do it.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. YoungZer0

    Okay, no problem, i can deal with this. Everything is going to be fine.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Edo

    Metro delayed to March?That’s not too bad.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Triggerhappy

    @ 6: Yeh I had Metro down for marchish too. Expected the worst there when I read the header, looking forward to re-playing the 1st one :D

    #10 2 years ago
  11. freedoms_stain

    I doubt Metro will die with THQ if it comes to that. Someone will buy it up in the THQ sell-off for a fraction what it cost THQ to make.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. The_Red

    Dammit, they just keep delaying and delaying the South Park RPG.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. jedieagle

    Damn, so no chance of seeing Darksiders 3. Bummer :(

    #13 2 years ago
  14. GrimRita

    I really hope THQ can pull through. They have so many good studios(Relic, amongst others) and some great IP. If you need a free pair of hands for anything THQ, drop me an email – I will do anything to help save Metro and CoH 2!

    #14 2 years ago
  15. IL DUCE

    Yeah, did THQ actually used the word delayed for Metro? Because I was 95% sure it was supposed to release in March anyway, unless it had previously just been “early” 2013…or unless it was just a comment from Rubin at E3 or something…and the South Park delay is only a month or two if it’s going to come out in early fiscal 2014 (which as stated begins April 2013) since it was also only supposed to come out in March 2013 anyway, so that’s not bad…really hope we get to see what Homefront 2 and the Turtle Rock FPS look like before THQ goes under…but at least I can be confident someone would pick Metro up and maybe even convince 4A games to use their engine to make a more open-world STALKER type title for their next game in the Metro universe

    #15 2 years ago

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