THQ insists on IP ownership, but puts “artists first”

By Brenna Hillier, Friday, 3 June 2011 01:31 GMT

THQ CEO Brian Farrell has said the publisher puts “artists first”, but shareholders deserve a kickback – including IP ownership.

“The philosophy we have is, ‘Look, it cost tens of millions to build a game, more tens of millions to market it, and the entity that puts up that financial risk deserves to own the intellectual property, sharing the profitability with the creators,'” Farrell told Industry Gamers.

Describing this approach as “a very, very artist friendly philosophy”, Farrell said questions of ownership could be “complicated”, but shareholders put up the capital and deserve to be rewarded for success – alongside the creator.

“Getting past the non-ownership of the IP is a tough one and sometimes it’s emotional on either side, I’ll admit that,” the executive said.

“Our concept is if we’re putting up tens of millions of dollars, we need to control the future of that. That said, we’re more than willing to do a partnership with the best creative minds in the industry and we’re getting more than our fair share of those,” he said, before teasing an E3 reveal of further partnerships.

Not that THQ doesn’t already have a few big names under its belt, something Farrell puts down to strong relationships with creatives.

“It’s artists first,” he said. “We really focus on great creative talent.

“We’ve talked, as you know, about Patrice Desilets, the brains behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise – he starts work for us in June.

“Tomonobu Itagaki, you know his pedigree… what a legendary game designer and creator working with us now.

“We’re working with Guillermo Del Toro, and this is not one of these we’re going to sign up this Hollywood writer director, use his name, and then make a game based on it. He’s actively [involved in the process].

“So if you look at the games we’re putting out now – Homefront, Red Faction: Guerilla, Saints Row, our Relic Entertainment studio still has the highest rated real time strategy game ever. So creative is first at THQ.”

THQ unveiled its E3 lineup overnight, although Farrell’s comments suggest it kept a few cards up its sleeve.

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