THQ fell into a hole last year, betting heavily on an HD uDraw peripheral, and is still feeling the burn. But Bilson's core strategy remains strong, and the publisher has plenty to look forward to in the coming two years.
Like many publishers, THQ is playing a low-risk game as we approach a hardware transition. The financially troubled company has even more reason to be cagey than its more stable rivals, but with a strong line-up of good IP and strong relationships with next-gen hardware manufacturers, it should keep fans satisfied through a well-spaced two years.
As we've said previously, THQ's two-pronged core assault this financial year is based on Darksiders II and Metro: Last Light.
Darksiders II is a safe bet. The original's quality and success means the sequel has much to live up to, but all indications are that Vigil's about to knock it out of the park. The developer asked for more time to polish the action-RPG, moving it back into August, where it will be one of the first horsemen of the year-end release season. It's a good slot and it looks like a great game. Success is likely.
Saints Row: The Third kept THQ's spirit alive last year, with the game shipping over 4 million. Volition has a stand-alone expansion scheduled for September release, named Enter the Dominatrix. Sometime around the same time, we'll also see THQ's latest WWE game, which is yet to be detailed.
In the fourth financial quarter, Metro: Last Light grants us a return trip to post-apocalyptic survival horror. This is a big bet for THQ: be sure to be watching at 4pm UK time today for a spine-tingling live-action teaser.
Sticking with the New Year, Obsidian's RPG effort South Park: The Stick of Truth is expected in the first quarter of 2013, as is Relic's long-awaited PC exclusive sequel, Company of Heroes 2.
Going forward, and despite the cancellation of Tomonobu Itagaki's Devil's Third, FY 2014 is looking pretty sweet.
Sometime over the next six-to-nine months we ought to hear about what Turtle Rock has in the works.
Vigil's Dark Millennium Online is less certain; THQ is looking for a publishing partner and has scaled the game back from full MMO to multiplayer RPG.
Guillermo del Toro's inSane trilogy is expected to make its debut during FY2014, as is whatever former Assassin's Creed lead Patrice Desilets is up to at THQ Montreal; expect reveals by the end of this year if all goes well, as well as a look at Homefront 2 once the fuss over Crytek's other shooter, Crysis 3, has died down a bit.
Additionally, THQ has four unannounced titles for FY2014. We have no idea what they might be, although it seems pretty damn certain one is Saints Row 4. During its Q3 financials briefing, THQ confirmed "the majority of all unannounced titles are company-owned IP". This is opposed to licensed releases, a sphere the company is taking strong steps to exit completely.
Like many publishers, THQ is playing a low-risk game as we approach a hardware transition. The financially troubled company has even more reason to be cagey than its more stable rivals, but with a strong line-up of good IP and strong relationships with next-gen hardware manufacturers (expect plenty of THQ at the Wii U reveal, for starters), it should keep fans satisfied through a well-spaced two years.