It seems like THQ Nordic can’t go a week without being in the news. This is a company that buys just about every IP and developer across the globe, no matter how big or small, old or new. They don’t like to judge. I’ve seen plenty of lamenting of the company. “Why are they doing this?” “Why are they buying that game?” “Who would play that?” These are all excellent questions. But here we are, and THQ Nordic has revealed a bit more about its upcoming future. I’ve realized that THQ Nordic is weird as hell, and I can’t get enough of them. I love it.
Let’s start with a little bit of history on the company. THQ was founded in 1990 and rose to prominence by publishing a variety of mid-tier games and licensed titles. If you’ve played a licensed title from the early 2000s, there’s a good chance you’ve played a THQ published game. Some of their biggest titles include Darksiders, Destroy all Humans!, Saints Row, Red Faction, and a bundle of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney games. The company also made some bad financial decisions, including going all in the uDraw Game Tablet, which eventually led to bankruptcy and liquidation of all their IP.
THQ Nordic started as Nordic Games, founded in 2011. The company decided to strike when they could and buy most of what THQ had to offer during their liquidation sale. For a cool $4.9 million, Nordic Games bought over 150 titles, including the aforementioned Darksiders and Red Faction. They also purchased the THQ name and rebranded as THQ Nordic because you know, what worked for THQ could work for them. Around this time, they also purchased Koch Media, which gave them Deep Silver and their corresponding range of IP. Seriously, spend no more than a few minutes searching through Google, and you’ll find dozens of stories related to their purchase history.
That’s a pretty broad stroke history lesson, but what it basically boils down to is that THQ Nordic has been making purchases. They haven’t stopped. In the last year alone, THQ Nordic has purchased TimeSplitters and Bugbear Entertainment, the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning IP, and announced a partnership with Nickelodeon to bring back some of THQ’s older licensed titles, such as SpongeBob, Fairly Odd Parents, and Rocket Power. That doesn’t even account for the fact that they’ve raised another $225 million for further acquisitions, enough to buy a private island if you wanted. We’ve seen a bit of that spending, it seems, with their purchase of Gunfire Games. I doubt they’re going to stop anytime soon.
Perfection isn’t the word I’d use to describe THQ Nordic. They made a questionable attempt at being “edgy” by holding an AMA on 8Chan, a forum filled with unspeakable content. They played it off as “we weren’t aware of the bad stuff,” but come on. I can’t say I’ve forgiven them for that if that’s the right wording I want to use, but I’m chalking it up to “they’ve learned, let’s move on”. Partly because of how weird they are.
They’ve released and re-released games with terrible pun-infused names, such as Darksiders II: DEATHinitive Edition, Darksiders: WARmastered Edition, and Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-MARS-tered (emphasis all mine). This is the company that greenlit Darksiders III and announced a spin-off title after the franchise seemed dead past remasters. They have over 80 games in development with nearly 50 of them being unannounced! Though as time has passed, we’re starting to learn more about what they have in the pipeline.
THQ Nordic is a boulder that keeps on rolling downhill with no way to stop them.
My excitement started just before E3 when THQ Nordic decided to announce three new titles. Those titles being Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, Darksiders: Genesis, and a remake of Destroy All Humans! Did I question the company? Absolutely. If THQ couldn’t be successful with the list of IP they had, what makes them think that they could do it better? And yet, they already seem to be doing it better. Re-releasing older titles to gauge interest appears to be paying off, just look at the Darksiders games. Bringing back cult-classic games like Battle for Bikini Bottom and Destroy All Humans! already has the internet talking. Plus, we know they have the impressive-looking Biomutant on the horizon and a stable of impressive developers such as Volition, Deep Silver, and 4A Games.
Speaking of Destroy All Humans!, did you see the $400 Collector’s Edition announced? Or what about the other $400 Collector’s Edition for Biomutant? Look, I love Destroy All Humans! as much as the next person, but would I spend that amount of money on it? Well, maybe for that backpack so that I can walk around my college campus with an alien on my back. Collector’s Editions are getting out of hand as it is, and I think THQ Nordic just jumped the shark with these announcements.
We also got confirmation late last night about what some of their developers are working on. Volition is confirmed to be “deep in development” on a new Saints Row title, Dead Island 2 just won’t die and found another developer to handle the project, and the co-creator of TimeSplitters is working with the company to help “pave the way for the franchise.” They’re full of rich IP that has something for everyone, and it’s hard not to be excited about the future for the company.
THQ Nordic seems to bring new energy to the game industry. In a world where EA seems to flub everything they do outside of Madden and FIFA, Activision pumping out yearly Call of Duty titles, and Ubisoft finding their open-world formula, THQ Nordic looks to be letting developers spread their wings a bit and make quirky stuff.
So I say, keep being weird THQ Nordic. Keep buying every IP and studio that you can. Keep announcing remakes of some of my favorite older titles. Keep on working on a bevy of titles. Keep on being weird.
What do you think of THQ Nordic? Are you excited about anything the publisher has cooking? Let us know in the comments below.
Brandon is a Journalism student at the University of Nevada, Reno. He loves all games, but don’t get him started on Kingdom Hearts. He wishes every console had a handle like the GameCube.