THQ closes Rise of Nations developer

Written by Joe Martin

March 18, 2009 | 11:29

Tags: #big-huge-games #credit-crunch #loss #rise-of-nations

Companies: #thq

Games publisher THQ has been hit hard by the credit crunch it seems, posting a loss of more than £137 million GBP last quarter alone and being forced to make cutbacks as a result. Those cutbacks, which were first announced in February, are now going into effect.

Namely, the publisher has decided to utterly close down Big Huge Games, the developers of the Rise of Nations series and Catan for Xbox Live Arcade.

Sources close to the studio apparently passed the news on to Kotaku early this morning, revealing that THQ had given the studio 60 days notice before closure, assuming that a buyer for the developer isn't found in the meantime.

Big Huge Games will therefore probably not be releasing its current project, a Wii-based RPG designed by Ken Rolston of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion fame.

THQ also gave notice to two other developers, Heavy Iron and Incinerator Studios, letting them know that they will now be spun out as independent companies once current projects are complete, which should allow the studios to retain current employees. Both studios primarily create games based on Pixar licenses, such as Wall-E.

On top of all that, THQ also axed 100 jobs from its Illinois-based QA facility.

THQ reps described the losses as "unfortunate, but necessitated by the economic environment". THQ still needs to layoff around 600 employees, or about 24 percent of the total workforce, if it wants to reduce expenditure enough to hit targets.

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