Geoffrey Suttor worked at THQ Studio Australia for over eight years, through its various iterations, until it was closed by THQ earlier this month. In a blog published at Tsumea he took the time to go over his experiences working on a number of different projects throughout his tenure.
It's must read stuff for anyone interested in the challenges facing the Australian industry. In the blog Suttor discusses the difficulties involved in producing the kind of games THQ wanted, in the face of a rapidly evolving industry.
It was at this time that I believe the studio’s hand was forced into something that was almost definitely the nail in the coffin but ultimately kept the studio alive until it’s recent demise. The games industry was changing, polarising to either very high quality AAA or low budget mobile games. The middle ground titles and budgets that THQ corporate was handing the studio were no longer selling or profitable. A major worldwide economic crisis combined to make decisions for console gamers a lot more obvious, they were only going to spend their hard earned money on high quality AAA experiences, and the emerging mass mobile market were after 99 cent mobile titles for a short stint of fun.
We didn’t have the option go to go to the smaller mobile titles which I think would have been a much better fit for our studio. You see we were a internal studio, and what that now meant was that we were part of ‘core’ and had to produce AAA titles with metacritic scores of 80 or higher. Anything less would be the end of us, and honestly, if we had not taken on the title at that time I’m pretty sure it would have been the end us there and then as THQ restructured and closed a whole lot of studios. It was do or die for THQ Studio Australia and the next game was going to have to be done on our next gen tech.
Considering the fact that most other staff members at both THQ Studio Australia and Blue Tongue have stayed relatively quiet about the closure of the Australian studios, this blog is quite candid and well worth reading in full.
An Australian [game studio]Story [Tsumea]