THQ Closes Blue Tongue And THQ Brisbane To Focus On ‘High-Quality Owned IP’

THQ Closes Blue Tongue And THQ Brisbane To Focus On ‘High-Quality Owned IP’
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We’ve just had confirmation from THQ that it will be closing three studios, including THQ Brisbane and Blue Tongue in order to focus on “high-quality owned IP”.

The closures will affect approximately 200 people.

“With this realignment, we are narrowing our focus to high-quality owned IP with broad appeal that can be leveraged across multiple platforms, and to work with the best talent in the industry. By right-sizing our internal development capacities for our console portfolio, our five internal studios are focused on delivering high-quality games with talented teams driving the execution of those titles to market,” said Brian Farrell, President and CEO, THQ. “As we have outlined in our business strategies, we are making shifts to reduce movie-based and licensed kids’ video games in our portfolio, which underscores our strategy to move away from games that will not generate strong profits in the future.”

“We will continue to evaluate our capital and resources to concentrate on fast growing digital business initiatives such as social games, mobile and tablet -based digital entertainment,” he added.

Five THQ studios remain after the shake-up – with THQ Montreal, led by Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets, and Volition being the most high profile of those studios.

Our condolences to everyone who has lost their jobs as a part of this shake-up.

If you are a member of either Blue Tongue or THQ Australia and would like to talk about your experience, email us

here

Comments

  • THQ has a lot of licensed games. I wonder what will happen in that area now that there are a host of franchises presumably without a developer. Will someone else come in to continue with the shovelware or will someone actually try to make decent products with them?

    I’m assuming the former, but the latter is a nice thought.

    • The big three (Warner Bros, Disney and Nickelodeon) all now have their own publishing houses, so while there’s less out there for the likes of THQ to have, you’ll still be seeing plenty of licenced titles.

  • Wow that business-ese spoken above made me nauseous. Still, I can’t help but more or less agree with the philosophy of sticking to their IP rather than produce these licence games.

    Does that really mean you gotta close the studios, though? “Right-sizing” is not a word, by the way.

  • That’s some mighty fine corporate-speak there, boss man.

    Why don’t you just say you’re closing the studios because the Aussie dollar is way higher than it was when you opened them, and you can get almost the same quality of work with local studios where communication difficulties due to timezone differences will no longer be a factor.

    You used us while we were cheap. At least have the balls to come out and say it.

  • Its so depressing to face the reality that big studios just seem to struggle in Australia. There’s so much talent here, but once a studio goes beyond the indy stage size it seems destined to failure. With tech becoming the norm, I fear my kids will struggle in this country as we get left further and further behind. I hope they don’t want IT jobs… *sigh* Sorry to all those who’ve lost their jobs. 🙁

  • As someone who spent five years working at THQ, I can honestly say that the team at Blue Tongue are the hardest working development team I’ve met in my time in the industry.

    They were bought out by a publisher and tasked with building kids games. They swallowed that pill and went on to showcase their skills and creativity in making de Blob.

    I’m sad to see them go, but they should be proud of what they accomplished despite it all.

    Well done folks and good luck.

  • What I understand from this is they’re going to stop making movie adaptions, but also kill creativity and originality to focus on riding existing IP into the ground and shoehorning innovation into narrow boundaries.

    Why does this sound like a step backwards?

    Also, my condolences to Blue Tongue and THQ Brisbane employees.

  • Nick Hagger is one of the hardest working blokes in the Aussie industry and I’m sorry to see BT get this treatment.
    Good luck to him and I guess good luck to THQ on the social media games front and trying a new MMO out.

  • My thoughts are with you, guys. I tried so hard to recommend De Blob 2 to everyone I could, but I was almost universally rejected.

    I hope you guys can find another way to develop the games you love.

    • Came here to say something along these lines, the [b]de Blob[/b] series was such an underrated gem.

      It sold poorly because it’s a kids game but not, there was a certain element of planning that was required to make it through the levels and it was a decent challenge (though I did play through without upgrades for the trophy, so that might skew my opinion)

      I’ll also admit there were many times I failed levels because I was exploring and forgot all about the time limit, it just happened, really got sucked into the world with general exploring and having fun with all the bright pretty colours!

      Best of luck to all the guys and gals in the THQ AU offices.

  • Sounds like it was just too expensive to continue operating in Australia. If it was about original IP then Blue Tongue should have stayed open as they created the new IP “De Blob”. It’s a shame we can’t compete in this arena.

    • No, Blue Tongue didn’t create the de Blob IP, they actually came up with very little original IP over the years. They were cheap, and that’s why the spent the last years doing bread-n-butter work. Cue GFC and a rising AU$ and the numbers weren’t there anymore.

  • Im going to Miss BTE They had Some Good games over the years.
    Just like Pandemic they made Star wars Battlefront one of the best games of all time Fondly Remembered and they were closed.

  • Bollocks. Companies make large wads of cash from licenses, that’s why there’s shedloads of licensed games, and while there will continue to be in the near and distant future. Makes me wonder what the real reason is.

  • I feel terrible for not buying De Blob 2 right now =[ I used to drive past the Blue Tongue studio on the way to work and felt jealous.

    I wish all at both studios a hasty re-employment in the industry (and I promise to buy your game from now on!!)

  • Well honestly its a matter of time before all Aussie development studios are gone. Our wages and development costs are just far too high.

    Shame to see any studio go though.

    • oh wait, this is a second article.

      My comment from the other article:
      As an employee for an American software company (no, not games) I can tell you the real reason behind this is probably more related to the high aussie dollar.

      When my company opened their office in Australia there were nearly 200 people working here. We’re now down to 75 in Melbourne and 25 in Sydney.

      The higher the dollar rises the more expensive my Australia office becomes, as the offices budget is in US dollars. What used to cost $1 million in wages 10 years ago now costs my company $2 million.

      THQ Brisbane is probably in the same boat. The THQ US sees the products they’re producing, sees the rising cost of the office, sees their economy going down the shitter and does whatever they can to cut costs. For an American company, closing down an office that is now costing double to fund than what it used to is always a good looking cut.

      So I don’t think it’s a case of Aussie Devs accepting crappy jobs, Aussie devs really need to just work for themselves, not report to a US corporation.

      • Although they wont say it, its more than likely that this is why they are shutting down. Its just too expensive for a publisher based in the US.

        I agree that we need a way of supporting ourselves for funding but its so difficult to get the money in the first place.

        A game studio doing self publishing can be a
        nightmare as well. A (now closed) game company in melbourne tried it once and it just cost too much to be efficient.

    • What exactly do you think an Australian-based publisher is going to do?

      It’s questionable as to whether or not we need publishers at all any more. Distribution is easy and there are alternative routes to finance.

      In any case, we have at least one local publisher (http://www.n3vgames.com/).

      • Its more than just the case of we have none or need more publishers. The problem also resides in the australian market.

        Local publishers feel/believe that there is just no audience for the type of games that people are expecting to be made.

        What i mean is that we will continue to see Australian sports and educational games unless something changes in our market.

  • This is a very sad day. My thoughts go out to all of you, my great friends and colleagues at Bluetongue. I’ll always look back on my time at BTE with the fondest of memories. I just wish I was still there with you all now 🙁

  • It’s such a shame they are closing. At the very least it would have been nice to see them get merged with a US studio like 2K Australia did a while back……but i guess THQ didn’t want that.

    RIP Blue Tongue And THQ Brisbane 🙁

  • Hmm it’s also interesting that THQ is looking to fill some PR roles in Sydney and Melbourne (from what I gathered on Seek), wonder if this has anything to do with it?

  • How many people are actually left in active paid roles within the Australian game development industry now? Like, 750?

  • If this were the automotive or construction industry, people would be falling over themselves to politicise the closure and condemn all those involved.

    Because it’s an artistic endeavour which in non-unionised, it won’t even make a sound in the forest of dead industry.

    This is a terrible day for Australia.

  • mark, maybe you could contact government people and find out why australia has very little support for the games industry. there’s no reason why we can’t produce games of assassin’s creed quality right here, we have the people and the skills, we only lack the funding. we have such a large indie games culture here and it looks like that’s all we’ll ever be able to get.

  • THIS MAKES ME ANGRY! And sad!

    The de Blob games were easily some of my most favourite of this generation, particularly because of that bangin’ soundtrack. The only thing that could possibly have beaten it in those stakes was HotD Overkill. Really sad to see these guys go 🙁

  • Sorry to her the bad news, the Bluetongue guys I know are standout folk and I wish them all the best.

    I know it might be a bit unrealistic but I would LOVE to see the BTE crew stick together and go back to their indie roots, and crack out an original IP. Any millionaire philanthropists out there?

  • EA OWNS FIREMINT

    While I know it sounds like I’m fear mongering, since there probably won’t be a problem with that, it still worries me. I can practically count all the safe publisher-owned companies on two hands, and even some of them aren’t safe (shake up at Infinity Ward.)

    • I wouldn’t call that fear mongering, the memory of what Midway did to Ratbag is still fresh in many people’s minds.

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