This afternoon, THQ CEO Brian Farrell and president Jason Rubin met with about a hundred of their staff at corporate headquarters in southern California. Tomorrow, most of them will lose their jobs. Within the next few weeks, the video game publisher will disappear entirely. This was their last meeting.
"There were plenty of people crying," said one former employee who preferred that we not use his name. "Brian seemed very emotional."
Although THQ has been struggling for the past year or so, the company still employed hundreds of people, many of whom had no idea what was going on until yesterday. For most of this week, according to the person we spoke to, THQ's employees were just sitting at their desks, checking websites like Kotaku for rumours on what might have been happening during the auction on Tuesday and the bankruptcy hearing on Wednesday.
Yesterday afternoon, Farrell and Rubin sent out a letter: the company would be closing. Everyone would be losing their jobs.
"We had no inside info until that letter came," the former employee said. "So that kinda sucked. But it wasn't a huge surprise by that point... I think people had sort of written off the company a long time ago. It's been a downhill journey steeply for the last year."
Hundreds watched on video-cast during the meeting as Farrell and Rubin thanked THQ's employees for their service and gave them the rundown on what would happen from there. Some people asked tough questions: one employee, for example, asked why the bankruptcy seemed focused on getting money for the companies that THQ owed, rather than providing money to help employees keep their jobs.
"It's taken its toll on people for sure," the former employee said.
The last days of THQ have not been pleasant for many of their employees: during the time leading up to the announcement that THQ's studios and game properties would be auctioned off, only a few people were told what was happening.
There was one married couple that worked at THQ, the former employee told me. The wife knew about the auction: the husband didn't. So she had to lie to her husband, making up excuses for why she was working 14 hours a day.
"I know people who have worked there for 17 years," the former employee said. "It's hit them hard."
Last night, one THQ employee sent an event invitation to the rest of the staff: Friday afternoon at 3pm, many of the people who once worked at the embattled video game publisher will go to one last party.