The lights are on
Yesterday, Game Informer had the opportunity to interview Nordic Games Publishing about the acquisition of almost all remaining THQ intellectual properties. During our interview, we asked about the publisher's plans for the future of some of the biggest franchises now in Nordic's hands. There is a great deal of uncertainty, and frankly, significant reason for concern.
During our conversation, CEO Lars Wingefors made it very clear that his company had no interest in development. Rather, we should think of Nordic Games as a "middle man." In addition, he was quite clear that the reason they didn't bid in February was that acquiring the IPs would have cost too much and, in there was no desire to absorb Vigil Games.
For comparison, Saints Row and Volition were purchased by Deep Silver parent Koch Media GmbH for approximately $22 million. Wingefors told Game Informer that he doesn't "have those kind of resources." Interestingly, the budgets of the two Darksiders games amount to what Deep Silver paid for Saints Row and Volition. According to an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter, the budget on Darksiders was approximately $20 million. That was boosted to $25 million for the sequel.
With that understanding, it's hard to imagine that Nordic Games Publishing will have the wherewithal to take on multiple major projects simultaneously, especially with Wingefors admitting that there are no plans for even how to begin to work with the new acquisitions, or even if existing servers and digital platform presences for released titles under their umbrella will be in effect following the conclusion of the sale. Throughout our conversation, it became clear that Wingefors isn't sure where to start with his company's new treasure trove.
Given the equivocation, it's critical that I point out that there is absolutely no guarantee about any of Nordic's new intellectual properties. No commitments have been made to develop a new Darksiders title. Red Faction may remain buried on Mars. The Titans may have hung up their questing gear for good. There are a lot of new toys for Wingefors and company to play with, but we don't know which will be coming out of the packaging. It's a safe bet that something will happen with some of the franchises, but which will get attention and which will languish is anyone's guess right now, including Wingefors'.
In stark contrast, Gearbox's Randy Pitchford was ready with a concrete first step for his studio's acquisition of the Homeworld series as soon as the announcement of the purchase was issued. He shared this via Twitter,
Homeworld Step 1: Bring solid, pure builds of the original game and sequel to modern digital PC platforms.
Regardless of their feelings about Gearbox, Homeworld fans know what to expect first from the developer.
It also isn't likely that there will be sales of the bundled properties that Nordic isn't interested in paying to have developed. The significant legal fees involved in this type of transaction (and the related economies of scale, as detailed by Wingefors in our interview) were a motivating factor for the nearly full sweep executed in the auction.
Until the deal is finalized and Nordic is ready to share the plans with the public, fans of Darksiders, Red Faction, Titan Quest, MX vs. ATV, and the other properties will have to keep their fingers crossed. Whether Wingefors' "right team, right terms, and right financial solution" can be found for sequels worthy of these series is unknown to even the company, which just spent $5 million. For the sake of the fans of these rich and varied franchises, we hope the games they are waiting for arrive soon and in top form.