Despite rumours of game cancellations and fighting off a potential NASDAQ delisting, Darksiders-developer THQ appears defiant as they continue to shift their focus away from licensed games towards wholly-owned AAA core titles. While there was a collective intake of breath when it was recently announced Danny Bilson, Executive Vice President of Core Games, would be leaving along with Core Studios Senior Vice President David Davis, THQ has temporarily silenced critics by hiring Jason Rubin, co-founder of Naughty Dog, as their new President.
Brian Farrell, who will remain as THQ Chairman and CEO during the reshuffle, sang Rubin’s praises: “Jason’s proven track record in the industry speaks for itself, and he is one of the brightest minds in the business. We believe he can be a game changer and can contribute immensely to executing on our strategy of delivering quality connected core game experiences.”
Rubin, co-creator and director of PlayStation titles such as Crash Bandicoot and Jax & Daxter, left Naughty Dog in 2004, three years after the developer was acquired by Sony. He then went on to co-create media mash-up tool Flektor along with Jason Kay, who has also been snapped up by THQ. Kay, having worked for Activision and HBO in an advisory capacity, has been appointed to the role of Chief Strategy Officer.
While these key appointments are unlikely to help solve THQ’s immediate problems on the stock exchange, it does signal that the company will continue its shift into a core games market. Coupled with Rubin’s expertise in creating and maintaining new IPs, THQ’s releases from 2013 onwards will hopefully have some of the magic that sparkled in Naughty Dog’s early hits.