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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.
Gamers often didn’t know what to make of THQ. The publisher built its empire on the backs of tie-in games based on Nickelodeon and Pixar properties such as SpongeBob SquarePants and The Incredibles. But they also produced intriguing original games such as Saints Row: The Third and Darksiders. They were even the initial driving force behind Evolve, one of 2015’s most anticipated games. But that all changed when the company went bankrupt early last year.
So what happened? Tracey Lien, writing for Polygon, set out to discover the answer by talking to as many former THQ employees as she could including the charismatic (but possibly crazy) Danny Bilson. Her portrait of a publisher in free fall makes you wonder, could anything have been done?
Many blame the company’s fall on the licensed games well drying up. Some pin it on the commercial failure of the company’s uDraw tablet for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Others point to poor management and too many risky bets.
“There isn’t any one, isolated event that killed the company,” says a former THQ executive who asked to not be named. “This was one of the most successful video game businesses in America. We were a billion dollar company. It was complicated.”
THQ suffered a “death by a million spider bites,” the executive says.
The full article is available for your perusal at Polygon.
If you missed out on Saints Row: The Third in the last year, have no fear, THQ is here. The publisher has announced “The Full Package,” a special edition of Saints Row: The Third that includes the original and all of the released downloadable content. That includes the three expansion packs (“Genkibowl VII,” “Gangstas In Space,” and “The Trouble With Clones”) and over 30 bonus items in four content packs (“Shark Attack Pack,” “Witches & Wieners Pack,” “Special Operations Pack,” and the “Genki Girl Vehicle Pack”).
“The fans have asked for it, and with the Full Package, we are happy to deliver,” said Kevin Kraff, Vice President, Global Brand Management for THQ. “With all the amazing and over-the-top DLC Volition created, the Full Package now stands as the definitive edition of Saints Row: The Third. For anyone that has yet to play this one-of-a-kind game, it’s time to strap it on.”
Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package will be available for $49.99 on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on November 6.
Here’s what’s new in this week’s PlayStation Store update…
Saints Row: The Third (PS3 Full Game) – Years after taking Stilwater for their own, the Third Street Saints have evolved from street gang to household brand name, with Saints sneakers, Saints energy drinks and Johnny Gat bobble head dolls all available at a store near you.
Need For Speed: The Run (PS3 Full Game) – It’s called The Run. Three-thousand miles of unforgiving asphalt from San Francisco to New York. No speed limits. No rules. No allies. Armed with just his guts and instinct, Jack battles a field of the most notorious drivers ever assembled.
Datura (PSN Game) – In Datura, the player will experience an incredibly unique scenario. As you play Datura, you find yourself in a forest. As you explore this environment, you will be presented with different scenarios in which you have to make a choice, which will determine your end result.
But more importantly, the PixelJunk series has been discounted to $1 apiece in anticipation of next week’s release of PixelJunk 4AM. Scoop ’em up!
Cloud gaming service Gaikai has announced the beta of it’s Facebook app will be available for gamers to try out for free.
Gaikai promises its app will provide “high-end, console quality game experiences” on Facebook through the use of Cloud streaming technology. David Perry, CEO of Gaikai, hopes video game publishers will embrace the service to expand their digital customer base, and underscores the value of letting people try games with no obligation, saying, “The Facebook social graph fuels our mantra ‘Try it for free’, ‘Share it if you like it’, ‘Buy it if you love it’.”
There are a limited number of titles available to play for free in the beta version of the app, which is only currently available in the US and Europe. Saints Row: The Third and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record are available in the US only, while Magicka, Sniper: Ghost Warrior, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Orcs Must Die!, and Farming Simulator 2011 are available in the US and Europe.
To play, you’ll need a broadband Internet connection and Java installed. Gaikai works on PC or Mac in all major browsers. To check out the app for yourself, head over to Facebook and fire up Gaikai right now.
With their January 31 release date, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Soul Calibur V missed the cutoff date for the monthly NPD report, so Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 emerges victorious once again.
Infinity Ward’s latest shooter was followed by string of titles that have been racking up big sales all Winter including Just Dance 3 (#2), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (#3), NBA 2K12 (#4), and Battlefield 3 (#5). And a #8 finish for Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure capped off a strong 2011 for the toy/video game hybrid, including 22% of all accessory sales.
With no major new releases last month, game and hardware sales for January 2012 dropped 38% from the year before when Dead Space 2, which explains the large number of holdovers from 2011.
You can find the complete top ten for January 2012 after the break. (more…)
After struggling financially in 2011, THQ has announced a new focus for their game development divisions. From this point forward, the company will focus solely on “core games” by moving away from kid’s licensed games. THQ has published dozens of Nickelodeon-branded games over the years and, until 2010, published and developed games based on Pixar’s films.
This decision was likely spurred on by the huge sales of Saints Row: The Third, which has shipped 3.8 million copies since its release in November.
“THQ will be a more streamlined organization focused only on our strongest franchises. The success of Saints Row: The Third is an example of what our revised strategy and focus can achieve,” said Brian Farrell, THQ’s President and CEO.
The NPD Group has released their report of the best-selling games in November 2011 and in a stunning upset, the number one spot went to… Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
OK, a stunning upset that is not. And the rest of the top ten wasn’t any more surprising as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim breathed fire on the number two spot and Battlefield 3 was redeployed to the front as the third best-selling game in November.
The industry’s biggest month was able to supply even more new releases for the list as Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (#4), Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (#7), Saints Row: The Third (#8), and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (#9) all earned a spot on the top ten.
In fact, November 2011 turned out to be one of the biggest months for game sales ever. Anita Frazier, a spokesperson for The NPD Group, said, “This November marks the best November on record for sales of new physical content.”
Here’s the full top ten:
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC)
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
3. Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
4. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)
5. Just Dance 3 (Wii, Xbox 360)
6. Madden NFL 12 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
7. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3)
8. Saints Row: The Third (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
9. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
10. Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest week of new releases has finally arrived. More games are released in the third week of November than at any other time of the year and, once again, the publishers have come through with an amazing array of titles including:
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the first Zelda game created exclusively for the Wii.
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), the conclusion to the Ezio trilogy.
- Saints Row: The Third (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), the wildest open world crime game, ever.
- Need For Speed: The Run (3DS, PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360), a game about an illicit cross-country road race, which is just how we like our cross-country road races and our racing games.
- Rayman Origins (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360), the return of Rayman and there’s not a rabbid in sight.
- Jurassic Park (Xbox 360), Telltale’s take on one of the greatest films of all-time. Hold on to your butts.
- Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii), more multi-sport shenanigans with Mario, Sonic, and all their friends.
- Cooking Mama 4: Kitchen Magic, Cooking Mama brings her culinary skills to the 3DS for the first time.
- Shinobi, Sega’s favorite ninja also comes to the 3DS for the first time.
- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy, Namco Bandai’s fight sim comes to the 3DS for the first time as well.
- Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (PS3, Xbox 360), the ultimate crossover fighting game.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the full list of the rest of this week’s new releases, which numbers close to 70 games, after the break. (more…)