It's all about making the "biggest, baddest-ass game," according to THQ. But that's the type of big-budget-demanding environment that is going to change in the future.
The publisher's new boss, Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin, explained how he intends to bring THQ back into the successful limelight. In a recent Game Informer interview , Rubin was asked how THQ expects to compete with EA and Activision, the world's biggest publishers that dump hundreds of millions into their products.
Rubin said he believes the industry "will move closer to what we see in the PC model emerging now," which allows for a diverse lineup of games in terms of size and type. He cites Portal as an example of a great 90+ game that is not a Call of Duty . So can THQ make those elite 90+ titles with the teams they've got under their belt, even without the big budgets? Rubin believes so, provided the teams are "properly led:"
"The first Company of Heroes was a 90-plus rated game, and done by Relic, one of our internal studios. It’s one of the highest-rated RTS games. Why they didn’t do another Company of Heroes until now I can’t answer for you because I just started seven days ago. I will say this company has in it the ability of making a 90-plus rated game.
The Volition guys; incredibly talented. Under the restrictions that they’ve been under in this company in terms of the budget and time schedule they’ve had for their products, to put out a game that doesn’t necessarily compete toe to toe with Grand Theft Auto, but comparably, it’s amazing what they’ve done with what they’ve had. That team, properly funded, properly led, and properly allowed to create, I believe can create a 90-plus rated title.
Vigil; incredible art sense. I believe properly led, given the right framework, and with some of the knowledge I have from making 90-plus rated games, can make a 90-plus rated game. Our other internal studio at Montreal is capable of making a 90-plus rated game. The answer to how you make a 90-plus rated game is you take these people and foster their creations – not make a lot of other titles as well. That’s what I plan to do."
Company of Heroes , Saints Row , Darksiders . See? THQ does have some strength. It's just a matter of focusing on that strength in the long-term.