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January 10, 2013

Oh Please, No! EA May Buy THQ’s Assets

My soul is bitterly cringing at the very thought of the idea, but the publishing giant has been named a potential buyer of THQ’s titles. It’s safe to say at this point that THQ is dying off, which will sadden WWE and Saints Row fans alike. This isn’t to say that WWE or Saints Row were ever in competition with each other, but rather that two different crowds in video games came together under one creative roof.

It was back in December that we heard about THQ’s filing for bankruptcy and I blogged about their decline just a few days ago. Since then, a lot of gamers have been worrying endlessly about what will happen to THQ’s games. By all means, they’re a publisher, not a developer, but with the popularity of Red Faction and Homefront, they’ve garnered worldwide popularity.

Let’s break it down: in the gaming industry, there are publishers and developers. By the natural law of events and economics, developers don’t have the money to build and publicize a game by themselves. Why can’t they do this? Because the world is big, and getting a game’s name out to the world is an often tricky and formidable feat if you can pull it off.

So we have the publishers, who have the money and resources to relay the names of their titles to gaming magazines, TV commercials, newspaper ads, online journalism sites and radio broadcasts. Needless to say, they’d need tens of millions of dollars stashed in their pockets (and a great game to market). THQ definitely pulled it off, providing gamers with over a decade of free roam and wrestling classics.

Sadly, their accolades didn’t serve them too well in the past few years with their attempts at the Udraw tablet and the failing sales of Red Faction and WWE. This is a very tough time for the video game industry, and like many before them, THQ’s ship has sunk properly.

Now the question has popped up in regards to where their games will go.

While there have been many contenders theorized by gamers, EA has been named as a potential buyer of THQ’s assets. If you know who EA is, and the travesty that they caused with the Mass Effect 3 ending crisis, then you know why the thought of them being a possible buyer leaves such a sour taste in my mouth.

To back it up, I’ll explain the past few years for you. Mass Effect made its debut on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2007. Like many other multiplatform games, it had a lot to prove, and gave so much more than what we expected.

Gamers were raging all over planets and across dozens of solar systems, discovering minerals and blasting Thresher Maws into oblivion. A series was born from this classic, but the tenderness of Mass Effect 2’s campaign suffered due to a lack of free roam and traditional RPG elements that made the original so appealing.

The problem with this came from the fact that it had been four year since the original game made its splash, and by the time the third installation rolled around, the industry had changed in ways foreign to the original. Assassin’s Creed had begun innovating competitive multiplayer and Gears of War 2 revolutionized the aspect of co-op wave-based gaming. Developers changed their strategy on attracting gamers to an experience that could be replicated, and hence, prolonged in lifespan until another game’s release.

So much attention and worry went into multiplayer, combined with a rushed developing schedule, that Mass Effect 3’s endings all completely crushed four years worth of patient waiting and commitment to characters creation.

The very fabric of Mass Effect’s game play was soiled, and gamers’ souls severely disappointed. EA was named “Worst Company of the Year” in 2011.

If these guys show that kind of attitude to a series that they’d been working on for over four years, one can only imagine the lack of love and support they’ll give to WWE and Red Faction. EA currently controls the Madden and NBA sports games that are annually released, which only hurts their reputation for commitment to proper development periods.

My worries pertain particularly to THQ’s free roam fun-filled Saints Row series, despite my criticisms of the third installment in the past year.

When I first played Saints Row The Third, I was overwhelmed with fun and adventure that can never be duplicated in the style that I experienced. Where Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto chose to attack the aspects of realism in roaming an open world, Saints Row chose to make a parody of it filled with cat mascots and six foot purple dildos.

Yes, absolute ridiculousness is what you will find when driving down the streets of Steelport. This ridiculousness is resented by more mature individuals who enjoy a game that depicts the world outside your window, but it was the wacky world that I fell in love with.

I grew attached to the loud music, big cars, vast customization, amazing weapons and dark humor that followed each stolen helicopter or trip to the gun store. Sure, Grand Theft Auto and Just Cause 2 provide their own unique and considerably superior free roam experiences, but the variety is what truly makes the experience memorable.

I’ll forever be bitter if EA takes the cake, so until then you can count on me to glare and point a mean finger. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.

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