THQ Confirms New Red Faction, Mass Media As 'Tech Shop'

In an investor call following THQ's positive financial results this morning, CEO Brian Farrell revealed plans to release a new title in its Red Faction franchise, also discus
In the investor conference call following the THQ financial results announced this morning, company execs discussed the publisher's plans for coming fiscal year, with CEO Brian Farrell revealing plans to release a new title in the company's Red Faction franchise, adding to original IP from the earlier acquired Stuntman series. Developed by Volition, Red Faction was first released for the PlayStation 2 and PC in 2001, while a sequel followed for the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC two years later. Specifically, when asked by an analyst to list out the six major THQ-owned brands that the company would be concentrating on in the next year, Farrell commented: "As you mentioned, Saints Row, Stuntman, which will be released this year, Juiced, which is a sequel to the product we launched a couple years ago, Destroy All Humans, MX, and my favorite, Red Faction." No timeline or target platform for the franchise's continuation was revealed. In addition, the company commented on continued high expectations for its next-gen sandbox title Saints Row, which was recently announced as being ported to the PlayStation 3, as well as the company's long running WWE wresting franchise. Altogether, Farrell noted that he expected “more than half” of THQ's revenue in the coming year to be derived from next-gen releases, including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. When questioned on the contribution of in-game advertising revenue for the company in 2008, Farrell responded, noting a positive outlook for the company. “This is a growing market, and we have placed ads now in MX, Juiced, Stuntman, and at least one other franchise,” he stated, adding, “Our best estimate is $5 million, but I would not be surprised to see that number go up.” In speaking to today's announcement of the acquisition of Mass Media (Pac-Man Fever), the executive commented on the factors that made the developer enticing for them. “They are a real high-tech shop,” noted Farrell. “We love their platform development tools. I would not necessarily think of them as a development shop that is devoted to creating any one title.” He added: “We think they are going to be a great enabler of our PS3 development, and that was our main thinking in the acquisition.” Finally, sharing THQ's impressions for Wii software sales, since the company had a number of licensed releases such as Cars and Avatar: the Last Airbender already on the platform, Farrell commented that the company is “very pleased with the way the Wii has gone on a number of levels.” “Obviously the hardware has had great momentum, and the software has been very pleasing to us on a number of levels,” he added. “But it is a very typical luanch. We have seen more of a trend toward the early adopter early on, and we think, based on Nintendo's strength with the family and mass market, this is really good for us.” He continued: “If you look back at the last ten or fifteen years, shared games with Nintendo have been very good for THQ, so we're very bullish both on the Wii and DS. We think our product line maps very well to both of those platforms.”

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