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THQ Drops Stuntman, Juiced Franchises, Closes Concrete Studios

THQ has announced it will no longer be working on its Juiced and Stuntman franchises, has dropped PS3 and PS2 ports of multiplatform releases, as well as two unannounced Xbox 360 and PS3 titles, and is shuttering its Concrete Games studio --
THQ has announced it will no longer be working on its Juiced and Stuntman franchises, has dropped PS3 and PS2 ports of multiplatform releases and is shuttering its Concrete Games studio as it updates its fiscal 2008 guidance. Though the company says it saw better-than-expected sales of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 and MX vs. ATV Untamed, it notes that the costs are offset by underperformance of a number of its titles, including the recently released Stuntman: Ignition, Ratatouille and Conan. For its third quarter, the results of which will be announced on February 5th, it has increased sales guidance to $509 million from $490 million, but has said it will report "approximately $20 million in accelerated amortization expense" due to the under performing titles. THQ CEO Brian Farrell has previously called out Juiced and Stuntman's performance by name, noting in October of last year that neither achieved desired play mechanic and overall quality targets, something that was "particularly disappointing" following the performance of games like Saints Row. "This is not acceptable," said Farrell at the time, "and we've taken steps to address it." Along with the cancellation of the two franchises, THQ says it has also canceled the PS3 version of Frontlines: Fuel of War and the PS2 version of Destroy All Humans!: Big Willy Unleashed, now a Wii exclusive. It has also canceled two unannounced titles for Xbox 360 and PS3 that were expected to be released in fiscal 2010, and closed its Concrete Games studio, which was working on one of the unannounced games. The publisher says a number of Concrete employees will be offered positions in other internal studios, and will see financial repercussions of the closure stated on its fourth quarter earnings. Its fourth quarter is now expected to see sales of $200 million, down from the previous $240 million guidance, due to "the significant online play component of Frontlines: Fuel of War on Windows PC, the revised expectations now include the deferral of approximately $10 million of revenue from that title" and the cancellation of the Destroy All Humans PS2 port. In a separate statement, the publisher also announced the hiring of former EA creative director and intellectual property development VP Danny Bilson as its new worldwide creative development VP, and the promotion of THQ's Rainbow Studios (MX vs. ATV Untamed) general manager Roy Tessler to worldwide prodiction VP. Said Farrell in a statement, “In October, we announced certain product quality initiatives, including personnel and structural changes in product development and a more rigorous internal and external product evaluation and feedback process. Consistent with these initiatives, we have taken actions to strengthen our pipeline and position ourselves to compete aggressively with compelling, high quality games.”

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