THQ met its end on Wednesday, and while the process of drawing and quartering the video game publisher isn’t complete yet, the majority of its most valuable games have been snatched up by its former competitors. Sega is now the proud owner of Company of Heroes maker Relic and Ubisoft has brought THQ Montreal, a studio populated by former Assassin’s Creed staffers, back in the fold. Not all of THQ’s studios found a new home, though. Vigil Games, maker of the Darksiders series, will be dissolved in the aftermath of THQ’s bankruptcy. What’s more, Vigil was hard at work on a brand new game series. That game won’t survive it seems, but at least one developer wants to keep the Darksiders series alive.
“I failed to find a Vigil a home,” said THQ president Jason Rubin on Thursday, “Having just finished a product, Vigil was farthest from release of their next game, and we were not able to garner any interest from buyers, despite a herculean effort. Additionally, they were working on a new IP, which meant even more risk for a buyer.”
That game, codenamed Crawler, was reportedly going to be a significant step forward for the studio after Darksiders II failed to connect with gamers. “When the times got together recently to show each other their titles, Crawler dropped the most jaws. It’s a fantastic idea and truly unique,” said Rubin.
Vigil’s lead combat designer Ben Crueton took to forum NeoGAF to post his thoughts on the studio’s closure. “Crawler was going to blow people away. In fact it DID blow people away. We did, in TWO months, what many companies haven’t done in a year. The pride of knowing that no one was doing anything like us was so satisfying, it kept us coming to work giving 100 percent every single day, even through the dark times.”
The studio was definitely a hard sell in the beleaguered video game publishing industry. With retail sales on the decline and a console transition on the horizon with Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4, Vigil had years of development ahead of them before Crawler could be released. The studio has a strong critical track record, with both Darksiders games getting generally good reviews, but neither game was a sales blockbuster. Saints Row, Company of Heroes, and even Homefront, the properties purchased by other publishers, are all good bets for their respective buyers at Kock Media, Sega, and Crytek. Vigil was, unfortunately, a very expensive risk.
For fans of the Darksiders series, not all hope is lost. Platinum Games Atsushi Inaba, producer of the upcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, said on Twitter that he’s interested in buying up the franchise if THQ is willing to part with it for cheap. With its hulking leads War and Death and its ridiculous fantasy storyline, Darksiders seems like a perfect fit for the company that created Bayonetta and Anarchy Reigns.