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South Park: The Stick of Truth rights go up for auction in THQ’s fire sale

It’s finally out! Check out our review of South Park: The Stick of Truth RPG from Ubisoft.

The credit extension from Wells Fargo, the potential buyouts, the Humble Bundle fire sale, the declaration of bankruptcy, the NASDAQ stock exchange delisting… all the financial turbulence video game publisher THQ has experienced over the past two months has been prelude to Tuesday. Tuesday is the day that THQ begins to auction of its holdings, including valuable intellectual property rights to video game franchises like Darksiders, Saints Row, Company of Heroes, Red Faction, and many others. THQ is attempting to sell more than just IP, though, it’s also looking to sell off its lucrative rights to certain licenses, something at least one license holder is none too happy about. THQ is attempting to auction of its license to South Park, which it currently holds while backing the development of Obsidian RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth. South Park Studios, makers of the show, are none too happy about it.

South Park Digital Studios in particular claims that THQ doesn’t have the right to sell off its contract with the company. According to South Park Studio’s filing attempting to block the auction, THQ would first have to pay the nearly $2.3 million it currently owes the studio. Even if it did that though, the contract (or “deal memo” as it were) already states that the studio has to sign off on any transfer of the contract, and that any purchasing publisher would have to honor the terms of the purchased contract in turn, meaning that they would have to fund Obsidian until it finished the game. It’s a moot point anyway, as the contract also states that South Park Studios has the right to buy back the contract before it’s sold to any new party.

THQ’s response is that South Park Studios is, in effect, full of it. For starters, South Park Studios is only allowed to repurchase the contract if THQ breaches its terms, which it has not. Further down that line of reasoning, THQ claims it does not owe the $2.3 million mentioned in South Park Studios’ motioned, though it is evaluating any outstanding debts to the company and plans to pay them accordingly. Finally, THQ says that it fully intends to find a buyer for the contract that will honor it and see the game to completion.

THQ’s auction will carry on throughout the day. We expect to hear much more about THQ selling off licensing and publishing rights to older games. Double Fine, for example, is reportedly attempting to get back the rights to its downloadable games Costume Quest and Stacking.

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