THQ's competitors -- namely EA and Activision -- have recently landed publishing deals with high-profile developers, such as Respawn, Bungie and Insomniac, by allowing the studios to own their new game franchises. And while THQ offers its own "Partners" program, the company is still focused on owning franchises.
"I believe in the Hollywood model, which is that, the bigger the artist, the more important, the more successful they are, the bigger share they get," VP Danny Bilson explained to IndustryGamers. "But you know know, most of the biggest talents in Hollywood don't own their IPs. It doesn't work that way. My job coming to this company was to build an IP library, which builds value in THQ. So that means having a developer own the IP becomes a deal-breaker." According to Bilson, THQ had discussions with Respawn's West and Zampella; undoubtedly, Bilson's position made an offer impossible.
While Bilson offers no flexibility in this particular regard, he believes the company has still acquired strong talent by offering "an absolutely better place to work." At this year's E3, the publisher surprised many with the announcement of Devil's Third, a new action IP from the Itagaki-led Valhalla Studios. According to Bilson, other high-profile partnerships will be announced "over the next six months," and he noted, "you're going to go, 'oh my God.'" Considering the incredible turnaround of THQ's portfolio under Bilson's tenure, it's difficult not to share his excitement.