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The company has resorted to drastic measures to stay in business and rebuild its pipeline, which was once packed with hastily assembled licensed fare and colorful games meant to enthuse a younger demographic. In shifting fully to hardcore products like Darksiders 2, THQ shirks the playfulness implied by its name – derived from "Toy Head-Quarters" – and gets down to serious business. If not irreversible, the situation has at least begun to reek, no thanks to the bodies sacrificed on an altar of second chances. The studio closures, layoffs, executive shuffles, and major cancellations (like Insane, a horror game conceptualized with film director Guillermo del Toro) are beginning to pile up.
We look to Darksiders 2 as a portent of THQ's recovery, though Death is not the single savior so much as an ironic proof of life. If the beleaguered corporation can effectively produce and market this important milestone – the kind of high-quality, traditional game that must sustain it from now on – it gives us reason not to write off the other THQ franchises that are on the cusp of widespread popularity. The "AAA" market is probably the worst place to make a last stand, considering the endangering expenditure required to make a big impact.