Well, now that the fire sale of THQ’s properties and assets is over, we can start to make some kind of sense out of the chaos. It’s always a little disheartening to see such a high-profile publisher leave the arena, but from the ashes a new phoenix always tends to rise. It’s not like all the talented developers and executives that made up THQ are being lined up and executed, after all. Some of the properties even found good homes, so there is some hope shining through the rubble.
But some didn’t.
While interesting properties like Metro, Saint’s Row and South Park: The Stick of Truth all found buyers, one quality name you didn’t see get picked up was Darksiders developer Vigil Games. How did this happen? Was Vigil not deemed satisfactory to somebody’s bottom line? Was the asking price too high? Was the world at large turned off by the fact that I couldn’t beat Darksiders II because of a glitch? I’ll admit that last one isn’t too likely, but damn it, my Redbox tab was accumulating and I couldn’t find a workaround!
I’m trying to make light of the situation, but the reality is that events like these can hit the people involved pretty hard. In a rather poignant NeoGAF post, lead combat designer Ben Cureton showed us that this isn’t some news story to them. It’s the end of a chapter in their life.
”We’ve all been on edge for the past couple months… and more so, the last couple weeks. I mean, I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like to wonder if you will have a job tomorrow. Most of us here joked about it just to keep the mood light, but we all knew what could happen. Now I look around and I realize… it did happen.
I can only hope that those spared from the other companies remain employed long into the future. There is not much worse than false hope, and these people deserve to continue making great games. You may not know their names, but they exist, and they bleed, sweat, and cry for your entertainment. I mean that honestly, with no negativity. They do it… no, WE do it… because we want you to have a good time,” Cureton wrote. It’s not all that gloomy, though. He goes on to postscript, “This is no place for a horse.”
I’m sure there are all sorts of business reasons no one has picked up Vigil or Darksiders yet, and of course it may happen soon, but it just goes to show that, while we all love having fun with our video games, this is first and foremost a business. Tough decisions will be made, and the gaming community may not agree with them all. Why didn’t Vigil Games get picked up? I don’t know, but it’s a shame. Cureton hinted around at a new property called Crawler that we may never get to see. Lead designer Haydn Dalton recently tweeted that there was a “shimmer on a slither of hope, that at one point, there’d be a Darksiders III: 4 Player Co-Op; It rode off into the sunset today.” Oh, to dream.
I’m sure the people that made up Vigil Games will eventually find work somewhere but, as Cureton said, it may not be with the same group of individuals. That’s the sobering reality, but at least we will always have the fruits of their labors to look back fondly on.
Here’s to Vigil Games. Thanks for everything.