The security of studio based game development continues to look grim, as video game publisher THQ has announced their plans to close video game studio Big Huge Games within the next sixty days unless the studio finds a buyer.
The unfortunate news comes just one month after THQ announced several other "restructuring" strategies involving layoffs and closures. After an announcement in February, THQ began to lay off off over 17 percent of its workforce, or around 250 employees. The cutbacks affected THQ employees, and several smaller development studios owned by the publisher. At least two studios were shut down immediately after the announcement, including Stuntman: Ignition developer Paradigm Entertainment and Juiced developer Juice Games.
Big Huge Games however being a higher profile studio in much of the industry's eyes seemed to evade the cuts. With several high profile award winning games under its belt, and well respected developer and former Firaxis co-founder Brian Reynolds at its helm, Big Huge Games was perceived as one of THQ's most valuable development studios. Unfortunately though, much like the recently closed Ensemble Studios, Big Huge Games simply cannot rely on the quality of its game designs and its developers to carry it through the current economic storm.
Big Huge Games is best known for the Age of Empires-esque Rise of Nations on the PC, and the latest Age of Empires 3: The Asian Dynasties expansion pack. Other recent releases include Catan for the Xbox 360, and the very unique Rise of Legends for the PC. The studio had most recently been working on at least two game titles, which are now facing premature death unless another publisher swoops in to save the day.
We sincerely wish the best for the team at Big Huge Games, and hope to report on some better news if a buyer is found in time.