Russian Government to Produce ‘Patriotic’ Video Games

Local officials also mull a ban on import of foreign offerings that “distort historic facts.”.

MOSCOW – Russian authorities said they will produce “patriotic” video games, while import of foreign video games that “distort history” could be banned.

“The main thing we expect from the producers of video games is the realistic and historically truthful representation of events,” Arseny Mironov, an aide to Russia’s culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, was quoted as saying by the Russian daily Izvestiya. He added that the creation of a “negative image of the Russian warrior” is inadmissible.

“A video game has to have not only an entertainment value, but it also has to teach and be conducive to patriotic education,” he went on to say.

The Russian Military History Society, which is headed by Medinsky, is to be in charge of the government’s video game project. The first video game being developed will focus on the inception of Russian military aviation during the First World War. The video game is to be inaugurated in 2014, and the government is currently in negotiations with several local video game developers, but no names have been revealed.

Later, government grants for development of “patriotic” video games are to be introduced.

The culture ministry also expressed concerns about foreign video games, which “discredit the Russian soldier” and “distort historic facts” and said that import of those games to Russia could be banned.

Among the examples, the video game “Company of Heroes,” developed by Relic Entertainment, was mentioned. Russian officials have complained that the game, which isn’t translated into Russian, is popular among Russian teenagers, although it depicts a Russian WWII soldier as a criminal who burns down civilians’ houses.

Incidentally, You Don’t Mess With Putin, a mobile video game in which Russian President Vladimir Putin fights a horde of zombies, is being developed by Belgium’s Michele Rocco Smeets.



Rumor: Ubisoft Looking to Purchase THQ’s Studios and IPs

If a new report proves to be true, Ubisoft is looking to bid on THQ‘s stable of top-notch development studios and their franchises.

Inside sources have told MCV that the mega-publisher is currently eyeing five of THQ’s studios as well as a number of the publisher’s intellectual properties, not the least of which include Saints Row, Darksiders, Company of Heroes, Red Faction, Homefront and WWE.

The report goes on to suggest that while Ubisoft is currently in negotiations with THQ, the company is waiting for the struggling publisher to be forced to sell off its studios at a much cheaper price. Mind you, this is all merely rumor for the time being, but if/when Ubisoft decides to make a move, you can be sure we here at PlayStation LifeStyle will keep you updated on all the details.

What do you think about this potential purchase? Would these franchises be better served under Ubisoft’s wing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Source: psls

Rubin: THQ sale “a new start for our company”

Update: Bankruptcy filing reveals projects Crawler, Evolve, 1664, Atlas in development; projected sales of 4m for Saints Row 4

Jason Rubin

THQ’s president Jason Rubin remains optimistic about the bankruptcy and subsequent sale to Clearlake Captial, calling it “a new start for our company.”

Clearlake confirmed last night it would acquire the business and the majority of its assets – IP, code, studios and contracts – for $60 million.

“The most important thing to understand is that Chapter 11 does not mean the end of the THQ story or the end of the titles you love,” Rubin wrote in a blog post to fans. “Quite the opposite is true, actually.”

He compared the company to US companies that have been through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process and come out the other side – Macy’s, Marvel and MGM, amongst others – and said that games on the release slate will continue to be produced by the same teams.

Titles in that portfolio include South Park: The Stick of Truth, Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and more in the Saints Row and Homefront franchises.

“So THQ made headlines today – and I am sure there will be tons of click-grabbing headlines over the next month or so,” he wrote. “But what matters to us is not what is happening to THQ right now, but what the company and its teams will make of ourselves after we complete the sale.

“In short, the teams will be unburdened by the past and able to focus on what they should be focusing on — Making great games.”

Although Clearlake is scheduled to complete the acquisition of THQ in January, bids for the business will remain open during that time.

The 62 page bankruptcy filing from THQ reveals a number of new projects that have not yet been formally announced.

Vigil is now working on a project with the working title of Crawler, while Company of Heroes developer Relic is also working on Atlas, for release in 2014. Games with the working titles of Evolve and 1664 are also listed.

The company gave estimated lifetime sales of a number of games, including Saints Row 4 which it expects to sell 5 million units and Homefront 2 with 4 million. The South Park game could sell over 3 million units and Metro: Last Light almost 2 million. Evolve and 1664 are down for 4 million units each.

Atlas has no unit sales projections but could contribute over $31 million in sales, suggesting it will be a freemium title.


THQ Delays South Park, Loses Millions, Needs to Raise Capital

THQ has issued its second quarter earnings report, with the investor call announcing a net loss of $21 million for the period ended on September 30. The good news is that it’s better than the $92 million loss the year before, but sales also dipped from $146 million to $107.4 million.

The publisher revealed that it shipped 1.4 million units of Darksiders II in the second quarter, but some analysts don’t think the game will break even. Then THQ announced that South Park: The Stick of Truth has been delayed from March 5, 2013 to early fiscal 2014 (around April or May 2013). On top of that, Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light will see their release dates pushed back to March.

With those games delayed, it will obviously “create a need for additional capital” and has suspended net sales and earnings guidance, as well as withdrawing its previous guidance for fiscal 2013. THQ has begun talks with Centerview Partners LLC to “assist the company in evaluating strategic and financing alternatives intended to improve THQ’s overall liquidity, including raising additional capital, preserve the company’s ability to bring the best possible games to market during the most advantageous release windows and to help address the $100 million 5% convertible senior notes due August 2014.” Some have speculated that the talks could mean THQ is planning to go up for sale.

Jason Rubin, THQ’s President, said:

When I joined THQ the company made a public commitment to quality titles. We always expected that in some cases this would mean that more time would be needed to make sure that every title is of the highest possible quality. Our fourth quarter releases are the first titles that I have had the ability to materially impact, and experience told me that the games needed additional development time to be market-ready.

I believe South Park’s market opportunity is significant. It is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated titles of calendar 2013. It is also an expansive title, encompassing multiple television seasons’ worth of content. We have been working closely with the co-creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, to make sure all of the game’s content performs to the high standards of the TV show, and this takes time. THQ is committed to giving gamers no less than the rich South Park game they have been waiting for and deserve.

We are also inspired by the potential for Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2. I believe Metro: Last Light is a title that should set standards for visuals with its stunning atmosphere, unique location and cutting-edge style. Company of Heroes was one of the highest rated RTS titles in history, and Relic insists that the sequel live up to its pedigree. Giving both of these titles time to reach their full potential is the right thing to do for the products.

THQ is excited about our position and pipeline of games beyond fiscal 2013, including the sequel for Saints Row: The Third, Homefront 2 and the as-yet-unannounced game from Turtle Rock Studios. In total we have ten titles in development for fiscal 2014 and later, almost all of which are based on our own IP. We intend to announce more details about our future slate in the coming months.

I firmly believe releasing our fourth quarter titles without extra time for polish in the current environment would lead to underperformance that could in turn lead to future additional capital shortfalls. But extending development schedules in order to make the best possible titles also has financial implications. Yet there can be no doubt which path has the greatest chance of leading to the long-term success of the company. We must follow the course that generates the highest quality games, and will establish THQ as a mark of quality for the consumer.

Brian Farrell, THQ’s Chairman and CEO, added:

Clearly, THQ faces a number of opportunities and challenges. I am confident about the opportunities that lie in our robust slate of games and in our studios. But we also face challenges operating with limited capital resources in the highly competitive market for games, and we are working diligently to resolve those challenges.

It’s obviously great to see that a publisher is prepared to delay their games to ensure quality, although it is worrying to watch how poorly THQ has performed over the last few years.