Vigil Games and Relic Entertainment targeted in downsize operation

THQ to axe 120 jobs across studios

Beleaguered publisher THQ has cut some 120 employees from its game development network, as the company looks to streamline the business to ease costs.

Some 80 positions will be made redundant at Texas outfit Vigil Games, while another 40 will go at Vancouver studio Relic Entertainment.

The latest bout of sweeping redundancies mark the fifth downsize operation THQ has announced in three months.

Dismal sales of peripheral game U-Draw resulted in 30 job cuts in December, while in January an unspecified number of people were axed at the firm’s administrative and publishing departments.

Then in February, as speculation over the grave health of the company was at its most intense, THQ announced it would lay off 240 workers, primarily in non-development roles.

Later that month the company reportedly closed its Japan publishing arm, though the report was never confirmed.

The company is preparing to axe more than ten per cent of staff, primarily in non-development divisions. CEO Brian Farrell – who has faced calls to resign – will have his salary halved, from $720,000 to $360,000.

THQ has to push its share price above $1 within a matter of months to avoid being delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange.

THQ reported a net loss of £35 million for the last three business months of 2011.

Its CEO, Brian Farrell, as agreed to have his base salary halved to $360,000 for twelve months.

The publisher has also announced the MMO project Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium will be redesigned as a single-player and online multiplayer game. As much as $50 million has been spent on the game’s production. A development partner is sought to mitigate costs.

"Based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features," Farrell said.

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