By now you know that Austrian company Nordic Games Group purchased many of the remaining properties from the collapsed THQ. That includes Red Faction, MX vs. ATV, and Darksiders (and about another 150 others).
Following the auction, GamesBeat caught up with Nordic Games founder and chief executive officer Lars Wingefors. We asked what got him involved in the bidding and what his plans for the future are. He explained that he wanted Nordic in on the bidding as soon as he found out that THQ was going bankrupt.
“I wanted the smaller assets,” Wingefors told GamesBeat. “Pretty much everything that was left after the February auction. We were part of the auction in December, but we decided not to go for one of the big IPs because it was just too much money. I don’t want to own a studio. I’d rather own the rights to the IP.”
That’s what ended up happening.
On Monday, the results of the second auction went public. Homeworld went to Borderlands developer Gearbox, and Nordic got just about everything else for $4.9 million.
How are these games worth $4.9 million?
Now, the question is what’s next for these games? But we also wanted to know what makes them worth nearly $5 million to Wingefors.
“Why not? I know how well the game did as physical products,” he said. “I know the millions of gamers that bought them. I know the math of the commercial side of it. Most of the titles that are producing income generate revenue every minute.”
Nordic first plans to cash in on catalog sales. Wingefors wants to let the quality games he now owns work for him by generating revenue through digital platforms.
“It will be a long transition period,” he said. “Most of the titles are already available online, but a lot of the assets aren’t available. That’s one of our first goals: to bring these games to online retailers.”
So keep an eye on Steam, Amazon, and Good Old Games, but Wingefors even wants to talk to Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft about getting some of these older titles on their platforms.
“I realize the potential of this,” said Wingefors. “I realize that THQ spent a lot of money on these games, and it had a lot of talented studios making great games.”
Nordic hopes the future sales of those catalog games will pay for the investment on their own, but Wingefors doesn’t just want to sit on his new IPs while they grow stale.
The future of Darksiders, Supreme Comannder, and more
“A lot of those developers are still around,” said Wingefors. “Now we just need them to stand up and tell us if they’re interested in doing something new with these properties.”
Nordic wants to approach the teams that originally built these games.
“I believe firmly that we should try to work with the original creators first to see if they want to bring out sequels,” said Wingefors. “They would be best fitted to take the games back to their roots.”
While going back to the original creators is probably one of the best options, it’s not always possible. The team that created Darksiders has dissolved and then Crysis developer Crytek absorbed many of them for a new studio. In cases like that, Nordic will have to look elsewhere.
“I do expect new titles from these properties in the next few years,” he continued. “I have a team in Austria, and they know these products really well now. They’ve had conversations over the past 72 hours about making something good happen with these IPs.”
Although Darksiders fans probably shouldn’t rejoice quite yet. Wingefors worries about the scope of a project like that.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say something will happen with the largest IPs, like Darksiders, only because its such a big product,” said Wingefors. “It will be easier with the smaller IPs.”
Is Nordic the best company to take over these franchises?
That brought up an interesting point in our conversation. If Nordic would struggle with something like Darksiders, then is it really the best company to take over these properties?
Wingefors paused for a moment before answering.
“It’s hard to say,” he said. “I think so … yes. We’re different. We don’t think like everyone else. I have a plan, and I’m not going to sit on these games. My plan is to make something good with them. We saw, after the auction, everyone on the forums saying: ‘Who the fuck is Nordic Games?’ But we’ve done this for 20 years. I don’t have the ego to mandate my desires across the industry until I have a plan to do something.
“I think we have the people to make this happen.”