In a move that those less inclined to optimism might compare to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, THQ announced today that it had appointed Jason Rubin -- Naughty Dog co-founder, Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter co-creator -- as its new President.
While the news is obviously good from Rubin's point of view, to say that he's taking on a challenging role would be an understatement. He's assuming the reins of a company that:
- is facing NASDAQ delisting for its low stock prices (and is doing a reverse stock split in a bid to avoid that fate);
- recently announced full-year losses of just under $240 million;
- was forced to sell off its budget publishing and development studio; and
- recently announced it was abandoning the highly-anticipated Devil's Third (news which came on the heels of delays or significant changes for Darksiders II, its South Park RPG and its Warhammer MMO).
It's not entirely bad news for the troubled publisher, of course. Saints Row The Third, for example, has played a key role in increasing THQ's digital sales by 44 percent, and Saints Row 4 is apparently on the way. Preorders for Darksiders II are apparently five times higher than those of the first game (plus it looks pretty cool). Metro: Last Light shows promise.
But still, it's never good when "troubled" is the obvious adjective for your company. Clearly, Rubin has had success in the past, but he's going to have to repeat that a few times over if he wants to pull THQ out of its seemingly long, slow death spiral.