You know, it's funny. Sometimes the biggest success stories in the video game industry come out of left field. For instance, take Deep Silver. A few years ago, the publisher was best known for handheld Duke Nukem efforts. Lately, though, it's been making big moves, with Dead Island: Riptide arriving in stores this week and Saints Row IV and Metro: Last Light slated for later this year. It's funny how a few franchises can turn you around.
And that's probably what Nordic Games is thinking, too. The longtime Swedish company, which handles properties by DreamCatcher Interactive, JoWooD and The Adventure Company that include the likes of Painkiller and Safecracker, has made a huge pick-up as of late on a number of THQ franchises as part THQ's bankruptcy settlement.
The company slapped down $4.9 million as a bid to a number of THQ's licenses, including some pretty big names. We're talking about Darksiders (which had a great sequel come out last year), Red Faction, MX vs. ATV, Titan Quest, Supreme Commander, Frontlines: Fuel of War, Stuntman, Juiced and a number of others. And the company has already begun taking ideas in its official forums, wondering just what suggestions users might have for the future of said franchises.
Some people are disappointed that Crytek, who expressed huge interest in the franchise, didn't pick up Darksiders. But that's not to say that it's dead in the water – nor are any of the other big names that Nordic picked up. Now it's just a matter of seeing what the publisher has in mind for them.
Projects can take time, but they can certainly be worth it. For instance, take DreamCatcher's Painkiller HD, which took a great many months to get finished. But when it finally came out, it was quite a beautiful effort. With the right amount of planning – and an ideal development team to back up the idea – these franchises could easily make a return to form, mainly on the Steam/PC front. (Though console gaming is always a possibility, especially with the PC-like accessibility of the PlayStation 4.)
Some franchises obviously deserve more attention than others. Darksiders has definitely earned a curtain call, if only to see which horsemen step forward for the third chapter of the series. And then you have Red Faction, a series that got off on the right foot with Guerrilla, only to wander a bit with the over-budgeted Armageddon. The others, like MX vs. ATV, Stuntman, and Juiced, might be worth a revisit down the road, but are hardly what you might call "priorities." Still, if the publisher can somehow make them work as affordable alternatives, or introduce some fresh new ideas (and not, say, the "pay-as-you-play" model that MX vs. ATV Alive had), they could easily come back to glory.
Regardless of what Nordic does, this can only be good news for them. Now they have a familiar list of franchises that will no doubt get some attention by fans, while at the same time drawing in a fresh new audience, even if it is mostly PC-oriented. It's just a matter of how to make the games the right way, market them aptly, and then letting them loose for all to enjoy.
Let's see what Nordic does next. This could definitely be a big move for them. Provided they don't just pump out Juiced game after Juiced game, mind you…