How did it disappear? Named as a way to shorten “Toy Head-Quarters,” THQ gained notoriety for making licensed games based on Nickelodeon and Disney cartoons, as well as numerous pro wrestling hits. (For the record, the wrestling games are good, the cartoon games are bad.) Around 2009, the publisher decided to start investing more in original franchises instead of kiddie fare, trading SpongeBob and Pixar for Saints Row and Darksiders. From a quality standpoint, the company had never been making better games, but the financials didn’t reflect the critical success. After a string of poor investments and low earnings, THQ declared bankruptcy in early 2013, leaving a creepily empty office behind.
Why did it come back? THQ didn’t have much cash saved up when it shuttered, so it paid its creditors by selling off popular franchises one by one, with a big chunk of titles--such as Red Faction and Darksiders--going to Nordic Games, a company many had never heard of. In 2014, Nordic purchased the THQ brand itself, with intentions of publishing titles under the defunct banner. Why use a name some associate with failure? To quote Nordic’s Klemens Kruzer, “There were so many articles with the headlines ‘Who the fuck is Nordic Games?’ We said, “Okay, they were right.”