Ex-THQ developer Volition has described the impact the publisher's closure had on the development of Saints Row 4, recalling the "nerve-racking" few months the developer faced during the company's final moments, before describing its new owner Deep Silver as a "great partner".
"It's been nice, actually," Saints Row 4's senior producer Jim Boone told VideoGamer.com while discussing the developer's acquisition by Deep Silver. "Within the office, I think for the average Volition employee you almost don't even notice there's a difference. Which is a good thing.
"When we were going to through this process, obviously we're human and so you're kinda wondering what's going to happen and who's going to end up being the publisher. And what is this going to mean? Do we even get bought? Because obviously some of the people at THQ, they didn't, and they're out of a job. So it was a bit nerve-racking but we were very hopeful with Saints Row that everything was going to work out."
It did, of course. Volition and its open-world IP were snapped up by Dead Island publisher Deep Silver for $22.3 million during THQ's assets auction.
Multiple other THQ-owned studios and intellectual properties were also auctioned off, including developer Relic and its upcoming Company of Heroes 2, THQ's Montreal studio and Obsidian's comedy-RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth.
"Klemens [Kundratitz, CEO, Koch Media], was able to come and visit Volition," Boone continued, "and if you've ever been to Champaign or know where we are, we're in the middle-of-nowhere Illinois, so just the fact that he was willing to come out and visit with the studio and talk with us, it was actually very comforting. He's a really nice guy, he's very down to Earth, he really shares a lot of values that we do.
"So they've been a great partner, and it's still the early phase but everything seems great right now, so we're pretty excited about that... But the high level support and how much they appreciate what we're doing has been really great, we've really enjoyed that."
"Even within THQ we were pretty separate," adds Saints Row 4's design director Scott Phillips. "We were hundreds of miles away from THQ corporate so we would only occasionally get visited, so we were always a kind of insular studio. And I think that allowed us to much more easily transition to [Deep Silver's ownership]."
But how did the transition to Deep Silver affect Saints Row 4's development?
"Ultimately it didn't," Boone continued. "As the producer I was keenly interested in how the team would react and what does it mean to the schedule and everything. I will certainly not lie and say that it was totally unaffected because really, the biggest impact to us was there was a lot of time when we were just - all of us as an entire studio - wondering who is going to come out and what is this going to mean?
"And then for myself personally, we had a lot of different publishers come and visit the studio and so we were constantly having to do demonstrations and go over all of our products and talk about our long-term plans, and that just by definition will take some time.
"But the good news at least is that the bulk of the team, they didn't have to get interrupted by that so they were still full speed ahead on the project.
"If anything, I think the only impact was just that there was a distraction while we were all anxiously awaiting the results of what [THQ's closure would] mean," Boone continued, "so I think things could have slowed down a little bit during development, but not such that I think it's impacted the date or the quality of the game."
"We never stopped developing, we were going the whole time," adds Phillips. "We pretty much knew Saints Row is going to continue. Unless we're all fired, Saints Row is going to continue. So that wasn't a big worry. It was kind of akin to like December when a lot of people are out for holidays. It was certainly nerve-racking but it wasn't a huge deal."
Saints Row 4 launches on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on August 23.
Source: VideoGamer.com Interview