Per Pressemitteilung hatte Sega in der vergangenen Woche nur bestätigt, was ohnehin bekannt war: Der Publisher hat Relic Entertainment aufgekauft, nachdem das bisherige Mutterschiff des Teams Insolvenz anmelden musste und versteigert worden war. Was genau der Hersteller für 26,6 Mio. Dollar vom eigentlichen Studio abgesehen erworben hat, ist nicht wirklich klar. In der Botschaft war nur von "einigen Marken THQs" die Rede.
Dass dazu zumindest die Company of Heroes-Marke gehört, war naheliegend, ist diese doch eng mit Relic verknüpft. Auch hätte Sega wohl kaum derartig tief in den Geldbeutel gegriffen, wenn man für jenen Preis nur das Studio, nicht aber dessen aktuelles, recht weit fortgeschrittenes Projekt bekommen hätte.
In einer Post im offiziellen Forum meldete sich Quinn Duffy zu Wort und teilt mit: "Relic und Company of Heroes 2 sind intakt." Man werde weiter an dem RTS-Titel arbeiten, durch die Trennung von THQ müsse man jetzt aber einige Lücken füllen. So gebe es z.B. derzeit keinen offiziellen Community-Manager, so der Game Director.
Duffy bedankt sich auch ausführlich bei THQ - das Unternehmen habe schließlich Spiele wie CoH oder Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War überhaupt erst ermöglicht. Was unter der Sega-Flagge passieren wird, könne er noch nicht sagen: Jeder, der Google nutzen kann, wisse genausoviel wie die Entwickler selbst. Man gehe aber davon aus, dass der Neueigentümer das zu schätzen weiß, was Relic eben macht - und will, dass man dies fortsetzt.
First off, I’ll be posting this on a number of different community sites – sorry up front for the form-letter nature.
So, big news over the last few days, some bad, some good.
First off the bad news. I’m sure most of you will know this; some very good people have lost their jobs, and a company with a long legacy and a great relationship with Relic is no more. I’d like to express on behalf of the COH2 team and – I hope – the community at large our sincere thanks and admiration for what THQ has done for Relic and for our games over the years. They brought you Company of Heroes, and they worked hard to keep us going through the years. We shared stresses and triumphs and got more done with limited resources than I dared think possible because we worked with smart, resourceful people doing their best every day.
Publishers are much maligned, big game companies are often seen as evil yet the fact is they facilitate our hobbies as consumers, they help us enjoy the love of gaming and they bring enjoyment to millions. Do they do it as a business? Yes, of course, but their role is critical yet often disparaged. Truth is, a company like Relic could not deliver a game like Company of Heroes on its own. We could not ensure millions of players enjoy Dawn of War or Space Marine. We could not fund or develop raise awareness of Company of Heroes 2 on our own – it takes a real partnership.
It has always boggled my mind when we start putting credits together at the end of the game and you see just how many people it takes to get a big game finished. For a developer like me, a publisher isn’t a faceless corporation; THQ was Tony, Simon, Jon, George, Suzanne, Danny, and Bobby. It was Jason, and Ron, and Brian. I want to thank them all. These were people we spent time with and laughed with, we traveled together over great distances, we shared stories of our families, we faced challenges. THQ was people we spoke with every day, people who exhibited great passion about our games and the industry. We’ll see their contributions again soon, I’m sure.
The good news is that Relic and Company of Heroes 2 are intact. Relic will continue moving forward with Company of Heroes 2, but we have some gaps on our team in the short term. As you know we’re without our community manager, Bobby. Special thanks to him for his tireless efforts and the great rapport he built in the COH community.
What’s next? I can only personally speculate that Relic has unique value for Sega; that they liked what we were doing, and that they will want us to continue what we are doing. I know they’re excited. Apart from that, we don’t have a lot we can talk about yet – if you can use Google, you likely have the same information we do. We promise we’ll try to tackle the transition as efficiently as possible so that we can get back to Company of Heroes 2 as quickly as we can.
The team is raring to go, we’re as happy as we can be about our situation, and COH2 is looking and feeling better every day. Our joy at being able to continue on the game we love is tempered with concern for our colleagues at THQ and other studios but as clichéd as it may sound, the show must go on.