Squandering THQ’s assets and how Nintendo failed us

Old news is, as they say, old, but the catastrophe that was the total dismantling of THQ is still resonating throughout the industry. Tough as it is to accept, THQ’s prized properties are long gone, auctioned off to the highest bidder. Finding new homes with the likes of Koch Media, Crytek, Take 2, Ubisoft and SEGA, there’s one party who could’ve benefited the most from this company Steam sale – Nintendo. The final gavel may have been dropped on this case, but my issues with Nintendo’s indifference are just beginning.

Over the past decade, Nintendo has been the hot button topic of both defensive and aggressive arguments. Why won’t they create quality Star Fox and Metroid games anymore? Where’s the hardcore games? Why aren’t they taking online gaming seriously? What happened to their creative capacity? It’s an infinite debate that, in the end, pleases no one and brings out the very worst in gamers. Despite what anyone believes, Nintendo does make quality titles that are enjoyable to almost every class of gamer. However, there is some truth to the questions stated above.

Remember when we thought this might be a good idea?

In the past, I’ve written about Nintendo’s announcements, state of well-being, even their previous Nintendo Direct showcase that had everybody buzzing. It’s worth mentioning that I’m not a Nintendo hater, but I am critical to their actions. It’s hard not to appreciate what they’ve done for the medium, but as a self-respecting gamer I still call into question some of their actions. It’s no secret that Nintendo’s biggest weakness has been the lack of third-party support – that is, quality third-party support, which provides a nice variety to any console’s catalogue. Granted, Nintendo is giving us Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U, but they’re going to need more than that this time around.

Already the Wii U has displayed its fair share of problems and we’ve given some of our thoughts about the system as a whole. Without any absolute must-own title, it’s not doing so well in the retail world and that brings up issues of the near future. Yes, yes, Nintendo has announced a new Zelda, Mario, Mario Kart, Yoshi title, and Luigi themed games, but that’s to be expected. Since Sony is poised to make their next-gen announcement in the coming days, Nintendo needs a trump card to get their fans excited for the future; Nintendo needed some of what THQ was basically giving away.

Timed exclusive? We’ll see, but it’s a start.

In case you haven’t seen the numbers, here’s a nice look at who went where for how much in the THQ super company Steam sale of the ages. In almost every area, with the exception of Relic, I feel Nintendo missed out on a golden opportunity to reinvigorate ailing fans. Instead of constantly and predictably continuing the same first-party game announcements, imagine if Nintendo revealed something completely out of left field; imagine if they did the impossible. What if Nintendo got up on the big screen and announced the acquisition of Volition along with Saints Row and Red Faction? What if Nintendo revealed they’d be picking up Vigil Games along with the Darksiders franchise? Think about it. What would you do? How would you react?

I’ll tell you; the world would explode in a fit of joy.

Along with their prestigious and classic lineup, these new properties would easily have propelled Nintendo into the hardcore gamer’s heart and maybe give more of a reason to pick up a Wii U. It’s tough to assume what might have become of the franchises, but in my mind it was a risk Nintendo should have been willing to take. Clearly they don’t intend on making the titles fans annually ask for (2D Metroid anyone?) so why not roll in a battle-tested formula? Nintendo missed an absolutely huge opportunity in gaining a massive boost to their catalog and, most importantly, the favor of gamers everywhere.

Oh, Nintendo…

Terrible as this time was for THQ, I was half-excited at the prospect of Nintendo picking up something, anything from the scraps left over; they did nothing. Even if the only property they picked up was Darksiders, there’s tremendous potential locked away in that franchise and it’d give gamers a true mature alternative to Zelda. Nintendo could have been the unsung heroes of this time period, not only saving hundreds from a jobless existence, but for showing the energy that they hope to instill back into their own library.

For a menial amount of funds, Nintendo could have easily metamorphosed their picture that’s been so profoundly painted in their distinct business-manner. Instead, they opted for the safe route – something that’s all too familiar to them. Maybe someday we’ll get the games we’ve been asking for and, maybe, we’ll finally see a Nintendo that’s willing to take these lost chances and turn them into gaming gold.