THQ has "hit the bottom" but is now rebounding, says CEO

Plus, Farrell explains why it gave up on UFC.

THQ has hit rock bottom, so says CEO Brian Farell, but has now started to bounce back.

Speaking in an interview with Venturebeat, Farrell explained that though it's been a tough 12 months for the publisher the future is looking bright, thanks in part to the arrival of new company president Jason Rubin, who formerly founded Uncharted developer Naughty Dog.

"I think we have not only hit that bottom, but we're starting to pull out a little bit. Don't take my word for it, but if you look at our Q4 financial results, we look at that as a template for our future," he said.

"We have high-quality games. A lot of the upside came from the digital downloads coming from Saints Row: The Third. So you ship a successful game, and the follow-on digital revenue is really strong. We had great cash flow as the result of those two things.

"Every one of the games we're showing [at E3] has some kind of awards or nominations hanging from them. The focus is working.

"Now, we're not declaring victory yet," he continued. We have a boatload of work to do. But getting Jason Rubin was a huge win. He is a smart, creative, but disciplined guy who has a vision to do even better on the core side. We also share a vision for where the industry is going and where the core business is going on a digital level. I'm personally re-energised. I think a lot of the company is too."

THQ has been forced to make a series of job cuts in recent months, has stopped production on Tomonobu Itagaki's new action IP Devil's Third and has scaled its planned Warhammer MMO back to a traditional retail title.

Elsewhere in the interview, Farrell also explained why it had handed its UFC license over to EA. Apparently the game just hadn't quite brought in enough revenue to turn a profit.

"Our CFO Paul Pucino has said break-even on a game is around two million units, plus or minus. We've also said that we've done about 1.4 million units of UFC 3. An 86-rated Metacritic game, you know what that means in the sports world, that's really hard to do.

"Some people did connect those dots. We were being asked a question, why are you continuing on with this?

"Will UFC be a better platform on EA Sports? I'm sure that's the hope at EA and the UFC, and honestly, we wish them well. I hope to keep going to the events. It's a win-win-win here."

Next up from THQ is Darksiders 2, due out this August.

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