Pink slips at video game studio in Phoenix

Gaming, PlayStation 3, RPGs, Technology, Xbox 360

MX vs. ATV Alive (THQ)

Video game publisher THQ is eliminating a development team at its Phoenix location as part of a reorganization that also shutters two studios in Australia.

The company made the announcement Tuesday in a press release. The changes result in a staff reduction of about 200 people, with all of them eligible to apply for open positions within the company worldwide. It is unknown how many of the affected positions were based in Phoenix, but THQ said a quality assurance team here would continue to operate.

THQ Digital Studios Phoenix, formerly Rainbow Studios, developed the MX vs. ATV off-road racing games, most recently with this year’s MX vs. ATV Alive (pictured above) for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The company has decided to drop further development of the franchise. A company website says Rainbow was founded in 1996 and acquired by THQ in 2001.

THQ president and CEO Brian Farrell said in a statement that the company doesn’t see future profits in games based on movies or licenses popular with children. Instead, the firm will focus on more hardcore games like Saints Row: The Third, coming out in mid-November, as well as branching out into social and mobile gaming with fall’s Jimmy Buffett title Margaritaville Online and hopefully generating revenue with the upcoming online sci-fi roleplaying game Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online.

Farrell also said the aim of this realignment is to focus on “high-quality owned IP with broad appeal that can be leveraged across multiple platforms, and to work with the best talent in the industry.” (Good luck counting the number of corporate cliches and thinly disguised insults contained in just that one breath.)

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