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Without a Buyer, Big Huge Games May Go Dark

By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 20, 2009

A local videogame company's shift in focus to stay relevant in the Wii era does not appear to have paid off.

Game publisher THQ said this week that it will shutter its Timonium, Md.-based subsidiary, Big Huge Games, if it doesn't find a buyer for the studio within 60 days. The California-based publisher acquired Big Huge last year, but is now trying to slash its expenses by $220 million.

THQ, best known for tie-in games related to pop culture entities such as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and World Wrestling Entertainment, is also shedding two of its California-based game studios. The company has blamed the economy and weak holiday sales for the move.

Last year, Big Huge Games founder Brian Reynolds announced that his company was changing direction in order to find a new audience on the Wii. Reynolds did not disclose any details about two under-development titles, but said his company needed the deeper pockets of a big publisher such as THQ to develop them.

"Games these days cost a lot of money to make," he said at the time.

THQ and Big Huge Games did not immediately return phone calls late yesterday afternoon.

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