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THQ lays off San Diego staff after giving up UFC license

THQ lays off San Diego staff after giving up UFC license

June 5, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

THQ has laid off an undisclosed number of employees at its San Diego studio, following Electronic Arts' announcement on Monday that it had taken over the publisher's Ultimate Fighting Championship license.

The struggling company had exclusively released games based on the mixed martial arts brand since 2009, but EA has secured a multi-year, multi-product partnership with UFC. It's the latest in a number of publishing rights THQ has given up recently, including deals with Marvel (Avengers), Adidas, and DreamWorks.

"THQ confirms that today's announcement regarding the UFC license transition will affect the company's San Diego studio," said the company's communications VP Angela Emery in a statement provided to Gamasutra. "THQ is working closely with those relevant staff to either find possible employment within the company, or potentially with EA."

The UFC franchise was a critical one for THQ, and the most recent release provided a bright spot in an otherwise dark quarter for the company after generating higher-than-expected sales. As part of this transition, EA has made an unspecified cash payment to THQ to end its exclusive partnership with UFC.

The San Diego team is best known for developing multiplatform wrestling game WWE All Stars. THQ purchased the studio from Midway when that publisher went bankrupt in 2009, paying $200,000 plus liabilities to take over the development house and its some 100 employees. The group was previously responsible for Midway's TNA Impact games.

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