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Naughty Dog Co-Founder Becomes THQ President

May 29, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

It’s no secret that THQ has been in a bad way, with costly mistakes like the U-Draw Tablet hurting the company, just as it had to struggle with the shrinking market for mid-sized games. To help turn things around, THQ has brought on Naughty Dog Co-Founder Jason Rubin as their new President.

Rubin will be responsible “for all of THQ’s worldwide product development, marketing, and publishing operations” and will report to THQ’s  Chairman and CEO Brian Farrell.

Co-founder of the now-Sony-owned Naughty Dog, Rubin was the co-creator and game director of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter which have sold over 40 million copies worldwide. Rubin also co-founded media mashup tool Flektor which was acquired in 2007 by Fox Interactive Media. Jason Kay was the other co-founder of Flektor, and will become THQ’s new Chief Strategy Officer.

Brian Farrell said:

Jason’s proven track record in the industry speaks for itself, and he is one of the brightest minds in the business. We believe he can be a game changer and can contribute immensely to executing on our strategy of delivering quality connected core game experiences.

Jason Rubin added:

THQ has incredible internal and external game development teams, and an exciting slate of games in its development pipeline. The recent transformation of THQ into a creator of wholly-owned IP has placed it in a perfect position to leverage future trends in the game business. I look forward to working with the management team and board to realize the company’s goals.

The press release for the announcement then went on to boast how THQ is focusing on “wholly-owned IPs”, before highlighting South Park: The Game and WWE ‘13.

Danny Bilson, EVP Core Games will leave THQ “to pursue other interests”. Brian Farrell commented on the departure, saying:

Danny has made significant contributions to THQ, and we thank him for his efforts.

Dave Davis, SVP Core Studios will also be leaving, with Farrell continuing:

Along with Danny, Dave has been instrumental in getting our strong pipeline into production.

It will certainly be interesting to see if Rubin can inject some of the Naughty Dog spirit into the THQ development scene and help turn the company around. It is also refreshing to see a revamp for a major company that is struggling that only affects a few higher up employees rather than hundreds of developers or the closure of studios.