Licensed IPs tend to take one of two forms. They’re either free-to-play titles aimed at mobile markets, or they’re big budget AAA games like Marvel’s Spider Man. There are a couple of studios bucking that trend, though. One of them is THQ Nordic, who are aiming at smaller budget AA titles. According to GamesIndustry.biz, they’re now doubling down on their licensed IPs thanks to the success of last year’s SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated.
THQ Nordic’s CEO Klemens Kreuzer called the game a “fantastic success” for them. It sold over one million copies and he believes it could reach two million units in the future. The result is developer Purple Lamp is now a studio owned entirely by THQ Nordic. They were part of 13 companies acquired by parent company Embracer Group back in November because they did “the perfect job” with SpongeBob. The studio is currently working on The Guild 3, as well as two unannounced licensed games.
Since SpongeBob did so well, Kreuzer now believes “there’s a market for those kind of games. The community was so full of joy”. He continued:
I think the 3D action-adventure platformer genre has an endless life. It may not have been the focus for the past few years, but they’re some of the most enjoyable games you can have just sitting at home on your couch, playing for 20 minutes or two hours. It’s instant access, and it’s fun. That’s what gaming is about, entertaining people.
The future now has both remakes and sequels based on licenses on the horizon. Right now there are 61 games in development between the THQ Nordic studios, covering licensed IPs, already established IPs, and original titles. Of those games, only 21 have been announced. We won’t see some of them until summer 2024, so there’s plenty of time for things to change.
One of the original IPs we’re due to see shortly is Biomutant. The game is due to be released before April 2021 after numerous delays and a lot of radio silence. Despite this, Kreuzer describes the game as “a release of great importance”. We’ll still be here waiting when that time does finally arrive.