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THQ's Bilson steps down, Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin becomes president
THQ's Bilson steps down, Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin becomes president
May 29, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

May 29, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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Troubled publisher THQ announced on Tuesday that Danny Bilson, the EVP of core games, has stepped down from his position, and Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin (pictured) has been appointed as the company's new president.

In essence, Rubin has been tasked with turning THQ around as it faces its most severe financial troubles yet. He will be responsible for all of THQ's worldwide product development, marketing, and publishing operations, and will report to the company's existing chairman and CEO, Brian Farrell.

In addition to losing Bilson, THQ revealed that Dave Davis, the SVP of core studios, has also left the company. As part of the "core games" division of THQ, both Bilson and Davis helped lead the company's transition away from licensed titles and more toward major franchises like Saints Row, Darksiders, and more.

THQ says that with Rubin will help the company continue its shift toward AAA games, as the company's internal studios prepare upcoming titles such as Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light, and Darksiders II.

He has quite a bit of work ahead of him, however, as the company has faced some grim financial circumstances over the past several months, particularly because it has struggled to recover from its ill-fated uDraw tablet.

Rubin originally co-founded Naughty Dog in 1986, and helped create major franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, and more. He left the company in 2004, and co-founded the online media company Flektor, which was acquired by Fox Media Interactive in 2007.


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Comments


brandon sheffield
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whoa!! this is a bit of a surprise on multiple fronts. wonder what rubin's plan is - what can he really do to turn this ship around?

Daniel Piers
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I don't know, but with the stock so low and Darksiders II set to launch in a fairly dry period of game launches, I'm thinking THQ is set for a rebound and now might be a really good time to buy a few shares.

brandon sheffield
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possibly, but even Midway couldn't turn it around, and they had a bunch of valuable IPs to exploit. THQ doesn't have quite as much cultural cache. hard to reinvent yourselves when you're so far in the hole, but I do wish them the best of luck.

Amir Sharar
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In my eyes they've already done most of the nasty stuff required to getting the ship around to profitability. Not to be overly harsh on THQ, but I feel for those who lost their jobs during 2011.Factor in that most of the planned releases are sequels to established franchises (some more than others obviously) I get the impression that the ship has been turned towards a direction that could bring them back into profitability, and now it's a question of how fast. Rubin still has work to do, no doubt, and it won't be easy. With Nasdaq on their backs it's easy to see that E3 is going to be very important for THQ. I wish Rubin and the company the best.

Josh Rough
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Jason "Publishers are evil" Rubin is now heading a spiraling Publisher? Stranger than fiction. Don't see much chance for him to fix that situation - takes money to make money and THQ is without an appropriate cash reserve. Plus, Rubin - though very smart and successful - doesn't know the Publishing business. He has opinions about it, but he hasn't lived that business. It's nuanced and difficult and the marketplace isn't exactly friendly at the moment.

I wish him the best but this sounds more like a move to keep shareholders happy and avoid being delisted. Bilson had to go and an attractive name needed to take his place. This move likely has nothing to do with actually turning the company around, but more to do with trying to retain share presence and value.

Jonathan Murphy
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I've had a chance to chat with, Jason Rubin many years ago. He was very friendly and insightful. I hope he turns around the company. THQ's heavy reliance on IP that was external, refusing game developers the freedom to develop what they wanted to create has hurt them long term as a game company.

Joe kennedy
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DUH---- what took so long? This is no surprise to me whatsoever!!!! It's way too late though,.. THQ is done.

Bilson should've been fired soon after HomeFront. His ego is too big for any kind of resolve. Brian Farwell did nothing to correct this instead,..he gave Bilson all this power and all it did was stroke his ego.

Credibility meter "0" yet the media was plugging this guy like the second coming.

The sad reality from this mess is that Vigil will shutter like the rest of THQ remaining studios; more people out of jobs and more investors pulling funding from these kinds of console projects thanks to these kinds of politics and business practices.

No one ever stands up for the developer's voice or any kind of voice of reasoning.
Egos win all the time, business executives always know best and in the end,...POW BAM BOOM. Out of it all.

Out of touch with your team, out of touch with the latest trends, out of it all together.

marty howe
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I liked what Danny Bilson had to say about how great games are borne not from processes, but from great talent. He always evangelized that in his interviews.

Allen Brooks
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"He always envagilized that in his interviews. "

Pretty sure that's not quite the word you're looking for ;)

The problem remains, though, that Brian Farrell is still the CEO. If THQ really wants to make a clean break, they should remove the leadership that's overseen their plummet from profitability. Cure the sickness, don't just keep changing the bandage.

Jonathan Murphy
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Brian Farrell is still in charge? ... Good luck Jason, you will need it. If you are interested in learning more about, Jason Rubin on Gametrailers page 7 of Bonus Round, or this link below. SD version only.

http://www.gametrailers.com/video/episode-1-bonus-round/14676

Andrew Chen
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I imagine handing out all the golden parachutes needed to get rid of them would truly bankrupt THQ.

Micah Wright
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Yeah, unless Bilson personally approved the u-Draw (and he didn't), then he wasn't the problem. It's always interesting to watch the deck chairs on the Titanic being rearranged, though...

Dave Ewald
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They're not "losing" Bilson. He was a detriment from his first day. Everything he touches turns to mediocre garbage. I hope he stays out of games & goes back to making B-Movies.

Allen Brooks
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In his defense, The Rocketeer was a cool movie. Everything he's done for THQ has been pretty terrible, though.

Martin Sabom
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Dude is totally a snot nosed kid in real life. Smug does not even come close. Had a few dealings, no thanks.

matthew diprinzio
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Who? Bilson or Ruben?

brad coleman
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Oh yeah! Now finally we can get "Way of the Warrior 2"

Glenn McMath
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FUCK YES!!!
But only if they can get White Zombie for the soundtrack again, and Jason Ruben has to be the digitized actor for at least one of the characters...


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