THQ Buys Midway, affecting jobs in San Diego

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Photo from BlogDeManu via Flikr

Photo from BlogDeManu via Flikr

On February 12, 2009 Midway Inc., the video game publishing company who brought us Mortal Kombat, NFL Blitz, Pac Man and much more filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In May 2009, Warner Bros. bid for most of the assets of Midway Games, including its Chicago and Seattle studios and the Mortal Kombat franchise, this was accepted early last month for an estimated $49 million, plus the assumption of liabilities.

One of the studios abandoned in the Warner Bros. takeover resides here in San Diego with around 100 employees. Unable to bounce back, Midway’s last San Diego studio was purchased by THQ (The Chicago Tribune) for a reported fee of $200,000, a minute fraction of the amount Warner Brothers paid. Midway filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) last Friday, stating that The Chicago Tribune is offering jobs to about 40 Midway employees with a possibility of more offers to come. This still will add around 60 people to the increasing unemployment tally in San Diego.

Concerning all parties is Midways TNA wrestling series, which was left out of the agreement. Luckily the rights of the game will remain with the employees that made them. According to the filing, Warner Bros. and THQ reached an agreement “in connection with a shared engine developed by or on behalf of [Midway] and their affiliates prior to July 10, 2009.”

Who knows how THQ’s WWE and UFC franchises remains to be seen, but at least for now, it makes certain that former San Diegan Midway developers have a familiar engine to work with at their first THQ game.

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