Perhaps the happiest thing to come out of last night's THQ auction was Sega's purchasing of celebrated Relic Entertainment (via Polygon), the outfit behind PC series Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Homeworld and Company of Heroes.
The publisher confirmed the news in a statement to Eurogamer this morning. "It is true that Sega took part in the bidding of all shares of THQ Canada Inc. and THQ's IPs related to the titles developed by THQ Canada Inc. SEGA won the bid as the court announced and the deal will be closed tomorrow, after which SEGA will release detailed information."
Given that Sega already owns Creative Assembly, developer of the magnificent Total War games and next gen Alien projects, I'd say it has the strategy genre sewn up for the foreseeable future.
Sega nabbed the rights to create videogames based on Games Workshop's Warhammer license from THQ in December, and already has a project on the boil. The fate of sister IP Warhammer: 40,000 is presently unknown, but I suspect Sega wouldn't be averse to picking that one up, too.
Initial reactions from Relic staff are, in the main, positive, though Sega has yet to confirm whether it'll re-employ all existing staff. "We haven't died our hair blue, but we do have this on our office blackboard," game designer Neil Rodway tweeted alongside a somewhat unusual rendition of the publisher's hedgehog mascot. "I'm a Sega employee now. Awesome!" chimed in producer Otto Ottosson.
Programmer Sean Walsh was slightly less upbeat. "Cheers to all at Relic. We're the cream of the THQ crop... Whatever that means."
"I wasn't worried about anyone's job at Relic. Everyone here would have been all right :)" he added, in response to a disapproving comment from independent developer Raphael van Lierop, formerly game director on Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. "I don't mean to sound like a dick obviously. But seriously Raph? Fuck THQ. 6 more months on SM and the same team on SM2? Plz."
We're trying to work out whether "SM" is, indeed, Relic's 2011 action spin-off. If that's the right reading, "SM2" is presumably Space Marine 2. Former THQ exec Danny Bilson downplayed talk of the latter in October 2011, arguing that there was "no room" for a new Space Marine alongside now-cancelled Warhammer 40,000 MMO Dark Millennium.
Relic's current known projects are Company of Heroes 2 and the unannounced "Atlus", which is pegged for 2014 release. We're looking forward to seeing what they get up to under Sega.
Update :Raphael van Lierop has been in touch about our story. "I think you guys are reading a bit too much into my twitter exchange with Sean. We were talking a *theoretical* Space Marine 2."