Around that time Jason Ruben joined and THQ and things started looking up again, bolstering Volition's confidence, but they could already see the writing on the wall by then.
UDraw was a painfully harsh lesson for THQ that people just weren't interested in a bunch more plastic peripherals even if they could 'draw' stuff with it outside the Wii.
"Yeah, it’s interesting," Boone replies in our interview. We asked him if they saw THQ's demise hurtling toward them.
"What really got us thinking long and hard was when Saints Row: The Third came out. Because here’s this game, we’re so proud of it, and it’s a huge success... but that’s also the same time where the UDraw came out for PS3 & 360, and we lost about $100 million on days." While UDraw did well on Wii, the tablet did awful when it came to Xbox 360 and PS3.
During the US holiday sales it drew $100 million below expectations with 1.4 million units unsold by February 2012. It was a disaster that plunged the quarter into $56 million worth of debt, which would have been otherwise profitable. It led to the Red Faction series being shelved, which Volition Inc. created.
"When you have a failure of that magnitude coupled with a success of that magnitude, I mean basically all our success was invalidated by that, it was tough to look at that and think “Is it just business as usual then? Or did we just get dealt a death blow?” That was where I think the... it wasn’t clear at that point, but that’s when Jason Ruben came in and things started to change, because we were worried that things maybe weren’t going to work for THQ, but Jason was awesome."
"He had some really clear strategies on a corporate level that seemed like they were going to work, so that made us think everything was going to be alright," continued Boone. "I mean he got outside investors who were willing to invest. But it didn’t work out at the end of the day. But that’s a long way of saying that, yeah, we kind of saw the writing on the walls, but started to feel a little bit better with Jason, but ultimately it didn’t work out."
Today Volition Inc. and the Saints Row IP are owned by publisher Deep Silver.
THQ's UDraw failure "invalidated" Saints Row: The Third's success
22 March 2013 | By Simon Priest