Take-Two has reached an agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), bankrupt publisher THQ and Japanese studio Yuke's to take over development of the WWE video game franchise, according to a motion filed in federal bankruptcy court yesterday.
The filing confirms a previous rumor.
Pending the court's approval of the agreement, Take-Two will publish future WWE video games that will be developed by Yuke's, which made THQ-published WWE titles for more than a decade.
"We can confirm that we have entered into an agreement to publish the WWE video game series that is developed by Yukes [sic]. At this time, the agreement is pending court approval and we anticipate that it will be finalized shortly. We are very excited about the potential of this agreement and will have more to share at the appropriate time," said Take-Two in a statement provided to Polygon.
The deal between the companies nullifies the existing contracts THQ had with WWE and Yuke's, allowing both companies to enter into new agreements with Take-Two. In addition, WWE agreed to waive a significant claim it held against THQ: If their current contract had simply been terminated, the publisher would have been on the hook for approximately $45 million for the remainder of its WWE license agreement, which was set to run through 2017.
Yuke's also agreed to dissolve its claims of $15 million to $20 million against THQ, the payment for development on last year's WWE '13 and the 2013 WWE title it had been working on. The studio will receive possession of the 14 percent of its equity that THQ had owned — shares worth about $4.5 million — and a $250,000 royalty payment.
Take-Two will publish future WWE video games that will be developed by Yuke's
Under the terms of the new agreements between the four companies, THQ will stop selling its back catalog of WWE titles and pay WWE an estimated $650,000 in royalties for sales of WWE games during the bankruptcy proceedings. THQ will also transfer development equipment worth about $75,000 to Take-Two, along with any software and assets related to the development of WWE titles.
Take-Two will hire THQ's WWE game production staff of about 20 employees, and form new agreements with WWE and Yuke's to produce future WWE games. The price paid by Take-Two for THQ's WWE assets was not disclosed in the court documents. Since Take-Two has not yet formed new contracts with WWE or Yuke's, it remains unclear if the company will release a WWE game in 2013 or if it will have the exclusive rights to the WWE license.