THQ ("Toy Head-Quarters") was an American developer and publisher founded in 1989 by LJN co-founder Jack Friedman. In 1990, THQ acquired the video game division of Broderbund Software and released its first game Peter Pan and the Pirates (based on the Fox Kids TV series of the same name) in 1991. That same year, THQ was acquired by Trinity Acquisition Corporation. In 1994, THQ stopped making toys to focus on video games. THQ acquired several game developers in the 2000s including Relic Entertainment, Volition and others.
In 2008, THQ's troubles began when they closed five studios, spun off two studios (Heavy Iron Studios and Incinerator Studios), and sold Big Huge Games to 38 Studios (a company owned by Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling). In 2010, THQ renamed Juice Games and Rainbow Studios to THQ Digital Warrington and THQ Digital Phoenix, respectively. In 2011, THQ closed four studios (THQ Studio Australia, Blue Tongue Entertainment, Kaos Studios and THQ Digital Warrington). In 2012, THQ defaulted on a $50 million loan from Wells Fargo. On December 19, 2012, THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In January 2013, THQ sold the Homefront franchise to Crytek, Relic Entertainment and the Warhammer 40,000 series to Sega, the WWE series and Evolve (a game from Turtle Rock Studios) to Take-Two Interactive, THQ Montreal and the publishing rights for South Park: The Stick of Truth to Ubisoft, and Volition and the publishing rights for the Metro franchise to Koch Media/Deep Silver. In April 2013, THQ's remaining franchises were auctioned off to Nordic Games, while Homeworld was sold to Gearbox Software and Drawn to Life was acquired by 505 Games.
Nordic Games later acquired the THQ trademark in 2014, and changed their name to THQ Nordic in 2016 to associate themselves better with the THQ name.
1st Logo (January 1991-1993)
Logo: On a white background, we see the words "T•HQ Software", with a red dot between the "T" and "H". There is a byline below them: "A Division of T•HQ, Inc."
- On Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates, the logo reads "T•HQ, Inc.", and "Presents..." below.
- On Wayne's World, the logo reads "T•HQ software", and "PRESENTS" below.
- On The Ren & Stimpy Show: Veediots!, the logo reads "T•HQ, Inc.", and "TOY HEADQUARTERS" below. Under it, we see Ren and Stimpy banging their butts together.
- On The Great Waldo Search, the background is gradient blue.
- On Road Riot 4WD, the background is red and the copyright info is taken into brackets.
- The Adventures of Rocky And Bullwinkle And Friends variant is almost the same as the Wayne's World variant, but it's higher-quality and "PRESENTS" is located more below.
Technique: The animation in the variants or still.
Music/Sounds: None or the opening theme of the game. On The Adventures of Rocky And Bullwinkle And Friends, a 8-bit rendition of the beginning of the theme can be heard.
Availability: Rare. It can be seen on The Lawnmower Man and the aforementioned games. It also appears on Game Boy.
2nd Logo (November 1994)
Logo: On a black background, 2 pieces of wood can be seen on the top left and bottom right of the screen. Then, Ren pushes in the the Nickelodeon "splat" logo while Stimpy pushes in a prototype of the next logo. The logo consists of the word "T•HQ" in a white font with a red dot inside a thick white box. Below "T•HQ", there is a red bar with "Inc." on it. When they step on the wood, the planks are sent flying and both of them stand with nervous-looking smiles.
Technique: Ren and Stimpy pushing the logos in.
Music/Sounds: Two cracking sounds.
Availability: Seen only on The Ren & Stimpy Show: Time Warp for SNES.
Legacy: This is a placeholder logo, created for temporary use while the next version was in development, but wasn't ready for use.
3rd Logo (1996-March 1997)
Logo: On a black background, the 2nd logo is seen taking up the whole screen, turned at an angle towards the right. There is no border surrounding the logo. Copyright information is shown below the logo.
Music/Sounds: The game's opening theme.
Availability: Seen on Brunswick World Tournament Champions for SNES. It also appears on The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Topsy Turvy Games and Hercules for Game Boy.
4th Logo (July 16, 1997-June 27, 2000)
Logo: A glowing red bar with a rippling texture appears and zooms out, sticking to the screen. Then the letters appear one-by-one: the "T" zooms out from the left, then the "H" zooms in from the middle, then the "Q" zooms out from the right. A lens flare then writes in "Inc." on the bar, causing the texture to disappear. A lens flare then appears behind the logo before 2 more lens flares draw in the square border.
Variants: There are several variants of this logo:
- On non-CD based systems, the logo is still.
- On Sinistar Unleashed, the animation is different. "THQ" and the rest of the logo zooms out in pieces and stick together over a blue metallic background with several scratches. Here, the text is taken into a black box and the red line is blank. The background then disappears and "PRESENTS" spreads out below the logo.
- On X: Beyond the Frontier, the logo is rendered with the in-game engine, forming through several glass planes.
- On Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games, the box is omitted.
- On SNES and Genesis versions of Madden NFL '98 and NBA Live '98 as well as some titles for Game Boy, there is no box, but the copyright information is also shown below.
- On Penny Racers, the background is white and we see the copyright information from Nintendo and Takara.
- On Destruction Derby for Nintendo 64, the red bar is empty. This is also seen on Game Boy Color.
Technique: The logo forming.
Music/Sounds: A couple of whooshing and zapping sounds.
- On X, there is a majestic trumpet fanfare ending with a single hit.
- On Sinistar Unleashed, there is a mysterious wind chime pass.
- The still variant is silent or has the opening theme of the game.
Availability: Common on older games, especially the still version (especially in the early years). The animated version can be seen on games for PC and PlayStation such as Rugrats: The Search for Reptar and WCW/NWO Thunder. The animated version is also seen on some Game Boy Color games, including A Bug's Life and FIFA 2000, while the still version is seen on Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue! for example. The final three games to make use of this logo are X-Tension, the GBC version of Croc (the last appearance of the still variant), and BreakNeck (the US release of a German PC game by the name of N.I.C.E. 2); all released in June 2000.
5th Logo (August 30, 2000-April 12, 2011)
Logo: On a black background, a steel parallelogram is formed with parts of it being sliced off, and it flashes. A larger outline of the parallelogram appears outside it, and 3 letters with cuts in them ("T" and "Q" from right, "H" from left) slide onto the parallelogram. A red bar appears from left and bumps into the shield, making it sway and completing the logo. The company website address fades in below, and the shield border shines. Sometimes, the shield border shines as the company website address is not shown.
- A still print version exists. It can be seen on handheld, N64, and PSX games of the era.
- A shield-less version was seen on Rugrats in Paris for N64 and PSX - one of the first appearances of this logo. The same version, only smaller, was used on Championship Motocross for PSX.
- On some GBA titles, the animated logo is a still picture.
- On the GBA version of The Incredibles, the logo animates on a white background, the border and web address are already formed, and the border doesn't sway. It then all flies away for the Helixe logo.
- There is a version without the Helixe logo. It was seen on Nicktoons Unite! for GBA and Ratatouille for both GBA and NDS.
- On Rugrats: Royal Ransom, SpongeBob SquarePants: Employee of the Month, Rocket Power: Beach Bandits, Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild, WWE WrestleMania X8, Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights, and the console ports of The Incredibles and Tetris Worlds, the website address is absent.
- On the NDS version of Cars, the logo is on a movie theater.
- A still version of the animated logo, with the announcer and SFX, was used in the trailer of Fairly Oddparents: Breakin 'da Rules.
Technique: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: Synthesized whooshes, followed by a male announcer saying "T-H-Q!" when the correct letters appear, and a metallic thud when the red bar bumps into the shield. An electronic buzzing sound is heard as the shield shines.
- On non-US releases of Rugrats in Paris (the PC game), the normal sound effects are replaced with cartoon sounds, which consists of a whirl, a whizzing sound, a bonk sound, and another whirl, all as the letters appear. Additionally, the THQ name is uttered by a group of kids instead, and the famous Hanna-Barbera "boing" sound is heard when the red bar appears (likely a nod to the 1998 Klasky-Csupo "Splaat" logo). The logo then falls to silence.
- On the still and shieldless variants, none or the opening theme of the game.
Availability: Very common on games from the company. The still version can be seen on the majority of handheld games. Among the first games to use the logo were Danger Girl, MTV Sports - Pure Ride and Skateboarding, Rugrats in Paris, and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, with the very first game making use of it being NASCAR 2000 on the Game Boy Color. The animated logo debuted on Summoner for the PS2.
Legacy: This logo's omnipresence on a number of games from the 2000s and early 2010s has made it a favorite logo of many.
6th Logo (October 15, 2003-2011)
Logo: A silver-blue "H" letter flips around onto a black background, filled with blue lights and lasers. The rest of the logo then slides in, with the border zooming out. Electricity is also seen charging on the logo. After a shine and a few seconds, the border flips towards the screen and the letters zoom in one-by-one, ending the logo.
Technique: More advanced CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: Many whooshes and some electric sounds.
Availability: Common; this was used in tandem with the previous logo. The first game to use this logo was Tak and the Power of Juju. It is known to appear on Juiced, Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge, the Tak and the Power of Juju trilogy, the non-HD, PC, and PSP ports of Cars, The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer, and the PSP version of Ratatouille. It can be seen on the PC releases of Bratz 4 Real, Bratz: Rock Angelz and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
7th Logo (2003-April 2011)
Logo: On a black background, the THQ logo is seen darkened sans the border, rotating around while surrounded by several streaks of white and red light. The streaks then strike the border, illuminating the logo one part at a time before shining.
Variants: Go to this page for the custom variants.
Technique: Advanced CGI animation, just like before.
Music/Sounds: The comet whooshing and blasts. The variants use the opening theme instead.
Availability: Common; this was used in tandem with the previous two logos. It was seen on such games as Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Barnyard, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, the non-HD and PC ports of Ratatouille, the Wii version of Cars, and SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom. The last games to use this logo were De Blob 2 (February 2011) and Rio (April 2011), which use this logo in-game, but the next logo on their box art. However, the still version of the logo shown above is used in the THQ Training Facility in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of WWE Smackdown VS. Raw 2010 in both its introduction screen and banner. This also made a surprise appearance in the teaser trailer of AEW Fight Forever, with the THQ Nordic logo transitioning to the THQ logo.
8th Logo (February 2011-November 30, 2012)
Logo: On a white background, a gray line slides in, which turns into a large red curve drawing upwards. The camera zooms out to reveal it is an abstract "Q". A gray line then emerges from it, causing the "Q" to go left and the line to sprout into a large gray square. It splits to form "TH", with the latter missing the top left part of it. They form "THQ", while a red registered trademark symbol appears to the bottom right of it.
- The internal studios have their subnames in gray under the main logo.
- There is also a still version.
Technique: The animation.
Music/Sounds: A deep whoosh sound similar to wind blowing with a rock crumbling noise, ending with two silent bumps. None for the still version.
Availability: Appeared on all THQ games from February 2011 to their final games in late 2012; Homefront and WWE All Stars (the only PS2 game to use this logo) were among the first ones. Technically, this logo made its first retail appearances on the box art of De Blob 2 and Rio, despite the previous logo being used on the games themselves.