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THQ Nordic apologizes for granting interview to the toilet of the internet, 8chan

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Update: Coffee Stain Studios, or more specifically the Twitter (opens in new tab) account for its upcoming game, pointed out a distinction between the THQ Nordic that was going to host an AMA on 8chan and the THQ Nordic that acquired the developer, among many others. THQ Nordic GmbH, the subject of this article, is a subsidiary of THQ Nordic AB and sister company to Coffee Stain Studios. 

The confusion isn't just down to the similarity in names. THQ Nordic doesn't always make the distinction. The THQ Nordic Twitter (opens in new tab) account that advertised the 8chan AMA, for instance, is simultaneously used for announcements for both AB and GmbH and seems to represent both of them. 

Original story: Earlier today, THQ Nordic announced an AMA on its Twitter account. That wouldn't have been a big deal, but unlike most 'ask me anything' sessions, which take place on Reddit, this one was hosted on anonymous imageboard 8chan.

If you're unfamiliar with 8chan, Google once delisted it (opens in new tab) and warned users of "suspected child abuse content." It has included boards dedicated to pedophilia and fascism, and is known generally for racism, misogyny, and coordinated harassment. It's easy to get a sense of why it's known for those things simply by browsing it, or by reading this easy-to-find 2015 Washington Post article (opens in new tab) about it. As could've been predicted, response to the AMA was overwhelmingly negative everywhere except on 8chan itself.

In an apology statement sent to PC Gamer and posted after the session (opens in new tab), THQ Nordic PR and marketing director Philipp Brock said he didn't "understand the history and the controversy" of the site before agreeing to and participating in the AMA. That's hard to completely believe. The official THQ Nordic Twitter account promised that someone would "take care of the nasty stuff" in the AMA thread, and it's unclear what "nasty stuff" THQ Nordic could've been referring to if not the stuff the site is best known for.

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What makes Brock's apology even less believable is that he casually engaged with someone in the thread who posted a drawing depicting a man groping young-looking girls. The user asked where the "lolis" were—referring to lolicon (opens in new tab)—to which Brock responded, "you got them already we'd say." Additionally, in response to being asked not to "censor any games nor appeal to the SocJus crowd" because the company is "doing fine as is," Brock said that THQ Nordic will "try to stay that way."  

While it's possible to impersonate others on 8chan—which also makes it a bad place for an AMA—these posts are specially tagged to indicate that they come from Brock. The official THQ Nordic account also 'liked' a tweet defending the AMA and calling those who had a problem with it "sensitive simons."

The apology came just hours later. "I do not condone child pornography, white supremacy, or racism in any shape or form," Brock said (opens in new tab) on that same Twitter account. "I am terribly sorry for the short-sightedness of my (!) decision, and promise to be far more vigorous in my assessment of these activities in the future."

"This was not about being edgy, this blew up and I very much regret to have done it in the first place," he concluded.

Once just Nordic Games, THQ Nordic acquired a large number of properties from the bankrupt THQ in 2013. It added THQ to its name in 2016, and since then has bought up many more game rights and studios, including Satisfactory developer Coffee Stain Studios and Wreckfest creator Bugbear Entertainment. One of its subsidiaries, Koch Media, runs Deep Silver. It is more than a little surprising that such a large publisher would think any of this was a good idea.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.