THQ Nordic keeps on growing

It was a big week for THQ Nordic, which is quietly continuing the process of building itself into something of a mid-tier gaming colossus. The past few days have seen it pick up Wreckfest studio Bugbear Entertainment, and Coffee Stain, the maker of Sanctum, Satisfactory, and, yes, Goat Simulator. It's also now the proud owner of the Expeditions strategy-RPG series, and has announced plans to begin work on a third game (after Conquistadors and Vikings) with original developer Logic Artists. 

The terms of the Bugbear deal weren't disclosed, although THQ Nordic said "the purchase price matches management’s estimated royalty payments to Bugbear during the upcoming three years." THQ Nordic was previously the publisher of Bugbear's Wreckfest, which it said it's been the company's best-performing game on Steam since its full release in June.   

The Coffee Stain deal cost $35 million up front, "plus additional earn-out considerations subject to fulfillment of agreed milestones." 35 mil for Goat Simulator might seem a little steep, but along with ownership of Coffee Stain's own games, it also grants THQ Nordic the publishing rights to Deep Rock Galactic, which is now in Steam Early Access. It will also create "a highly complementary third leg" for the company, with a particular focus on "digital sales, retention, cross platform and multiplayer." 

THQ Nordic obviously isn't in the same league as Activision or EA, but it's kind of fun watching it become the heavyweight of the middleweights. It launched in 2011 as Nordic Games, renamed itself to THQ Nordic for some reason in 2016, and gained real prominence this year with the acquisition of Deep Silver parent Koch Media—giving it ownership of games including Saints Row, Dead Island, and Kingdom Come: Deliverance—and, more recently, through a deal with Microsoft to publish multiple mid-tier games on Steam and in physical formats.