"The only thing I care about is driving the value of the company," he said. "We're in the midst of a very dramatic turnaround."
Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, said, "If THQ can come up with a couple of franchises that sell well, that's a much clearer path to profitability and a higher stock price." On the eve of Homefront's release, THQ's stock jumped 36 cents, more than 6%, to $5.94. That's down from more than $36 in 2007, but up from a low of $2.24 in 2009.
In Homefront, which has a story by "Red Dawn" screenwriter John Milius, players control a guerrilla fighter in a dystopian 2027 who combats the occupying forces. The online multi-player format, which many gamers consider more important than the story, allows up to 32 people to do battle as Americans and North Koreans.
In addition to advertising on Comedy Central, NCAA basketball broadcasts and billboards blanketing big cities, THQ has aggressively courted the video game press. Chris Grant, editor of the AOL-owned blog Joystiq, said the publisher has been trying not only to promote Homefront but also to overcome fans' skepticism.
"In a short amount of time they have done an impressive job of reversing a brand that many gamers previously considered poisonous," he said.
And that, just as much as games flying off shelves, is what THQ expects from the former scriptwriter.
"I was very deliberate in asking Danny to take this position," Farrell said. "The perception of THQ is going to change from a boring kids' license company to an oh-my-[expletive]-God video game company."