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Guillermo del Toro InSANE trilogy shelved: THQ Q1

Guillermo del Toro's InSANE trilogy has been shelved, it's been announced as part of a generally positive first quarter THQ report.


Speaking to investors in a post-release conference call, newly incumbent president Jason Rubin broke the bad news of the inSANE trilogy's cancellation.

"We have decided not to pursue further pre-production on Insane, and have returned all of our IP rights to Guillermo del Toro. By cancelling these explorations outside of our core business, we feel we can improve focus on our core game portfolio, which remains unchanged."

It's not clear how far along the first game's production was; no assets were ever released to the public, and both del Toro and developer Volition have been working on other projects. In late 2011, del Toro said the first game was probably two or three years away, and described what sounded like a pre-production set up.

This is the second high profile collaboration cancelled in as many conference calls; last quarter, THQ dropped Tomonubu Itagaki's Devil's Third.

THQ also broke with industry trend to cancel mobile and social games; a breakdown of the company's revenue streams showed "wireless" bringing in just 1.1% of all sales, a small year on year increase from 0.5% in 2011.

"We have also stopped development for certain areas that are not productive for our new strategy. Consistent with this vision, THQ has made a few changes to previously announced projects. First, we made the determination not to pursue any casual Facebook games," Rubin said.

Positive results

Happily, it wasn't all doom and gloom. THQ posted a healthy result with net sales of $133.7 million, of which $13.4 million was accounted for by digital streams. Although that's a significant year-on-year decrease from the 195.2 million of Q1 FY2012, the publisher managed a much better profit threshold of $15.4 million, up from a loss of $38.4 million the year before.

Interestingly, THQ gave a break down of its revenue by platform. The Xbox 360 remains its best performer at 36.3%, but the PlayStation 3 isn't far behind at 25.6% and perhaps most interestingly, the PC came in third at 17%, a huge jump on the 6.9% of the year before.

The Wii and DS both dropped, to 8.3% and 9% respectively, with the PS2 and PSP remained steady and inconsquential at 0.7% and 1.7% respectively.

In a press release, CEO Brian Farrell made much of THQ's management shift.

"We have made significant progress reshaping the company. With the changes implemented over the last several months, we are in a much better position today to deliver on our pipeline of games, beginning with Darksiders II, which launches next week in North America,” he said.

“We are also pleased to have new management on board at THQ, led by President Jason Rubin, who brings tremendous experience to the company and has a proven track record of bringing multi- million unit sellers to market; Jason Kay, a fifteen-year media and entertainment industry veteran, as Chief Strategy Officer; and Ron Moravek, a seasoned creative development executive who has co- founded and led several technology businesses, including one of our most successful studios, Relic Entertainment, as EVP, Production. Jason Rubin and his new team bring an entrepreneurial approach to our game slate as we seek to maximize the value of our intellectual properties and evolve our business in the face of our increasingly digital future.”

The publisher also crowed over its upcoming release slate, as listed in the side bar, noting that despite not fronting a booth this year, it scored 29 awards and 67 nominations at E3 2012.

In terms of future development, Rubin specifically mentioned unannounced games from Turtle Rock Studios, Collision and the Montreal team under Patrice Désilets in addition to Crytek's Homefront 2.

"Beyond our announced titles, in the last 60 days, all 4 of our internal studios began working on new titles that represent the type of product we believe will make THQ successful in the future," he added.

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