Director Guillermo Del Toro's planned "inSANE" game… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)
Financially strapped video game publisher THQ has decided not to get "inSANE," canceling production on a title of the same name that was created by "Pan's Labyrinth" film director Guillermo del Toro.
In a conference call with analysts discussing the company's second quarter financial results, THQ's recently installed president, Jason Rubin, said "inSANE" was a victim of ongoing belt-tightening at the Agoura Hills company.
Also this year, THQ has canceled a planned action game called "Devil's Third" and ended a deal to make licensed games based on the Ultimate Fighting Championship league.
Those decisions, along with layoffs and the closure of production studios, have helped THQ to slash annual spending on production, marketing and administration by $180 million, Chief Executive Brian Farrell said on the call. It has also saved $32 million in licensing spending.
Described by Del Toro as a "Lovecraftian horror adventure," "inSANE" was supposed to be a trilogy of titles, the first of which would be released next year. The deal with Del Toro was made by THQ's former head of core games Danny Bilson, whom Rubin replaced this year.
When the game was first unveiled in late 2010, Del Toro said in an interview with The Times that THQ was the only game publisher willing to take a risk on his idea for an original game series.
"They were all very resistant and conservative," he said of his unsuccessful meetings with other video game publishers.
Rubin said THQ has returned the intellectual property rights to "inSANE" to Del Toro, allowing him to continue making the game elsewhere, if possible. The director did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
In addition, Rubin said THQ is stopping development on casual Facebook and mobile games. The company is now focused on a small slate of bigger-budget games for avid, high-spending players, such as an adaptation of "South Park" and sequels to the "Homefront" and "Metro 2033" series.
With no new releases during the three months ended June 30, THQ revenue dropped 32% to $133.7 million. However, thanks to cost-cutting, it swung from a $38.4-million loss to $15.4 million in net income.
THQ stock closed down 2% at $4.91 before financial results were released.
THQ gives up UFC license
THQ's Jason Rubin is bullish on turnaround
Guillermo Del Toro: 'inSANE' video game will be 'immersive, powerful' Lovecraftian adventure