For what little it revealed, the word “trailer” was an act of pure generosity – and yet survival horror fans couldn’t stop talking about inSANE at the 2010 Spike VGA’s.
Film director Guillermo Del Toro – famed for movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, as well as his penchant for conveying mature themes within fantasy story settings – took the stage to introduce the project as a trilogy collaboration with THQ and developer Volition, and the 30-second clip consisting solely of eerie screeches, frightful moans, and a woman staring dangerously close at a nail end had us eager for more information as the first game neared its proposed 2013 release date.
Unfortunately, the creepy cryptic teaser is all we might ever see. THQ announced Monday that it has cancelled the inSANE trilogy, following an earnings report that posted a quarterly profit but also saw the firm suffer a decrease in revenue. Rights to the title were returned to Guillermo Del Toro – he’s free to seek out another company to make the game – as THQ recommitted itself to frugal spending.
inSANE’s future looked increasingly ominous as new information failed to follow its VGA debut, and indeed THQ says that it never even left pre-production (meaning one consolation, according to the publisher, is that no one lost their jobs. Well, no one except Del Toro, anyway). But while the stagnant progress certainly doesn’t bode well for the game’s design (which Del Toro described “Lovecraftian” – after the early 20th Century fantasy/horror writer H.P. Lovecraft), inSANE almost never had a chance under THQ.
The publisher has been ravaged by financial strife in recent years, and in addition management reshuffling (President Danny Bilson was replaced by Naughty Dog’s Jason Rubin in May) several rounds of layoffs and developer restructuring (Homefront developer Kaos Studios was one of several shut down in 2011), and a stock performance that once flirted with a NASDAQ delisting, THQ has adopted a new credos simply to stay alive: Cut costs at all costs.
In January, THQ avowed to become a “more streamlined organization focused only on strongest franchises,” and their conference call Monday made sure to focus the spotlight on the upcoming Darksiders II, and the Saints Row and WWE franchises. The inSANE trilogy’s unknown marketability but audacious concept – Del Toro envisioned massive games and massive scale – had essentially combined into the THQ antithesis.
However, with Guillermo Del Toro still retaining the rights to inSANE, it raises the perfectly lucid question: Is this truly the end of the line? For one, Del Toro has a busy schedule ahead in the film industry; he’s slated to direct two feature films in 2013 and 2014: Pacific Rim and Pinocchio, respectively. And even when inSANE made its 2010 debut, the director confided that the broader-horizoned THQ was the only publisher willing to collaborate on the project.
That said, the looming next generation will be full of potential new avenues. New consoles, new functionalities, new economic outlooks: who knows where inSANE might find a road to production? Del Toro was outed as an avid fan of gaming when he initiated the project, and survival horror would hardly be averse to finding a brand new champion.
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