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THQ: Guillermo del Toro’s video game is no more

Presumably you know Guillermo del Toro as the director of Pan’s Labyrinth, the Hellboy films or that upcoming stop-motion adaptation of Pinocchio starring Tom Waits and Donald Sutherland. We feel safe in assuming that, to date, del Toro has made a positive impression on you, as even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of the man’s films, you can’t help but pick up on the fact that his geek cred is 100 percent legitimate. He’s one of us, even if he’s got far more discretionary cash and, in all likelihood, a much nicer house than you or I will ever own.

What you may not have known about del Toro however, is that over recent months he’s joined the world of video game production. The first effort to emerge from del Toro’s cross-media expansion was to be a trilogy of games dubbed “Insane,” that, as you might guess, relied heavily on themes of psychosis to create a supposedly novel take on the video game horror genre. These games were scheduled to be published by THQ, but as the firm has repeatedly been hit by financial crises and the loss of key money-making franchises (see EA’s nascent agreement with the UFC) it has announced the cancellation of del Toro’s project.

Unfortunately, that’s the entirety of what we know on the topic. Kotaku claims that THQ revealed the cancellation in an investor’s conference call this morning, though offers no real explanation as to why Insane had been removed from the company’s upcoming slate of titles. 

That said, one can pretty safely assume that, in the end, this decision is purely motivated by cash. Despite being a big name genre movie director in Hollywood, del Toro’s name isn’t that well known amongst the general public, so having “Guillermo del Toro presents” on the front of a video game’s box wouldn’t necessarily cause an immediate financial windfall for the cash-strapped firm. Though THQ pared down del Toro’s ambitious original plan to create a trilogy of games, the money necessary to create even a single Insane title wasn’t guaranteed to generate any kind of respectable profit. Given THQ’s shaky fiscal situation it doesn’t seem a wise risk for the firm to take, when it could instead be spending money on proven sellers like the Saints Row series.

Alternately, it’s possible that del Toro’s involvement was the only thing keeping the development of Insane from collapsing. Though he’s always seemed keen on the idea of creating a game, del Toro’s first true love is the cinema and if one of his many upcoming films demanded more of his time and attention we could see Insane being shelved to free up a bit of time in del Toro’s schedule. THQ remains mum on the official reason behind the game’s cancellation, so until either it or del Toro clears up the details surrounding this decision, you’re free to believe whatever reason strikes you as most plausible.

For that matter, you could “reasonably” believe that Insane’s themes of psychosis were so intense that it drove the entire development team insane, and in an effort to distance itself from the inhuman atrocities committed by the newly feral game developers assigned to create del Toro’s game THQ canceled the thing. Honestly that probably didn’t happen, but we like the idea that Guillermo del Toro is such a brilliant master of horror that his first game is something of a modern analogue to Lovecraft’s Necronomicon.