Devil’s Third is being made by Tomonobu Itagaki (Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden)’s new development team, Valhalla Game Studios. It was dropped by THQ after it no longer “[fit] THQ’s profile,” according to CEO and Chairman Brian Farrell.
Specifically, Farrell considered the game to not have the profitability margin that he had expected.
When we ranked all of our product releases when we underwent our restructuring, the profitability of Devil’s Third wasn’t comparable with our other franchises[.]
Despite THQ dropping the title off of their development listings, Valhalla Game Studios is moving ahead with the making of Devil’s Third. In fact, in an official statement (PDF), the studio expressed enthusiasm about the future of the game.
In addition to the home console and PC versions, we at Valhalla Game Studios intend to bring the Devil’s Third universe to a wide range of digital devices. We are also looking beyond the boundaries of video games and plan to work with other various forms of media, including manga, novels, animation and film, to create a blockbuster franchise.
Devil’s Third still has no confirmed release date. It’s also uncertain how, or if, this turn of events will affect the game’s development.
Analysis: A few months back, THQ was in a desparate state. Their stock was plummeting to a miserable 57¢, and the company reported a net loss of $56 million in its third fiscal quarter with revenue falling down 3%. In short, they needed to make some changes, and changes they have made.
Shortly after revealing their sad financial state in February, THQ began to cut out its unprofitable excesses, such as its children’s movie and TV show licenses. In addition, Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin was appointed president in the hopes that one of the creators behind Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter could bring some insight into what IPs THQ needed and didn’t need.
Now, it looks like the infamous long-hair-and-shades Tomonobu Itagaki’s Devil’s Third is one of those IPs that THQ didn’t need, probably because game’s been in development since 2009 and still has no release date. Plus, an expensive mid-development engine switch occurred after the middleware provider used by Valhalla went out of business, which upped the ante perhaps a little too much for an understandably risk-shy THQ. So it makes sense that THQ finally just wrung its hands in the air and decided to throw the game off its release schedule.
However, there doesn’t seem to be too much need for fans of Itagaki, who was seen in a behind-the-scenes look at Devil’s Third production playing weird Japanese card games in a dimly lit room full of women. Valhalla seems pretty confident about its ability to not only bring Devil’s Third to market without THQ, but also to bring a plethora of other in-universe material to other platforms as well.