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Home » Featured, Views

Would inSANE have been right for THQ anyway?

Submitted by on Wednesday, 12 September 2012No Comment

We’ve all heard the news that THQ needed to cancel “explorations outside [their] core business”, dropping inSANE like it’s hot. Though Guillermo del Toro is not known as a man who cares about what publishers or film studios think, but does take notice of what they do.

THQ may have just welcomed del Toro to the video game industry in the most unwelcoming way possible. Will del Toro take his insanity to a better place, or will it get a straight jacket and sentenced to life in a padded cell?

Guillermo del Toro has made a few critical successes in his day, both past and present. Good films are made by filmmakers who understand the craft, accept its flaws and can develop relationships both inside and outside of the film. These relationships correlate directly with the quality of the final product. Even before getting anywhere near completing the first game of the inSANE trilogy, del Toro knows this much applies to making games as well.

With this new series of video games, I want to take players to a place they have never seen before, where every single action makes them question their own senses of morality and reality

Thanks to an interview with Ken Levine, we were able to get a Mezzanine view of Guillermo del Toro, the gamer. He elaborated on the importance of making a game because you want to make it out of your own personal needs and desires rather than because there might be money in it. At one point he mentions that he was offered the Brad Pitt movie ‘Seven’ before anyone else had a chance, and ended up turning it down. If a movie doesn’t feel right to him or he feels he’s not right for the movie, then he does not do it. Not for the money or the fame, not for any reasons but his own.

A photo taken by Mel Melcon for the Los Angeles Times in 2010 of Danny Bilson and Guillermo del Toro at THQ

This is the level of dedication Guillermo del Toro employs when finally deciding to go ahead with a project. With del Toro maintaining the rights to InSANE, I would expect no less than a signature masterpiece comprised of the blood, sweat, and tears of his hard working team. Originally, he determined that Volition were worthy developers after having visited their department heads. So why would anyone decide to kill inSANE when it had so much promise and a fountain of talent for which to evolve from?

It seems that the creative entity within THQ has no power in what the business entity deems is good for business. In July 2011, Dan Bilson, former executive VP core games, was interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter about Hollywood’s growing acceptance of video games and questioned about working with del Toro on inSANE. He confirmed what Ken Levine more recently discovered, that del Toro is a hardcore gamer that brings a lot more than his film making experiences into the development of video games.

During the Irrational interview with Ken Levine, Del Toro said this about narrative:

Videogames are the bridge to the future of genre narrative… big genre, artistically challenging and brilliantly done storytelling, holy shit, there’s a lot that you do in games that you can never even dream of doing in movies, in TV, or comics.

Since not much is known about inSANE, due to the very early stage of development its in and del Toro’s need to keep most all details under wraps, I find it easy to imagine what a new publisher and developer could do with the game. The only trailer that Volition and THQ released contained disturbing images that flickered with almost a subliminal effect. At the end, a needle plunging toward someone’s subdued eyeball leaves us feeling uncomfortable, yet intrigued.

EA is a publisher with stables of developers on hand, ready and waiting for a AAA epic only del Toro could deliver. If Capcom were to take over, inSANE would most definitely not be canceled. But they might try to steer del Toro in direction that would find inSANE being knee-capped by Resident Evil. Sega might offer del Toro the freedom he would need to make inSANE the way he envisioned, but would require Sonic to be a playable character by way of DLC. We can’t have that.

Activision might be the best bet for inSANE. Though the question of who would take over development of the project would be a tough one for me to answer. Activision would likely use one of its Tony Hawk developers, and then our protagonist would be skating around a dark and twisted Lovecraftian horror game. Most any of these publishers could more than offer Guillermo del Toro a place to stay, make his game, and be proud of it. But now that del Toro has tasted the bitterness of the canned IP, he will likely take his time shopping a publisher/developer. Or will he even want to try to get inSANE developed.

I really hope so, and for the sake of gamers across the world, locally and internationally, I hope that we all do. Let this be the petition to get the game going again. Which studio would best fit Guillermo del Toro’s visionary design and narrative style? Which developer would nail the dismount and landing to del Toro’s specifications? Sign the petition in the comments section below and spread the word, that gamers want del Toro to finish inSANE.