It looks like things aren’t working out to well for Tomonobu Itagaki’s first project since leaving Team Ninja. Itagaki’s Devil’s Third was set to be published by THQ but in a recent call to investors, THQ CEO and President Brian Farrell said that the game no longer fits their “profitability profile.” What that means we will leave to you to ponder.
Specifically, Farrell said “The profitability profile for Devil’s Third no longer met our internal threshold and we are currently in discussions with third parties regarding the future of this title.” He went on to say unforeseen issues during the development of the game including the company that made the game engine that Devil’s Third was going to run on went out of business. When that happened, THQ was forced to step in and assist Itagaki’s team in the development of a new engine which cost a considerable amount of time and money that they hadn’t initially projected. The death stroke though was perhaps the unexpected appreciation of the Yen, which reduced Devil’s Third’s potential for profit compared to other projects in THQ’s pipeline.
THQ says it isn’t completely throwing Devil’s Third to the wayside and will try to work with Itagaki to find a new publisher to “make sure this game comes to market”. If the numbers don’t add up, then we don’t think it’s bad for THQ to bail (especially with their recent troubles), but at this point with the amount of money they have sunk into the development of the game it might have been worth it to just see it through. As is the case now, they will probably end up selling the rights to another publisher, names like Sega and Square Enix make a lot of sense to me. Itagaki is probably best known from his work on the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden franchises, those games were awesome so I wouldn’t count him out just yet.
Either way this should turn out to be interesting, though I predict Itagaki and Devil’s Third won’t be looking for a new home for long.