Thanks to a disappointing quarter, THQ has decided to nuke our beloved Martian franchise, Red Faction.
Wednesday THQ reported its fiscal 2012 first quarter results, claiming a net loss of $38.4 million compared with a net loss of $30.1 million in the prior-year period. Obviously disappointed with its first quarter financial performance, THQ blames the financial slump on poor sales stemming from Red Faction: Armageddon, its licensed kids titles, and the late arrival of UFC Personal Trainer.
"Given that [Red Faction] now in two successive versions has [only] found a niche, we do not intend to carry forward with that franchise in any meaningful way," THQ CEO Brian Farrell told THQ's investors in a conference call, adding that Red Faction: Armageddon "did not resonate with a sufficiently broad console gaming audience [despite its] passionate niche following."
"In today's hit-driven, core gaming business, even highly-polished titles with a reasonable following like Red Faction face a bar that continues to move higher and higher," he said. "Moving forward, our core game titles must meet a very high quality standard with strong creative and product differentiation, appeal to a broad audience, and be marketed aggressively."
So that's it: Red Faction is a done Tom Turkey unless some other publisher buys the rights and re-boots the franchise again. To be honest, the failure of Red Faction: Armageddon isn't surprising given that it launched in the same window as Dule Nukem Forever and F.E.A.R. 3. What also hurt the shooter was bland gameplay mostly consisting of bug hunts routed underneath the Martian surface. The made-for-TV Red Factions: Origins movie seemingly had a better chance although there's no word if the series will continue on through the SyFy Channel.
Over on Metacritic, the game has an average score with critics preferring the PC version (75) over the Xbox 360 (72) and PlayStation 3 (71) versions.
But despite a disappointing quarter and the termination of the Red Faction franchise, THQ predicts greener pastures in the next half of the fiscal year. "Despite a light first half, we are looking forward to a strong and profitable second half, including what we expect to be the biggest third quarter, both in revenue and earnings per share, in our company's history, with proven franchises Saints Row, WWE and the uDraw GameTablet, all launching in November," Farrell said.
The THQ report released on Wednesday rehashed a few highlights and recent developments that took place in fiscal Q1 including the agreement with Turtle Rock Studios Inc., creators of the Left 4 Dead series, who will publish a new core title scheduled to be released in calendar 2013. Patrice Désilets joined THQ and will be working out of its Montreal, Quebec development studio on a new original AAA title. THQ also unveiled plans to bring uDraw to the Xbox 360and PlayStation 3 consoles this fall.
Red Faction: Armageddon was the fourth game in THQ's sci-fi series. The franchise originally launched back in May 2001 but saw a "reboot" in 2009 with the launch of the third installment, Red Faction: Guerrilla. Based on Metacritic numbers, the original Red Faction for the PlayStation 2 was the most popular out of all four installments with a score of 88. The PC version of Red Faction II was the least popular with a score of 64.
As a tribute to the now-dead series, here's a couple of screenshots we took from the OnLive version of Red Faction: Armageddon: