CHAMPAIGN — Jason Rubin liked Volition's "Saints Row: Enter The Dominatrix" so much, he upgraded it to a stand-alone game.
Rubin, the new president of Volition's parent company, THQ, told analysts Monday he had "an incredible amount of fun" playing "Enter The Dominatrix" and decided it shouldn't be just a stand-alone expansion of "Saints Row The Third."
Consequently, THQ has pushed back the game's release until calendar year 2013, with plans to make it "a full-fledged, full-priced sequel."
It would be fourth in the line of video games that includes "Saints Row," "Saints Row 2," and "Saints Row: The Third" — all developed by Volition, THQ's Champaign-based development studio.
The move, discussed during a conference call Monday, is part of THQ's strategy to concentrate on "core games" with significant digital components.
THQ also announced Monday it has stopped preproduction work on the "inSANE" trilogy and signed over rights for further development to filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who had been working with THQ on the project. Originally, Volition was to develop those games.
Dan Cermak, Volition's general manager, said a small number of people had been assigned to the "inSANE" project and they were shifted to other work. He said Rubin, who visited Champaign earlier this summer, has "a real affinity for (development) studios," having founded one himself.
On Monday, THQ reported net income of $15.4 million for the quarter that ended June 30, up from a net loss of $38.4 million for the same quarter in 2011.
That translated to diluted earnings per share of $2, compared with a loss of $5.63 a share a year earlier.
Though net sales were not as high as a year ago, THQ was able to turn a profit by cutting operating expenses and the cost of sales.
THQ's catalog sales for the most recent quarter were paced in part by "Saints Row: The Third," which remains popular despite having been released last November.
THQ's CEO, Brian Farrell, said THQ's executive team has "made significant progress reshaping the company."
Besides adding Rubin in May, the company has hired Jason Kay as chief strategy officer and Ron Moravek as executive vice president of production.
THQ plans to release "Darksiders II" next week and "WWE '13" in October. It will follow those up with "Company of Heroes 2," "Metro: Last Light" and "South Park: The Stick of Truth" early next year, according to a release.
During the quarter that ended June 30, 71 percent of THQ's revenues came from games played on consoles, 12 percent from games played on handheld devices and 17 percent from games played on personal computers.
During the same quarter last year, the percentage of games played on PCs was only 7 percent.
Cermak said the Volition staff is preparing for the next generation of consoles, expected to come out in the next year or two.
Often, new generations of consoles are accompanied by a wave of creativity, with many original games being released, he said.