Publisher THQ announced its second quarter earnings today, pushing back the release of three of its key titles: South Park: The Stick of Truth, Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2.
Obsidian Entertainment's South Park role-playing game was originally slated to release on March 5, 2013. THQ has pushed the title to "early fiscal 2014," meaning the earliest that title could release is April 1, 2013.
Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2 will be released in March 2013, THQ says, later than originally planned. Each title has been delayed about two months, according to THQ executives.
THQ president Jason Rubin said the three games "needed additional development time to be market-ready" in an announcement.
"Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth were all challenged, and were guaranteed to fall short of their design specs if forced to meet their announced release schedules," Rubin said in an investor call.
"I believe South Park's market opportunity is significant," Rubin said. "It is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated titles of calendar 2013. It is also an expansive title, encompassing multiple television seasons' worth of content. We have been working closely with the co-creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, to make sure all of the game's content performs to the high standards of the TV show, and this takes time. THQ is committed to giving gamers no less than the rich South Park game they have been waiting for and deserve."
Regarding the delays of Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2, Rubin said "Giving both of these titles time to reach their full potential is the right thing to do for the products."
Rubin confirmed that Homefront 2, the sequel to Saints Row: The Third and Turtle Rock Studios' unannounced game are still in development and expected after THQ's current fiscal year, which ends in March 2013.
"I firmly believe releasing our fourth quarter titles without extra time for polish in the current environment would lead to underperformance that could in turn lead to future additional capital shortfalls. But extending development schedules in order to make the best possible titles also has financial implications. Yet there can be no doubt which path has the greatest chance of leading to the long-term success of the company. We must follow the course that generates the highest quality games, and will establish THQ as a mark of quality for the consumer," Rubin said.
"The delay in revenue generated on the three titles has further risks for the company," Rubin added. "None of the above should lead one to believe that I have any less confidence in the slate. Given the right resources, THQ is as strong as ever."
Rubin was named president of THQ in May of this year, tasked with "[realigning] its focus from a maker of licensed games for broad audiences to a developer of AAA 'Core' games for multiple platforms." Under Rubin's leadership, the company ended development on certain projects, including Valhalla Game Studios' Devil's Third and Guillermo del Toro's Insane.
For the remainder of THQ's fiscal 2013, the company also plans to release Darksiders 2 for Wii U and Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.