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Saints Row 3, InSane and Devil's Third: Danny Bilson on THQ's future

Interview: Publisher's core games boss on the firm's biggest unreleased games...

2011 is the year that, to use his own phrasing, we all find out if "Danny Bilson is full of sh*t or not".

THQ's VP of core games has regularly shown a lot of admirable excitement for his team's upcoming products - the sort of we're simply not used to seeing from guys who report into the Boardroom.

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But is Bilson's joy-filled rhetoric merely hyperbolic - or can 'new' THQ (and its curvaceous logo) really improve the average quality level of the company's output?

We sat down with the man himself to discuss upcoming games including this year's Saints Row 3 - as well as future prospects Devil's Third and Guillermo Del Toro's InSane. Although more tight-lipped than usual, it wasn't long before Bilson's natural sprightliness came to the fore...

You recently announced a new logo. Why now? What perceptions about the old THQ did you want to leave in the past?

That's easy. Why now? Now is our first introduction to New THQ - which I've been talking about and we've been working on for years. It's all about the games. What you saw [at our event in January] was five really good games, and what you'll see at E3 is even more really good games All of us, my whole team - marketing, PR, product development - they've all sent me emails about how excited they were to kick this off.

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The proof's in the pudding, right? It's when you guys get your hands on the games. But we believe that this is a massive uplift in the quality bar at THQ, and in the consistency of quality. They've popped a good one now and again over the years, right? But again, there was a lot of stuff that maybe wasn't so good that hung under that old logo.

Even I as a gamer before I came to THQ would see that on the box and wonder. We had to get rid of that handicap. I don't want to say any disparaging things, because no matter how bad a game is, there's always someone who's had to sleep under their desk to ship it, you know?

We just wanted to make a statement that says: "We are new, we are different, let's change the damn logo." When I got here three years ago, Brian Farrell said: "Hey, I hate that damn logo, I want to change it." But nobody ever did anything about it. Now, with the timing - I believe we have at least one epic game every quarter, plus a lot of other good stuff - it's absolutely the time to get it going.

I'm just going to run through some titles you haven't talked about in a while to get an update on them...

I'll do what I can. I'll say what I can before she [points at PR rep] kicks me.

The big one is Saint's Row 3. Why haven't we seen it yet, and just how good is it looking?

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A secret weapon isn't a secret weapon if I blow the secret... It's not going to be that much longer that you have to wait. Secret weapon. That's enough. Look, all I get is: "Don't talk about Saint's Row!" So that's enough.

I'm going to ask one more on that. Shut it down as quick as you like.

I'll try.

Red Dead Redemption owned the open world space last year. Now there's L.A Noire and your own Red Faction. Is there room for Saint's Row 3 to breathe - even if a new GTA gets announced?

Absolutely. If it's coming, it's more unique than it's ever been before. It differentiates itself much more from Rockstar's stuff than it ever has before. Look, I'm going to be so happy to talk about it when they let me. Let's just be patient.

InSane is a game you've announced really, really early. You're working with Guillermo Del Toro. Although on the one hand that's a mouth-watering prospect, it could be construed as a stunt - getting a big Hollywood player in...

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