It's been nearly three months since Ninja Theory released Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice on the PlayStation 4. The game did an admirable job tackling psychosis and mental health, and was fairly well-received as a result. In a new interview, Ninja Theory CCO Tameem Antoniades says that with Hellblade close to breaking even soon, going "indie" was the right call.
To be clear, Ninja Theory has been calling their approach something akin to double-A Development (as opposed to triple-A). But for a developer that previously worked with some big publishers, self-publishing Hellblade was a big change. And it appears to have worked out for them.
Antoniades recently told GamesBeat, "The triple-A publishing model goes in cycles, sort of, but it doesn't really serve developers like us very well, mid-size developers. A lot of opportunity is out there for developers, but the triple-A model is a difficult one, a dangerous one, where you're not fully in control of your destiny."
Ninja Theory previously worked with Namco to release Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Capcom for the controversial DmC: Devil May Cry. However for Hellblade, Ninja Theory self-published the game while retaining the rights to the IP.
"Of course, because we self-published it, it's the first time we're getting the bulk of the money back, which is amazing. We own the IP this time. It's opened up a bunch of doors and possibilities that we just didn't have until this point."
Ninja Theory intends on releasing another dev diary with concrete data and sales figures soon. Antoniades says it's so that other developers can see what Ninja Theory's done and replicate it for themselves. As Antoniades says, "We're doing that because we genuinely want games to be as exciting, ambitious, and creative as they used to be... there's a real danger in losing great studios at an alarming rate when we shouldn't have to, simply because we don't know what works and what doesn't in the digital era."
In a moment where the fate of single-player narrative games are at risk of losing out to games-as-service style multiplayer games, perhaps Ninja Theory's work on Hellblade helps pave the way for future ambitious, single-player games.
If you enjoyed Hellblade, I strongly recommend giving the whole interview a read as it gives fascinating insight into the production of the game.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC through Steam.
This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.