After only three months on the market, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice from Ninja Theory has sold 500,000 units. The game has exceeded expectations and achieved profitability for the studio. All told, Hellblade has reached $13 million in revenue, which is good enough for a studio the size of Ninja Theory with around 20 developers.
"Creatively we hit a homerun, but our other major goal was to prove that there was a space between indie and AAA games that could work commercially," said Ninja Theory creative chief Tameem Antoniades. "For that, sales do matter."
The developer diary video lays out some of the issues independent and mid-sized studios run into, and how the studio took care of those issues. Smaller team size, a smaller, more focused game, and some creative marketing with the help of supporters.
"The escalating stakes in the AAA retail publishing model has killed off countless independent studios like us, many smaller publishers, and is now straining even the largest of publishers. This isn't survival of the fittest but a routing of the creative base upon which this industry was built," said Antoniades in a press release. "The future isn't written and we don't believe that the writing is on the wall. AAA will always exist but we need strong alternatives as well."
"We hope this message gains traction with other developers," added commercial director Dominic Matthews in the dev diary. "If you're a developer like us, searching for independence and with a track record, then get in touch. We've been through this journey, so perhaps we can help."