Hellblade Beats Expectations; Ninja Theory Hopes Other Devs Adopt Model

Ninja Theory Hopes More Independent Devs Find Success

It has been three months since the arrival of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a game that tackled mental health illness like no other property. Ninja Theory’s challenge was capturing the mental health aspect of the story while delivering a quality experience. Three months later, the game has turned profitable, which is why they’re sharing their success with players and devs.

hellblade top game-brekaing

As revealed in a press release, Hellblade sold 250k copies in its first week of launch. From there, the numbers grew and the game garnered wide acclaim. What’s impressive about all this is that Hellblade was developed by a team of 20 people; more importantly, it was independently published. Ninja Theory pushed the game into the limelight without a big budget, and it’s now turning a profit.

Because of their success in a competitive AAA industry, Ninja Theory is sharing the data for Hellblade’s commercial milestones:

  • Over 75k pre-orders across PC and PS4 before launch.
  • 250K units sold in the first week at $29.99.
  • Over $13m in revenue generated in 3 months.
  • 500k units sold in 3 months, which puts the project beyond breakeven and into profit. Our prediction was to be at this point in 6 months from release.
  • Development took 3 years and with an average team size of 20.
  • Game sold as digital-only.
  • About half the sales were on PC.

Hellblade Game Art

Furthermore, Tameem Antoniades, Co-founder and “Chief Creative Ninja,” had some words to share about the industry and Hellblade’s success.

“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.

“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.

“Three years ago we announced our intention to find a way to do our best work outside of the AAA retail model and have openly documented the journey in our thirty development diaries.

“The final step is to share our commercial model and digital sales data for the benefit of other developers.  The more data we have for alternative business models, the more developers can take informed commercial and creative risks.  For the benefit of our beloved medium, we’d like to encourage other developers to share their own data as well wherever possible.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported us and made Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice a commercial and creative success.”

Lastly, over the course of Hellblade’s development and evolution, Ninja Theory released a series of dev diaries to keep players and devs informed on the project. The very last diary was released today and can be found below. In it, the team details their methodology for independently developing Senua’s SacrificeThe hope is that other game developers will adopt the model and, perhaps, build their own AAA games without the stipulations of big publishing. Here’s to hoping.

SOURCE: Press Release