Microsoft Encouraging Ninja Theory to Keep on Keepin’ On
Last year Microsoft expanded their horizons and their scope of their first party studios by adding 5 new developers to their lineup. Easily the most shocking of all the acquisitions is Ninja Theory, the developer behind Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. While fans have been unsure whether Microsoft would assert their influence over the studio that’s best known for creating smaller budget, well-crafted projects, it seems there’s nothing to worry about.
Though the acquisition of the well known studio was revealed last E3, this year, Ninja Theory revealed their brand new and upcoming title Bleeding Edge. Despite this, fans are curious if the studio’s approach to games development is going to change as a result of Microsoft’s influence. According to a new interview on the Game Informer Show, Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, stated that they want to let Ninja Theory keep creating the same types of games they always have. In fact, he stated that Microsoft acquired the studio with the intention of letting them continue to create smaller scope, high quality games, like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, as opposed to long and intricate triple A titles.
Here’s what he Matt Booty had to say, “I think Hellblade is a great thing to point out as an example because it is just a great example of the kind of game that we’re looking for from the studios that we’ve acquired recently- which are, they’re not going to be 90 hour AAA games. But what they are going to be are things that are super well crafted, that will have as close to AAA production values as we can get. But we’re going to scope them so they can be done well by a smaller studio.” He continued, “I think to me the magic of Hellblade is how well it was built, and how compelling its story was. But it is a masterful bit of design constraint and scoping, so that what it does, it does really well. It’s not a hundred hour game, but the 10-15 hours gameplay that it is is really, really well done. So I think for us it was more of a test case, of ‘hey, if we were to acquire Ninja Theory, and they were to just continue shipping games of the quality and scope of Hellblade, would we consider that a success?’ And the answer is yes.”
In addition to letting them continue to work on the games they were making prior to the acquisition, like Bleeding Edge, Booty says that Ninja Theory’s output of games is something that fits well within Microsoft strategy. “And I think where that helps our strategy is when you think about something like Game Pass, where people are subscribing, and they really want to know, ‘hey, what’s next? I wanna play this, what’s coming up?’ Those kinds of games are great, and they’re things that fit perfectly in between our bigger AAA releases. So, I don’t that Hellblade was the pivot point, but it certainly was a great example or test case to prove out what we’re looking for when we buy a studio.”
It’s definitely a good thing to see Microsoft letting Ninja Theory create games they’re passionate about, allowing them to spread their wings and just carry on, though perhaps with a slightly larger budget to work with. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to keep it locked for updates!