Hellblade beats Ninja Theory’s expectations

Hellblade beats Ninja Theory’s expectations

It would seem that Ninja Theory’s Hellblade has done rather well for itself.

Speaking to VentureBeat, chief creative director said that the game was around the point of breaking even, and had performed better than the team anticipated.

“It sold better than our expectations,” Antoniades said.

“We’re doing one more dev diary where we’ll give out numbers and detail how it’s done. We want the data out there so other developers, if they want to do something similar, they have a data point, hopefully, to help encourage them to do more games like this.

“I think it’s almost broken even, or it’s about to break even in the next couple of weeks. I’d have to check. We weren’t expecting to break even for six, eight, nine months on this game. It looks like within three months, it will have broken even and then some. 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. In terms of a model, I’d say it is a success.”

Antoniades was also asked whether he feels Ninja’s Theory to go indie with this title was the right decision.

“Yes, yes, I think it really was,” he said.

“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. As we’ve seen over the last several years, dozens of good developers have disappeared. The only way you can counter that is find another way. This seems to have worked for us.

“We’ve documented the whole thing with our dev diaries. We’ve laid out how we’ve done it, and soon, we’ll release the data as well. We’re doing that because we genuinely want games to be as exciting, ambitious, and creative as they used to be — and still are to an extent. But 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.”

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.