[Updated With Response] Developer Ninja Theory Calls the Console Model "Broken", Shifts Focus to Mobile Games
by Ryan Kerns
As we're currently looking at next-gen launch titles that will shape the way we play games in the future, let's look back at the PlayStation 3 launch and the impressively beautiful Heavenly Sword. Although short in length, the game showed us what to expect from a cinematic action game using professional motion capture actors.
We are now past the Playstation 4 launch, and there's no Ninja Theory game... here's why. They followed up Heavenly Sword with a multi-platform game called Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and a reboot to Capcom's Devil May Cry series called DmC. While all of their titles have been good games that were critically praised, they failed to sell very well. Their titles also have a very unique style that doesn't always follow a "AAA" formula... which in the case of DmC, lead to a backlash from fans upset by Dante's redesign.
He said that Ninja Theory is heading entirely for mobile, because the AAA console model is broken and the consoles themselves have at most ten years of life left.
Ninja Theory's design chief, Tameem Antoniades, just did an interview with Edge Magazine about why this is leading them to focus on the mobile game market. Now maybe advice on where the games industry is heading coming from a guy whose games have not been commercially successful isn't all that sound; it's still sad to see Ninja Theory abandon consoles. This doesn't mean all future Ninja Theory games will be touch based however, as he does see potential in Valve's Steam Box.
“One platform that does seem to be going in the right direction is the Steam Box. It’s an open development platform, fully digital and a media server, will doubtless integrate with mobile and tablets, and includes all the flexible pricing included from Steam. If I was to make a bet, I’d say that the Steam Box has the capacity to disrupt before mobile does."
He then goes on to say that PS4 and Xbox One will still have a decent shelf life, but he feels they will be the last of the game consoles. He also talks about wanting to have music playing in his ear constantly that dynamically changes based on what's happening... so yeah... again, maybe not exactly sage advice here.
What this does mean is that their next title is a mobile game called Fightback. The game is 80's movie inspired that actually looks pretty close to Sega's classic Die Hard Arcade.
"A 15 hour AAA game is a crushing development experience for the producer. It constrains creativity, there’s a lot of checkboxes to justify $60."
This also means there will likely not be a DmC 2, which does align with Capcom saying they were going to stop farming out games to outside studios and the fact that DmC was a commercial flop (I personally really enjoyed the game). We're also left with one last question mark... this mystery game that showed up in Ninja Theory's tribute video to this console generation.
I wish Ninja Theory luck on whatever platform they decide to make games on. Enslaved was also just released on Steam so I recommend checking it out if you missed it.
UPDATE- Ninja Theory took to Twitter to deny "going mobile only"
Reports today that Ninja Theory are moving to mobile only development are inaccurate.— NinjaTheory (@NinjaTheory) November 21, 2013
Originally Published Nov. 21st 2013
We are currently developing for both mobile and console platforms and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.— NinjaTheory (@NinjaTheory) November 21, 2013