Ninja Theory Made No Money on Heavenly Sword


Despite being one of the supposedly major exclusives for the PS3 early in its life, “martial arts drama” Heavenly Sword didn’t even make enough money for its developer to make even.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 may have plenty of good games these days, but that wasn’t the case once upon a time. In fact, there was a time when pretty much every game hyped as being the Big Game for the console (before MGS4, that is) – the game that would finally justify its existence and $600 price tag – ended up releasing to a big fat “eh.”

Heavenly Sword(s) was one of those games, a “martial arts drama” whose ambition overextended its execution, and whose one real distinction was having its demo as the very first Zero Punctuation review here on The Escapist.

But it was a high-profile PS3 title in the Premetalgearian eon, which is why it’s slightly surprising that developer Ninja Theory is going multiplatform with its next title, Enslaved. It wouldn’t be surprising if we had a look at the balance books, though – as Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades told CVG, exclusivity can be very difficult for smaller developers.

“It’s difficult. Heavenly Sword came out pretty early on the PS3, and we sold, I think, a million and a half copies, and that’s still not enough as an independent studio to break even,” said Antoniades. “The publisher potentially breaks even at that point, but the developers don’t … It’s just that when so many people have Xbox – I mean over half the market or more has Xbox 360s – why limit yourself to one platform?”

It is a very good point – why intentionally limit yourself so heavily? Ignoring a potential audience should never be done without good reason. Hopefully the company will actually be able to turn a profit on its next game, because getting to pay your employees is probably really awesome.

About the author