One thing Microsoft struggled with in the last generation was its ability to build games to the standard of PlayStations infamous development teams. Whilst PlayStation released hit after hit, the Xbox suffered with staggered ‘hit’ releases and far fewer exclusives. Although, Microsoft noticed this towards the later part of the generation and began to grow its own studios to the point now where it has a huge raft of development teams under its belt. From looking at all the development teams that have been acquired recently, it’s hard to tell who the leading team for Xbox will be, this time around. For PlayStation it is clear that Naughty Dog, Santa Monica and Insomniac are their flagship developers, making the best performing exclusive games for the system. Although for Xbox it’s really hard to say, but what I can say is that I think Ninja Theory could be the leading Xbox Flagship team.
Ninja Theory’s resume when looked at from a technical standpoint is impressive. I mean having one of your first games being Heavenly Sword, is a fantastic start for any business. The game was received positively by critics and then the team went on to create arguably one of the most underrated games, Enslaved. Enslaved has incredible acting, storytelling and immersive gameplay that was a joy to play. Even with DmC (the attempted Reboot of Devil May Cry), it was fan reception that ruined this game. The game itself, if you took away the DmC badge, it was an incredible game, with some real technical moments in it. What is clear here is that Ninja Theory know exactly what they are doing, and they have the potential to create some truly remarkable games. But let’s move onto, what in my opinion is one of the most impressive things this amazing development company achieved – Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade was an ambitious title that delivered one of my favourite experiences of the last gen, on nearly a fraction of the budget to most AAA games. It also touched on some real-world points, with the utmost care and respect, to share the experiences from the lens of someone who faces completely different battles to me and you, every day. Hellblade was a self-published game, which Ninja Theory marketed as an independent AAA game because of its lower budget and lack of publisher. So, consider this: If this is the type of game that Ninja Theory can create with limitation applied to them, imagine what they could do with a publisher who would give them a free reign to create their wildest dreams, with fair timescales. If you haven’t had the chance to experience Hellblade yet, regardless of platform, just go and play it – but keep my thoughts in mind.
I seriously think that Senua’s Sage: Hellblade II is going to be an impressive and amazing experience. It seems that Xbox is giving the freedom that the development team need and are allowing them to take the time to create a truly amazing experience. I hope for the best things to come for Ninja Theory and the release of Hellblade II. I would love to see this team, finally get the love, and support that it has deserve.
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