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Ninja Theory, developer of Hellblade 2, suggests that its audience prefers shorter gaming experiences

Ninja Theory, the developer of Hellblade 2, has shed light on its preference for creating shorter games, emphasizing that digital distribution has broadened the scope for games of varying lengths.

Owned by Microsoft, Ninja Theory is gearing up to launch Hellblade 2, a digital-only title priced at $50 and estimated to be around eight hours in length. This follows the release of Bleeding Edge in 2020, a multiplayer online game, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice in 2017, which was also a relatively shorter and less expensive game without a physical release.

In a recent interview with IGN, Dom Matthews, the studio head at Ninja Theory, discussed how Hellblade 2 aligns with the team’s vision for the story they wanted to tell. He emphasized that the game’s length is tailored to the narrative they intended to convey, rather than deliberately aiming for shorter experiences. Matthews explained that the focus is on crafting an experience that effectively delivers the story with a beginning, middle, and end, hence determining the appropriate length for the game.

Matthews highlighted that Ninja Theory has identified an audience that appreciates shorter gaming experiences where each aspect of the journey holds significance. He noted the shift in the industry with the advent of digital distribution, which has allowed for a diverse range of game lengths. Many players now enjoy shorter experiences that they can fully immerse themselves in, without committing to lengthy gameplay sessions. Matthews expressed his personal preference for shorter games and acknowledged the constraints on people’s time in today’s fast-paced world.

With the growing trend of games launching directly into subscription services and foregoing physical releases, measuring success has become more complex. Hellblade 2, being a first-party Xbox game, will debut on Game Pass on May 21, 2024, alongside standalone purchases on PC via Steam and Xbox. Matthews emphasized that success for Ninja Theory goes beyond sales figures and extends to empowering the team to create impactful experiences that resonate with players. He emphasized the importance of reaching a wide audience while maintaining the ability to evoke emotions and provoke thoughts through their games.

Looking ahead, Matthews expressed his desire for Hellblade 2 to continue the journey of the protagonist, Senua, in a manner that honors her character and resonates with fans of the original game. Ultimately, the studio aims to create experiences that leave a lasting impression on players and spark meaningful conversations within the gaming community.

In summary, Ninja Theory’s approach to game development prioritizes storytelling and meaningful experiences, tailored to the preferences of their audience. Through Hellblade 2 and other projects, the studio seeks to push boundaries and deliver compelling narratives that captivate players.

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