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Feature: Hellblade’s creator: ‘The experiences that I’ve heard of are beyond anything I could imagine.’

Hellblade Photo Mode Screenshots

According to Tameem Antoniades, co-founder of the UK based studio Ninja Theory, the hardest part about making an ‘independent AAA’ game is — apart from the money, of course — just figuring out what you can actually do with a small team.

On big budget projects with a lot of staff you can, Antoniades explained, plan out more of your game: you can plan the story and the level design before you sit down and start to make it. ‘If you’ve only got one environment artist, the size of your world depends on what that one guy can build,’ he said. ‘So there’s a process of discovery across every team member.’ 

Ninja Theory has worked on some big titles over the years, including DmC: Devil May Cry, which public opinion seems to have retconned into having been bad despite generally positive reviews at the time (I’m on Team DmC Was Good). Recently, the developer funneled off a small number of the 100 strong staff into making Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which came out at the start of August. Speaking at Hellblade’s launch, Antoniades said that the current gaming landscape feels, in movie terms, like it’s skipped the Raging Bulls and Black Swans and has ‘gone straight to the Marvel blockbusters’.

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