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Xbox’s Handling Of Hellblade 2 Is Casting A Huge Doubt Over Future Of Ninja Theory

Xbox’s handling of the marketing for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is casting a huge doubt over the future of its developer, Ninja Theory.

The Ninja Theory developed action adventure game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, is a little over a week away from its release, and the marketing team at Xbox has done little to build interest in the game among gaming audiences. It is currently sitting at #233 in the global Steam best sellers list and at #62 in the list of top wishlisted titles on the platform. This is despite the game launching at a price of $49.99.

Hellblade 2 ninja theory

For what it’s worth, the company has featured the game on the Xbox store, and the official Xbox Twitter/X account has been sharing the video features Ninja Theory has been posting on various aspects of the game on its YouTube channel. However, it clearly isn’t enough, as evident from the level of interest seen on Steam. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, the next major first-party release from Xbox, is about to hit store shelves, but the hype surrounding the game remains lukewarm. With what little time left until the game’s launch, one would hope that the forthcoming “big global and regional marketing plans”, as Vice President of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg puts it, will improve things.

A number of different factors may have contributed to Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 ranking low on the Steam best sellers list. For starters, it is a graphically demanding Unreal Engine 5 game that shows off the engine’s features better than any other game so far. As such, the average user may not be playing on a PC equipped to handle its hardware requirements. Additionally, the game’s regional pricing isn’t particularly great, which is another reason why some players may have been discouraged from purchasing it.

Furthermore, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 being available on Xbox Game Pass will almost certainly reduce the game’s sales potential. Given its relatively shorter length of about eight hours, it’s the ideal game for a subscription service from a consumer standpoint. However, from Microsoft’s perspective, certainly after the Tango Gameworks closure, it appears that live service games such as Fallout 76 and Sea of Thieves that offer long-term engagement are more valuable for its subscription service. It’s possibly why, despite being critically acclaimed and being appreciated by the Xbox community, a game like Hi-Fi Rush no longer aligned with the company’s future plans.

Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, mentioned in an email to employees that the company is now looking to prioritize “high-impact” titles and “identify the opportunities that are best positioned for success.” Similarly, Xbox president Sara Bond talked about identifying industry trends and transitioning towards them during her recent interview with Bloomberg. She also highlighted the rising costs associated with making big budget games and the increasing amount of time it takes to make them.

So, why does all of this cast a doubt over the future of developer Ninja Theory? A lot depends on Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2’s commercial success and engagement trends, which, in turn, will determine the viability of the studio’s next project. It’s no secret that the game has been in the works for several years, which means that its development cost is undoubtedly much higher than that of something like Hi-Fi Rush. Microsoft is reportedly planning further cost-cutting even after shutting down four of Bethesda’s studios, which may entail the closure of additional first-party development teams that aren’t aligned with the opportunities and trends it wishes to pursue.

Muhammad Ali Bari

Muhammad Ali Bari has a knack for covering reviews. He manages our content pipeline, creates timelines for scheduled editorial tasks, and helps us cover exciting content. In his spare time, he enjoys playing multiplayer games.

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