During the Sony Gamescom 2014 press briefing yesterday, Ninja Theory unveiled their newest project called Hellblade. While it was just a small teaser that we were shown, Hellblade is going to be taking the "Independent AAA" route leading up to its release.
Hellblade is coming to the PS4, but its development process will be different from your typical AAA title. Dominic Matthews, who is a communications manager at Ninja Theory, talked about why Hellblade is being self-published, rather than going to a major publisher like they've done with previous games.
"Why have we chosen to self-publish this game? Certain types of game are very difficult to make for AAA retail without being watered down or otherwise compromised for a mass audience. This is especially true of sword-based combat games or games of a distinctive style or unusual subject matter.
"We want to make a smaller, more focused game experience that is uncompromising in its combat, art and story, and deliver this digitally at a lower price," Matthews said.
This is certainly a new turn for Ninja Theory and will provide the type of transparency many, many fans typically want to see from a AAA game leading up to its launch. Most publishers are reluctant to pull back the veil on a game, even though EA has actually started doing this a bit more, but hopefully Hellblade will inspire companies to be more open with what their creating, while they're creating it.
Hellblade has certainly been announced quite early on in the game's development, but that was by design, according to Ninja Theory. Matthews talked about the decision to announce the game early as well as the type of content they will be releasing to fans via the official Hellblade website.
"We have announced the game unusually early. This is a deliberate move: we want to share our development journey with you, the fans; to develop Hellblade right in front of your eyes so you can see just how we go about making games.
"Throughout the project we’ll be sharing developer diaries, concept art, design documents, tutorials and work-in-progress of the game being put together. You’ll also see a lot more information about 'Independent AAA', and in the spirit of openness, we’ve posted a lot of documentation on a couple of Ninja Theory games that were planned, but never made it into production," Matthews said.
While it's certainly possible for Hellblade to launch on consoles like the Xbox One, Ninja Theory said the game will be making its console debut first on PS4. However, we don't expect this game to release until 2016 at the earliest.