Ninja Theory on going multi-platform

It's fair to say that Enslaved is one of the most promising games of this year.

Hot in development at Ninja Theory - the studio responsible for PS3 exclusive, Heavenly Sword - the gorgeous action adventure boasts the writing talent of 28 Days later scribe, Alex Garland and Gollum himself, Andy Serkis. It also looks fantastic.

You can read what we thought of the game itself in our Enslaved gameplay preview, and read on for our chat with Ninja Theory boss, Tameem Antoniades, who kindly answered our questions...


What attracted you to take the multi-platform route with Enslaved, as opposed to another platform exclusive?

So, our first game was Xbox exclusive and our next was PS3 exclusive and as an independent studio it just felt like we needed to go multi-platform.

I don't think platforms make games I think people make games and when you make a game you want it to be available to as many people as you can. That's a desire because you spend so much time creating something and you want it to be seen by people.

Was there a financial element behind it?

Sort of...

You mentioned in our last interview that you didn't make any money from Heavenly Sword...

Yeah, we didn't. Publishers usually break even before developers do. I don't know if Sony made any money on Heavenly Sword but we didn't, and we're an independent studio even though we were working on a PS3 exclusive, we were working on multiple games and we've got to make sure our games are multi-platform, really. It's survival as much as anything else.

There are pros and cons, if you're exclusive you get more attention but when you're multi-platform, at this stage in the cycle, there's more competition. You've got to weigh it against each other. But we couldn't do Heavenly Sword 2 as a multi-platform because it's owned by Sony, the tech we developed for that game is also owned by Sony.

Would you have done Heavenly Sword 2 if you owned the IP?

Probably. I think we would have. But there's a different dynamic with the platform holder. I mean, we signed up and we were happy to sign up because it allowed our studio to grow and we're really grateful for that, but it feels like as a studio we need to think about the next few years, the next games we release. We want them to be multi-platform so we had to come up with a new idea.

Did Heavenly Sword put you off signing up to another platform exclusive?


I think a lot of games that were on one platform have gone that way and are now multi-platform. I think partially it's because the games are so expensive to make that people want their games to be out on multiple platforms. It puts us in a good footing, if we do a multi-platform game then we can do further games on multiple platforms. To us it's just a logical thing to do.

Your developers are obviously very handy on the PlayStation 3, but now you're demoing Enslaved on Xbox 360. How is that working?

One of the first things we did was we used Unreal. We used it because actually the better the tools are for making games the better the game will be and Unreal has some fantastic tools for artists and designers. We could just make a more interesting game.

On the tech side, we wanted to make sure we didn't even have to think about the platforms, so the PS3 and Xbox SKUs are identical and we created our own kernel that would mean that the rest of the team, the artist and designers, don't have to think about what platform they're developing on, they just develop. Some of them have PS3 kits some of them have Xbox kits and it just works.

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