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meteorscrap avatar 12:09 AM on 09.24.2011
Luckiest Studio Ever: Ninja Theory

Ninja Theory is the luckiest studio alive. The fact that Tameem Antoniades had the balls to blame consumers for Ninja Theory's woes, woes meaning Ninja Theory is still working instead of expanding, basically says all that needs to be said about his arrogance, and by extension, the arrogance of Ninja Theory.



And really, what set it all in motion was Kung Fu Chaos. The game was a thoroughly mediocre, quirky title on the original Xbox. It's ranked at a 68% on Metacritic, and Ninja Theory was on the verge of collapse thanks to their unspectacular first outing when Jeremy San, perhaps on the tail end of a opium binge after the failures of I-Ninja and Bionicle: The Game, decided to save Ninja Theory and continue funding rather than keep his own studio afloat.

Now, nobody knows what sort of voodoo Ninja Theory cast to pull it off, but they not only managed to convince Andy Serkis to work with them, but they also convinced Sony that their upcoming title was so banging-hot that it not only needed to be licensed as a PS3-exclusive, but that the title deserved, nay, demanded the sort of advertising budget normally reserved for triple-A studios with well-proven backgrounds. Despite the advertising and critical fanfare, it took the studio eight months to break one million copies.



Eight months. For a game which, I swear to Christ, was seeing daily advertisements on TV on top of multiple advertisements on gaming websites and in magazines. It boggles the mind that shit shoved in a DVD case and sold to the masses would take that long to break a million copies with the sort of advertising might which Sony applied to the title.

Now in a perfect world, Ninja Theory would have become a second-party publisher. That would be true if they'd performed well, but as I've shown... Heavenly Sword probably underperformed for the advertising budget alone, let alone whatever the actual game cost to produce. A cost Sony probably had to eat, actually. Either way, if this game was half as successful as Tameem would have us believe, Enslaved would have been a PS3 exclusive.

Speaking of Enslaved... Don't get me wrong: Enslaved was great to watch. Visually speaking, it's a treat. And on top of the great script-writing and the fantastic acting in full display thanks to Andy Serkis and Lindsey Shaw, the game was a bit of a critical darling. However, despite the gobs of praise heaped on the title, they barely escaped the mess with half a million sales across multiple platforms, once again underperforming fantastically.



So at this point, we have...

-One title which nearly bankrupted the studio
-One title which should have made them a second-party studio, save for how unimpressive it was
-One title which underperformed rather spectacularly compared to the critical reception

For any other studio, any one of those three events would have crippled them completely. There are studios which used to exist which only did one of those things, and that was the end of them.

Bizarre Creations, despite being a fantastic studio with over a dozen hits under their belt, got cut the fuck up and spit the hell out when a single title underperformed, despite over a decade of producing hits. Black Rock likewise got the boot, ironically over the very title which killed Bizarre Creations.

Kaos Studio's latest release Homefront, despite selling over a million copies, caused them to see a flurry of pink slips. Despite releasing a game with some great multiplayer and selling well, the studio was disbanded.

In the face of any one of the failures Ninja Theory has faced, most studios would crumple and be disbanded. Being handed a well-established action series guaranteed to sell millions (plural) of copies by a large publisher is the last thing any studio except Ninja Theory and the horseshoes directly up each and every employee's ass could expect.


"Clearly, the Unreal engine is the future for a fast-paced third-person close combat game."

At this point, I've got to conclude that not only does Tameem Antoniades have a silver tongue, but it's equipped with an auto-fellate setting designed to break fucking gods.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the studio in theory. It's just that the combination of their history and Tameem Antoniades talking about how disappointed he was in consumers in the wake of Enslaved struck me as incredibly fucktarded.

Of course, DmC is going to skate by on sub-par gameplay and the admittedly fantastic storywriting the studio is known for, critically speaking, and the legion of Devil May Cry fans hungry for anything are going to ensure that however the game plays, the sales are going to break into the multi-million.

And, of course, Tameem Antoniades is going to be right there to claim credit for the success of the latest game instead of acknowledging the several tons of horseshoes he's somehow missed lodged directly in his colon.

 
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