Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice developer Ninja Theory posted a video explaining why it joined Microsoft instead of staying independent, and what that means.
One of Microsoft's biggest E3 announcements was the acquisition of several gaming studios, including Hellblade creator Ninja Theory. One reason that specific partnership was surprising is because this team was just breaking ground in a sweet spot between AAA and indie development. Why sign your studio away after you've managed to achieve independence?
Ninja Theory has published a new video explaining this decision. In short: signing with Microsoft will provide the same freedom with an added level of stability. It emphasizes that a few years ago, the studio was in real danger of complete collapse. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was a Hail Mary pass, but it would still take the better part of a decade before the entire team would be that stable.
According to the video, Microsoft's deal maintains all of Ninja Theory's creative freedom while providing access to technological resources the studio would have trouble obtaining on its own. What's more, funding future projects will be absolutely no problem. There are now presumably quite a few team members who are no longer worried about whether they'll still have a job in five years - that's not a small thing.
That's not to say there will be no changes. Most Ninja Theory projects moving forward will focus on Microsoft platforms, which the team is upfront about. "We recognize this will disappoint many of you, and that's not something that we take lightly," commercial director Dominic Matthews said.
At the same time, Ninja Theory will be able to produce more games in a shorter span of time. If they're as critically acclaimed as Hellblade, that could be quite the silver lining.