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Ninja Theory Co-Founder Has Left, Studio Shares What Fans Enjoy About Hellblade 2

Ninja Theory Co-Founder Has Left, Studio Shares What Fans Enjoy About Hellblade 2

Ninja Theory’s co-founder Tameem Antoniades has quietly left the company. Polygon discovered the vacuum on a recent visit to the Cambridge, UK-based studio for a preview of the upcoming Hellblade 2.

Ninja Theory Co-Founder Has Left, Studio Shares What Fans Enjoy About Hellblade 2

Polygon discovered that Antoniades was nowhere to be found in the studio and there was no mention of him. Before his exit, Antoniades was the chief creative director at Ninja Theory. His departure was later confirmed by the spokesperson for Xbox which owns the studio.

Antoniades will be remembered for his work as a writer-director on Devil May Cry, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and Heavenly Sword. He was also involved in the early stages of the making of Hellblade 2. However, the game is now headed by three creative leads.

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Dan Attwell is heading environment art direction, Mark Slater-Tunstill is in charge of visual effects, and David Garcia heads audio directing. The sequel to Senua’s horrifying story was announced in 2019 alongside the Xbox Series X console.

Ninja Theory Co-Founder Has Left, Studio Shares What Fans Enjoy About Hellblade 2

During a Developer Direct event earlier this year, Microsoft and Ninja Theory announced that Hellblade 2 will be released on May 21, 2024. It was also revealed that the game will be a digital-only release costing $50. In terms of length, it was said that the game would be as long as the first which took roughly 8 hours to complete.

According to Polygon’s Oli Welsh, Ninja Theory’s quest for realism was evident in Hellblade 2. During a press tour of the studio, Attwell explained that the route of her adventure was plotted using real-world locations captured using a mixture of satellite imaging, procedural generation, drone footage, and photogrammetry.

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According to the report, the team spent weeks on locations in Iceland which is where Hellblade 2 was set. In the game, Senua is on a “hunt for Norse slavers who are discriminating her community in the northern British Isles”.

Ninja Theory believes Hellblade 2 fans love shorter, focused games

Ninja Theory Co-Founder Has Left, Studio Shares What Fans Enjoy About Hellblade 2

While some just want to enjoy their games, others take the length of the game seriously. Ninja Theory appears to have made Hellblade 2 to be almost the same length as the first—and it was not by mistake. According to the studio, fans enjoy shorter, more focused game experiences.

“I think what we always set out to do is to tell a story and for the game length to be appropriate for the story that we want to tell,” said Ninja Theory studio head Dom Matthews in a discussion with IGN. “So it’s not really a case of setting out to make shorter experiences.

“I think it is… There is a story that we want to tell here with a beginning, middle, and end and what is the right shape and size of experience to tell that story? So that’s kind of where we start.

“So I’m really pleased to see that there’s a lot of people that actually enjoy a shorter experience, something that they can sit down on a whatever Friday night, stick their headphones on, turn the lights off, and kind of sink into an experience and players who don’t necessarily want something that is 50 hours long, a 100 hours long, so it’s as long as it needs to be. And I’m one of those people, I like shorter games.

“I think there’s a lot of pressure on people’s time these days and I think our fans, from what we hear from them, they enjoy a shorter game where our intention is that every step of that journey is meaningful… There’s an audience of people that want games that are focused.”

The decision to release Hellblade 2 digitally alone will likely not sit well with advocates of video game conservation. In a February business update, Microsoft gaming heads said that they had no plan to get rid of physical media but would adapt to player behavior.

It is also claimed that Hellblade 2 will run on 30fps on Xbox Series X|S. The big question is why has it been so difficult to achieve a 60fps baseline in the current-gen consoles.