Ninja Theory: We made no money on PS3 with Heavenly Sword

Ninja Theory has told CVG that it made no money from Heavenly Sword - one of the biggest PS3 exclusives released in the launch era of the console.

"It's difficult. Heavenly Sword came out pretty early on the PS3, and we sold, I think, a million and a half copies, and that's still not enough as an independent studio to break even," said co-founder Tameem Antoniades.

"The publisher potentially breaks even at that point, but the developers don't," he added, and it's for this reason that the developer chose to go multi-platform with its latest upcoming quest, Enslaved.

"It's just that when so many people have Xbox - I mean over half the market or more has Xbox 360s - why limit yourself to one platform?" commented Antoniades.

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darx3179d ago

Here come the "this game won't be any good" and the "Heavenly Sword wasn't that good anyway" comments.

Noctis Aftermath3179d ago

It was released 10 months after the PS3 launched, they probably had less then 2 years to make it, how the hell could they NOT have made a profit on it?

nycredude3179d ago

No the truth was that the media was way too harsh on this game and killed it for being short and a Ps3 exclusive. The hate at the time was 10 folds and there the "media' was responsible for this game "failing" at the time. It was and still is one of the better games around and I proudly own a copy. It may have been short but didn't feel cheap like some short games these days, i.e. MW2. the story was excellent and the graphics still hold up today so to each his own. if you haven't played this yet just go buy it you can get it fro under $30 now.

Serjikal_Strike3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

well can I get my money back...cuz I bought your game!

nix3179d ago

the game was great. it was thumbed down for the length. i bought the game. so dear ninja theory, i supported you in hope that you'll make a sequel. otherwise, it's cool. i enjoyed your game.

King_of _the_Casuals3179d ago

Ouch!!! That's too bad because Heavenly Sword was a pretty good game.

But this news is irrelevant because it happened sooo long ago. The install bases for all systems are now strong enough to support exclusives.

Winter47th3179d ago

The game was good, but it was too short for its own good. a 5 hour long game with no MP is hardly a seller.

FreeMonk3179d ago

I rented this game out when I first got my PS3, and I thought it was a great game.

The only downside to the game was that it was a little short, but as the developers said, the install base of the PS3 was not that big compared to the X360 at the time it was released.

Shame overall, but hopefully the studio will develop a sequal or a new IP, and hopefully get a bit of a profit from it all.

BeaArthur3179d ago

Winter47th...agreed, I only rented it knowing that is was pretty short. I beat it in two days.

Bubbles_Kitty_Cat3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

Heavenly Sword had amazing voice acting (Andy Serkis = instant win and was simply awesome in this game) but the game did have a few flaws.

I would love to see a second one with the same cast and a huge budget, but it doesn't sound like that will be happening anytime soon. :(

My favorite scene in the game...


If the game had trophies, I'm sure it would've garnered more sales. I wonder why Naughty Dog, and I think maybe one more dev, were the only ones to patch trophies in...

DarkTower8053179d ago

If they would add trophy support to Heavenly Sword I'd buy it again.

Pennywise3179d ago

If this game was 3-4 hours longer it would of been given the praise it deserved.

The reviewers were absolutely way to critical of the final score. They took a lot of points off because it was short. They also took points because it was single player only. A game like this does not need multiplayer.... maybe just a challenge room with online leader boards.

For a title that was so early in the PS3's life, it was a great game. I wish they would make HS2. Sony owns the IP. They need to make Santa Monica Studios make #2.

anh_duong3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

this game sold 1.5 mio copies? problem is if you are a small studio you need to rely on an external publisher.. large studios with their own publishing network tend need to sell less to do better..

third-party exclusives are a minority breed so from an economic perspective it is a no brainer to go multi unless there is a big upfront payout/marketing payout by the console manufacturer..

darkmurder3179d ago

B b bu but PS3 exclusives always sell well.

thief3179d ago

The key problem wasn’t the low base or length of the game. The problem was that reviewers and media picked on the game and scored it low for being a PS3 exclusive and daring to have graphics, story and animation that put every 360 game to shame
Moderately decent reviews or press for this amazing game would have meant 500,000 more copies, and made the difference between profit and loss
And it just shows how evil the MS-inspired campaign against the PS3 was, because it had a direct, harmful impact on developers exclusive on the PS3. Its no surprise that the developers of Lair and Haze went bust despite their stellar record, there are far inferior games (or worse, games with no ambition) but none that got so badly slaughtered in the media.

TOO PAWNED3179d ago

This is BS! The didn't choose to go 3rd party, Sony decided to cut deal with them on 2 (TWO) more games they had in their contract (i guess HS2 and 3). Why? Because they wasted a ton of money they took from SONY and more then 3 years in dev (HS started on original xbox then Sony picked it and poured money into it) and they delivered short game that was not worth 60 bucks, sorry it wasn't. You can click on that disagree button but only a mammoth fool would give 60 bucks for 5 hour game, and this affected sales and reviews. Sony was pissed (if rumors are true). Case closed. I bet Sony will give HS2 to someone else. Sony Cambridge was assisting development on HS, back then they were in same building with Ninja theory (what a silly name).
Anyways, don't listen to this guy, i remember watching videos with him where he was saying opposite and how it was great to work exclusively on PS3 since it gave them so much power blalblabla. PR BS.

HolyOrangeCows3179d ago

It missed the free-pass launch period.

BaSeBaLlKiD7213179d ago

If Sony were to make another HS, then I would say let Santa Monica create the game.

WildArmed3179d ago

Yeah definitely seems like they didn't appreciate anyone buying it.
I loved heavenly Sword.. picked it up in Sept 07.. not first day but close as i could.

It's fine that they went multiplat, it was a bad decision to start exclusive anyways. What did they think? to sell 3mil on a 10mil install base?

I'm looking forward to ensalve with after their effort in HS. but i hope we do see a Heavenly Sword 2.. Nariko could earn her place with Kratos, Dante, Ryu.. being the best of the best.

MorganX3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

You know, I have both consoles and try to be fair. But at this point, despite my XBLA and Live! love, I must say, the game won't be garbage, but it won't be as good as it could be if it is developed to the Xbox's limitations: DVD9, SD Audio, Lower graphic potential.

Heavenly Sword was great, and taxed the PS3 at the time. It's bad for gaming to have current gen games dumbed down like Final Fantasy was because the Xbox can't handle what dvelopers want to do.

Hey, I'm a Magic The Gathering freak and that's not even on PS3, and how much HD Audio and how many pixels does a game like that need? But when it comes to third person, Full HD Audio/Video, massive texture storage/retrieval, the Xbox cannot keep up with the PS3. Is the PS3 better? Technically yes, but it's all about the games and the Xbox can more than hold its own.

But the writing is on the wall. I hope this game isn't dubmded down for the sake of economical multiplatform development. Fill up that Blu-Ray first, then strip it down and compress it into the Xbox.

lil Titan3179d ago

but it was just really short i mean i expected more gameplay 2 to 3 hours isnt worth 60 dollars unless there is online play

raztad3179d ago

Ninja Theory is a good developer and made a nice job with HS. Game was heavily criticized, nitpicked and scrutinized by the the press. UC1 got the same treatment. I hope ENSLAVED does well and wish Ninja Theory the best.

Now Santa Monica where is my HS2 fix? put that amazingly EPIC GoW3 engine in good use.

crck3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

Heavenly Sword was average or slightly above IMO. The animation was choppy and the hit detection was sloppy. It just didn't have the polished fight mechanics that games like Gaiden and GOW do. I was only about 2 hours in when the game glitched and a boss didn't come out when they were suppose to. Turned it off at that point and never felt the urge to turn it on again. Returned the rental a week later. BTW I'm pretty sure Sony owns the Heavenly Sword IP so its probably up to them if a sequel will ever be made.

tordavis3179d ago

That's too bad. Heavenly Sword in my opinion, is still one of the best PS3 games made this gen. It's a masterpiece.

captain-obvious3179d ago

was the instal base for the PS3 at that time even a million ??

WhittO3179d ago

lol meaning they are prob making a 360 exclusive game or more likely an entirely new ip that is multiplat.

I think they are worried everyone wants another Heavenly Sword, and they arent making one.

The Great Melon3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )


I would gladly spend another $60 on Heavenly Sword. I'll take a fantastic 5 hour experience any day over the multitude of mediocre 10 hour games churned out every month. Heavenly Sword was an albeit short but amazing experience. I hope the Sony returns to the series in the future.

ReBurn3179d ago

I thought that Heavenly Sword was a fantastic experience, particularly when it was released so early in the PS3's lifecycle. I'd like to see Ninja Theory be able to do more with the IP.

Sharpshell3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

if you actually beat he game in 5 hours you are some kind of messiah. When you take into account the effect of having to repeat sections after you die its allot longer, at least in my experience.

I rented it because the reviews went on and on about how short it was and i didn't have time to beat it, and had to rent it again, i was so annoyed at all the reviewers

Christopher3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

I'm confused as to how you DON'T make a profit off of 1.5 million sales. How much did the game cost to develop?

Sorry, but 1.5 million sales is better than most games in the last 3 years, even multiplatform titles. And, even some of the crappiest of titles made a profit *cough*Vampire Rain*cough*

barom3179d ago

hey 1.5 million sales huh? Not bad, not bad at all. Shame to learn of the harsh environments of indie developers.

Darrius Cole3179d ago

Something is NOT adding up. Ninja Theory couldn't make money by selling 1.5 million copies. How many copies do they need to sell in order to make money. I guess they need Halo 3 numbers to make a profit. That is BS. 1.5 million copies is about normal for this type of game. That is about what DMC4 sold, that is more that NG2 sold, more than NGS2, and more the Bayonetta sold. GOW3 is going to sell 2 or three times that much, but it outsells every other game in the genre.

Ninja Theory is either 1)lying or 2) not telling us a vital piece of information.

If a game is guaranteed to sell 1.5 million copies they should be able to make money with it. Especially since they already have a working engine and have programmed for the system before.

Ninja Theory should face the facts...Heavenly Sword is the only reason anybody cares who they are or what they do. Everything says that Heavenly Sword 2 will be bigger than Heavenly Sword by every measure, install base, developer knowledge, presence of a working engine, etc. Ninja Theory should make it. They have already paid the price to lay the foundation for the game. Now is the time to collect the gravy. It would be stupid to let another developer cash in on their investment.

JokesOnYou3179d ago

Here we go blaming the media again, they said it was short, and it was, I remember at th time so many called out site as liars, even when IGN had a video review saying it was very short game, but there were other flaws that hurt the game as well, still all things considered it was a good game but the truth is its very hard to sell a short single player game this gen with little to no replay value for $60 and that is ultimately why HS failed. Stop looking for scape-goats, it wasnt the media, it wasnt micro, it wasnt the boogeyman, it was the game not having enough value for the money in todays economy, go back and look at IGN's review it was spot on to what many of you will now only admit today. I hope these guys will make a good profit on their next game, 'cause I hate to see any good dev who loves what they do go out of business.


raztad3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )


HS is a Sony IP. NT is not working with Sony anymore, their current project is called ENSLAVED and its a multiformat game.

If HS2 is ever to be released is gonna be by a Sony first party studio, most probably SSM, which has the know how and the engine in place.

Darrius Cole3179d ago

@cgoodno post# 1.30

I'm with you. How do you not make money with 1.5 million in sales.

But now the question is...

"How do you not make money if you know your next game is going to sell 1.5 to 2 million copies?"

Even if they went over-budget with HS, its already done now. The gamers are asking for the sequel and they have a good idea of how much it will sell and they have experience with the platform. They should be able to produce the game to budget now because they know, or should know, what to expect.

This smells of bad management at Ninja Theory though.

@whitto post #1.26

Which is why they should make it. The people want it. You make money by giving the people what they want. I think they underestimate their fanbase....They are all people who bought $500-$600 PS3's (Sept. 2007); they are the most loyal and most wealthy fans probably in all of gaming.


This smells of bad management at Ninja Theory.

IdleLeeSiuLung3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

I agree with you. HS was a slightly above mediocre game in terms of game play at best. It made up for it in production value, but man the game play was choppy as hell. I will take game play over graphics any day!!! In my personal opinion the game was highly overrated and the likes of God of War and Ninja Gaiden far exceed it.

With that said, 1.5 millions and they didn't make money? So the question then is, did Sony take a lot of their profits (i.e. Ninja Theory negotiated a poor deal for them) or the majority of the 1.5 million copies was sold at budget price?

I got mine for $20, but I rarely if ever even to this day see that game in the budget range so I will have to assume the former. Ninja Theory negotiated a bad deal for themselves.

Alvadr3179d ago

If the game sells 1.5mill and its not making profit then my guess is that development costs were out of control and unmanaged.

Selling 1.5mil so early in the PS3s lifecycle is a successful game, which is suprising considering the game was mediocre at best. Really, how much did they expect to sell when a console hasnt even been out for a year. Alot of sales were on the back of the PS3 exclusivity, and there was not much else to play....

I doubt it would have done better as a multiplatform game, the 360 had far better games when this game was out. Halo 3 was a few short months away.

inveni03179d ago need a reason? I'll give you 7.

Killzone 2
God of War 3
Heavy Rain
Uncharted 1
Uncharted 2
Little Big Planet

There's more, but those are my favorites.

sikbeta3179d ago


"lol meaning they are prob making a 360 exclusive game"

Nop, they're making an Multiplat Game

"or more likely an entirely new ip that is multiplat"

Well...Yeah... Heavenly Sword IP is Owned by Sony, so it's Exclusive

"I think they are worried everyone wants another Heavenly Sword, and they arent making one"

I think they don't care about HS anymore since they are not involved in the Future Development of the IP, also Sony can make another sequel with a First Party Dev, so there is No problem there, I hope Santa Monica put the GOW3 Engine on HS2, that will be Awesome...

Will-UK3179d ago

It was a good game I liked the motion controls after i got used to them.

3179d ago
mikeslemonade3179d ago

Heavenly Sword actually took close to 6 years to make. The game was good but they're just not a very good developer. The engine would be outdated by the time they complete the next game. I have no interest with the games they make anymore. I'm not buying their multiplatform games.

gaffyh3179d ago

1.5 million sales is impressive for a game that came out so early in the PS3s lifecycle. I'm guessing the dev costs spiralled out of control on HS, the game had been in development for the original Xbox, and it had crazy mo-cap on characters' faces, so it probably cost A LOT to make.

Darrius Cole3179d ago

@raztad post #1.34

I know that Sony owns Heavenly Sword. My point is that it is/was stupid for Ninja Theory to break the Heavenly Sword relationship. Even if Sony owns the IP Ninja Theory could have continued to develop the game. Studios do that all the time.

Heavenly Sword released in Sept. 2007 that was the worst time possible for a new Playstation IP. The PS3 was $600. The install base was low. Nobody knew how to program for the PS3. The media hated all thing PS3, and the Xbox 360 was having the best year of games it will ever have. In the middle of that, Heavenly Sword sold 1.5 million copies,

Now, the environment is much better for PS3 games. There are 30-32 million PS3's in homes. The PS3 cost $300. Several different developers know how to make stunning games on PS3. Ninja Theory already has a working engine. The media is less biased against the PS3. The PS3 has momentum. In this better environment, they don't want to make the sequel.

Its like Ninja Theory planted an apple tree. When the tree was foot tall and feeble, they watered it and protected if from the elements. The kept the dogs from digging it up, and the kept people from cutting it down with their lawnmowers. Now that the tree can actually produce apples they want to give it someone else. That's stupid.

Moreover, the people who bought Heavenly Sword bought fat PS3's with backward compatibility, Linux support, 4 USB ports, and card readers more importantly they all paid at least $500 for it during a recession. These people are the season ticket holders of the Playstation platform; they have money and they want to spend it. Why shouldn't Ninja Theory be ones to reap the fruit of their own labor.

raztad3179d ago


I see your point but perhaps was Sony that decided to cut funding for future projects (including HS2 of course).

Like many had said before, 1.5m is not bad at all, however game took long to be developed and it's obvious cost were sky high. Mo-capping with Andry Serkings got to be expensive, I guess.

Anon19743179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

All this can mean is that costs were out of control. Take Two is another company that is bad for this. They put out excellent products and yet seem to always be on the brink of bankruptcy until a Grand Theft Auto game bails them out. The board was even turfed and a new board was brought in, promising to cut costs, then they gave themselves all raises and bonuses to the company that hired them all and continued on spending like drunken sailors on leave.
Only 10% of released games ever hit 1 million, let alone get above that. If you can't make money off sales like this you need to take a hard look at your company's operations.

Blaze9293179d ago

rofl well now we know why Heavenly Sword is still $59.99 MSRP here in the states

N4g_null3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

The better question is why have PS3 gamers forsaking this game? So when people buy a new PS3 why are they not buying this game, are you PS3 doing your job and recommending it?

Maybe not, im betting you can only think about the new hype topic of the month. Could it be that people just did not like this game even though many of you did?

Question why is it ok to pay more for a media that allows more content and get less play time?

This is not people hating the PS3 it's a fact that the people who like it can not support these higher productions.

How does sony keep doing this and 3rd parties can not keep up.

Ok Well we all pay sony a portion of each game sold, we also pay to have access to their tools and console. Then we pay for the media, which sony makes money off of also. Thats how Sony can spend buckets of money on a game and not be bother with it selling 1.5. Their devs get paid anyway because the 3rd parties pay just to be on their console.

Fact blue rays still cost way more than dvds.
Fact Ps3 gamers still believe the PS3 is more powerful.
Fact that means no one is going to buy old PS3 gamers because PS3 gamers are still trying to justify their purchase to others in a fail attempt to get more people to buy into the PS3.

It's not working guys. Sure the xbox 360 suck but WTF is going on with all these people who have not bought a PS3? What are your thoughs on that? And why do 3 year old games keep selling on the Wii while HD game sales do nott pick up when people buy a new system... one word, prreowned.... It's gutting your market. these games are not even fun enough to keep. I could not imagine trading in a NES or SNES game back in the day.

THE HD market is copying the movie market way too much. Just like the death of every system it's the gamers who eventually kill it. All the hate in the world did not stop mario 5 from getting 10 million. Why should it stop SONY?

Believe me people it's nott hate it's disinterest. You can be cool all you want but if no one cares then it's pointless, the game has changed since their are not enough of you PS3 gamers to keep the industry feed.

SONY does not have dvd adoption to usher in new comers either. Then on top of that MS is turning HD gaming into PC gaming slowly but surely.

No console has been hated on more than the Wii by the media yet it did not hold it back. On top of this grand ma are not playing those hardcore skill based wii games like mario , mario kart, resort, smash brothers, zelda, etc. Sure you don't like them but even more don't like your sony exclusives.

The Lazy One3179d ago

they didn't make a profit because they are an indy dev. Their costs are high and their piece of the pie is small.

The publishers take a good chunk of the pie to pay for distribution, but the developers take on nearly all the development costs. The publisher usually fronts the development costs, but up until those costs are covered plus some extra predetermined amount they get nothing back.

It's very very easy to make 0 money as an indy developer.

Heisenberg3179d ago

You're such a useless little fangirl. Go to the open zone with that crap.

beardpapa3179d ago

I knew these guys were just developing HS on the PS3 hoping to make an easy buck. In some ways I'm glad it didn't work out for them.

Immortal3213179d ago

Should be the 360 new slogan.

ico923179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

An excellant game but it was too short , i think it was about the same length as COD4 campaign, on top of that it was released in 2007 a time when the PS3's install base was relativley low infact the game was released a few months after EU release of the ps3, to top things off you look at games released around the same time on PS3 like Uncharted DF a game twice as long and received better reviews and Ratchet and Clank FToD a francise made famous on the PS2, so what did they expect? they should be glad that the game even broke a million, im not criticising Ninja Theory but thats the most a game that short with no multiplayer or replay value is ever gonna sell, so what did they expect ?

EvilBlackCat3179d ago

"It's just that when so many people have Xbox -- I mean over half the market or more has Xbox 360s -- why limit yourself to one platform?"


-----> The Video Game Industry is a Business <------



MNicholas3179d ago

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the company lost a lot of top talent. Perhaps they'll use an off-the-shelf engine like Unreal Engine or Cryengine.

f7897903179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

Well for one it sucks because its price stayed at $60 so long. Not a good way to entice people to buy it when they can just rent it for a few weeks. Not that it would take that long to play but some people like going at a leisurely pace.

40cal3179d ago

Love Heavenly Sword, and am looking forward to more info on Enslaved.

And sorry to hear that Heavenly Sword did not turn a profit for Ninja Theory, the game was great, if you now own a PS3 its only 20 bucks at walmart. Just saying.

DevastationEve3179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

After all, they're the ones that say ratings/media dont matter. They didn't buy the game and that's that.

Xbox 360 exclusives sell better. Xbox 360 games play and look competitive in this high def and online enabled and social networking-centric generation of video gaming and multimedia convergence.

Syronicus3178d ago

It was and still is a GREAT game!

If they develope something even similar to HS thent he fans will be happy no matter how many platforms it is on.

vhero3178d ago

He is right but thats changing and there are probably more PS3's in hoems than 360s right now as a few million 360s sold are either dead or not being used as they were modded and banned from Live so modders bought replacements.

NewZealander3178d ago

realistically now HS wasnt all that good, sadly it was overhyped by the fans, and people can say reviews killed the sales, but the reviews were still fare.

i bought heavenly sword, and i still to this day regret it, yes it was too short, the game had some good ideas but failed to blend them together leaving the feeling that they just tacked on bits, and this is the only game i ever youtubed the ending for because i just got fed up with the cheap final boss.

Syronicus3178d ago

So in other words, you hated the game because you sucked at it and could not defeat the final boss without the help of a youtube video... Amiright?

NewZealander3178d ago

im skilled enough at gaming, but i got little satisfaction out of the game, so with such a cheap boss i really didnt see the point in putting in the effort after about the tenth try.

and judging by numerous forums i read at the time i wasnt the only one

Shepherd 2143178d ago

The media didnt pick on anything. IGN gave it a 7.0 because it was extremely short, no MP, no trophy support, and not a whole lot of replay value. Your supposed to confidently fork over 60 for that? Gamespot generously gave it an 8.0, and 1UP gave it an A-. It even had a metacritic score of 79, which isnt bad at all, and is probably more than it deserved.

The media is just an excuse for why this game didnt sell. I do not know the reason why it didnt sell, but it wasnt reviewers who picked on the game, at least not the respectable ones. maybe people simply knew that a 5-6 hour hack n slash with no MP or leaderboards wouldnt give them a good bang for their buck. Who knows.

NewZealander3178d ago

i decided to blow the dust off this one, nobody makes fun of my gaming skillz :p

anyway finally beat the game, only second attempt on the last boss, i still stand by the fact that the last guy is just a cheap, special attack spamming moron, but im glad i gave it another chance, and even tho playing with anna torv was fun, its time to bury this b1tch.

+ Show (63) more repliesLast reply 3178d ago
makingdamage3179d ago

Maybe they should look into how effective the company are if they sell 1.5 million copies and still cant break even. Just a suggestion...

BeaArthur3179d ago

That's a very good point. I didn't see anything in Heavenly Sword that would "break the bank".

Pennywise3179d ago

They used advanced mocap techniques for facial animations and body movements. This technology was early and before its time. I am sure that plus paying for well known actors took a big chunk of development costs.

But that being said: 1.5mil copies should of given them profits.

DarkTower8053179d ago (Edited 3179d ago )

Exactly what I was thinking. Quantic Dream already deemed Heavy Rain a success with under 1 million sold, and I don't see Heavenly Sword costing more than Heavy Rain.