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Well this is some sparkling news for PC gamers. After originally making its debut at last year's GamesCom in Cologne, Germany, Hellblade is no longer going to be limited to the PS4 platform as Ninja Theory will be branching out to PC.
PC Gamer has exclusive word from Ninja Theory about the upcoming title, as they reveal that the game that was once considered to be a console exclusive will make its way to PC. Why the change? Because Ninja Theory is making the game independent from the traditional publisher model.
According to Tameem Antoniades, the studio's creative chief, he stated that...
“I think PC offers us a level of freedom that we haven’t had before,” ...We’re looking at everything we do on this project and figuring out better ways of doing things compared to how the traditional AAA console model works. And consoles are following suit with PC, but I think they’re years behind what things like Steam are doing.”
This is very true. Console betas are treated as some sort of special event. Heck, you had to pay for Halo: The Master Chief Collection to partake in the Halo 5: Guardians beta. The act of play-testing for bugs and making improvements went from something the publishers paid professionals to do and turned it into something consumers pay to partake in. Essentially, on console, there's a common act of paying to play-test games for a limited time.
Now some might point to Steam's Early Access platform as a similar act of paying to play-test games, and that's partially true... except you get to keep and play the game whenever you want, and you get the full copy at no extra charge if or when it does release.
Antoniades actually explains that all of the above is partially why they're looking into taking their game to PC, saying...
“If we want to do an open beta right now, it’s a little bit trickier to do that than on PC. Playtesting is a huge thing for us. Usability testing, getting people hands-on to try things out, get feedback, then roll that back in and improve the game... it’s always been essential for us to do that. Not every publisher has let us, because of the secrecy that goes into consoles and publisher-based businesses. As an independent we have the freedom to do that.”
Demos have become a rarity these days, too, because publishers feel they could dampen sales for the final game, as noted in an article on VG 24/7.
But beyond the restrictions, limitations and boundaries set by publishers, one of the things that Ninja Theory wants to experiment with is community mods. That's right, they want to give users the power to modify and upgrade the game as they see fit. It's the one feature that can make a game keep selling consistently long after release, such as Half-Life, Garry's Mod, Team Fortress and GTA IV to name a few.
According to Antoniades...
“I think we want to get to the point where we can invite players and fans to add to the game, and do things that are unexpected, and suggest ideas or add-ons that can make the game richer.”
No complaints here. Steam Workshop support? Count me in.
Games like Space Engineers and Scribblenauts enjoy long lasting contributions from the community thanks to Workshop support, and I'm sure Ninja Theory sees the potential shelf life of a game with mod support.
Hellblade is currently in development for PS4 and PC. We'll keep you posted on additional news and info as it becomes available.