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Those Holding Out Hope for an Enslaved Sequel Might Want to Just Go Ahead and Stop Doing That

Ninja Theory makes it known that no sequel is planned, and it's unlikely we'll ever get one.

Video games, she is a harsh mistress, prone to the most fickle flights of fancy and a terrible temper. Which games succeed and fail seem to come about purely on some ethereal whim of which no one can possibly understand. At best, game makers can hope to accidentally catch the mistress in a good mood, or at least find fortune riding the waves of someone else's seemingly accidental popularity.

You're going to want to turn that smile upside down...

Such waves have oft-eluded UK developer Ninja Theory, who had such high hopes for their PlayStation 3 launch title Heavenly Sword, only to find themselves on the wrong end of profitability when all was said and done. Rather than simply farm themselves out for mercenary work, the studio went to bat again with another original, single-player exclusive adventure in the form of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. With a script penned by 28 Days Later... and Sunshine scribe Alex Garland, and a stellar lead performance from Andy Serkis, the game wowed critics and became a cult success among a small number of extremely ebullient fans.

All of that is wonderful, except for one small detail: hardly anyone bought it.

Perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement, as the title did sell around 730,000 total copies at retail. Those are hardly exceptional numbers, but they aren't the kind of tragicomic numbers a game like Shadows of the Damned did, either. Still, that number was a long way from what Ninja Theory needed, and as a result, the studio has had to abandon any and all hope of putting together a sequel for the title. Speaking to Edge magazine (as transcribed by CVG), studio co-founder Tameem Antoniades lamented the fact that he and his crew weren't working on a follow-up this very second.

"Enslaved should have done better," he told Edge. "Right now we should have been doing a sequel and perfecting that sequel and doing what franchises do, which is get better over time.

"[But] because that didn't happen we've not expanded to two teams like we intended to."

Instead, Ninja Theory is working on Capcom's upcoming Devil May Cry reboot, which, depending on your fondness for Dante and his whole stylish hard action thing, is either great news or a damnable tragedy. Regardless, Antoniades does see this upcoming project as "another chance," and seems quite happy about the work they've put in on it. Still, one can't help but feel a twinge of regret hearing a man explain that the potential of a new, original franchise was stopped dead in its tracks, leaving them to have to pick up someone else's franchise to stay afloat.

Then again, in this economy, work is work, I suppose.

Alex Navarro on Google+
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Posted by Alex

Video games, she is a harsh mistress, prone to the most fickle flights of fancy and a terrible temper. Which games succeed and fail seem to come about purely on some ethereal whim of which no one can possibly understand. At best, game makers can hope to accidentally catch the mistress in a good mood, or at least find fortune riding the waves of someone else's seemingly accidental popularity.

You're going to want to turn that smile upside down...

Such waves have oft-eluded UK developer Ninja Theory, who had such high hopes for their PlayStation 3 launch title Heavenly Sword, only to find themselves on the wrong end of profitability when all was said and done. Rather than simply farm themselves out for mercenary work, the studio went to bat again with another original, single-player exclusive adventure in the form of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. With a script penned by 28 Days Later... and Sunshine scribe Alex Garland, and a stellar lead performance from Andy Serkis, the game wowed critics and became a cult success among a small number of extremely ebullient fans.

All of that is wonderful, except for one small detail: hardly anyone bought it.

Perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement, as the title did sell around 730,000 total copies at retail. Those are hardly exceptional numbers, but they aren't the kind of tragicomic numbers a game like Shadows of the Damned did, either. Still, that number was a long way from what Ninja Theory needed, and as a result, the studio has had to abandon any and all hope of putting together a sequel for the title. Speaking to Edge magazine (as transcribed by CVG), studio co-founder Tameem Antoniades lamented the fact that he and his crew weren't working on a follow-up this very second.

"Enslaved should have done better," he told Edge. "Right now we should have been doing a sequel and perfecting that sequel and doing what franchises do, which is get better over time.

"[But] because that didn't happen we've not expanded to two teams like we intended to."

Instead, Ninja Theory is working on Capcom's upcoming Devil May Cry reboot, which, depending on your fondness for Dante and his whole stylish hard action thing, is either great news or a damnable tragedy. Regardless, Antoniades does see this upcoming project as "another chance," and seems quite happy about the work they've put in on it. Still, one can't help but feel a twinge of regret hearing a man explain that the potential of a new, original franchise was stopped dead in its tracks, leaving them to have to pick up someone else's franchise to stay afloat.

Then again, in this economy, work is work, I suppose.

Staff
Posted by is343

aww. :(

Posted by Forkstik

ARGH poop!

Posted by rethla

@AnZ17N said:

aww. :(

Yep, Enslaved was really good

Posted by JoyfullOFrockets

Damn.

Posted by SMTDante89

That's disappointing to hear.

Posted by ultimatepunchrod

that is less than desirable

Posted by Evil_Alaska

This is a shame.

Enslaved couldn't be further from my style of game, but I loved it. Thank god there was a demo or I would never have given it a chance.

Decent enough gameplay, beautiful world, cool story, and some of the best character development and character interactions I have ever seen in a game.

Posted by MayorFeedback

Enslaved was great, but it's okay if it's just a standalone story. Not everything needs a sequel, even with an ending like that.

Posted by Karkarov

You are right Alex, work is work. At least they are still doing what they wanted to do, making games, even if it is someone elses franchise.

Posted by WithoutRemorse

At least they aren't stringing their fans along, keeping hope alive for a sequel that will never happen. Shenmue fans been "waiting" for the series to continue/die for over 10 or so years. Sega just won't commit to it being dead.

Posted by Zidd

It didn't really need one. It told its story well enough. Sequels aren't as important as people think.

Posted by EmoMcGee

I was thinking about buying Enslaved purely for the Pigsy's Perfect 10 DLC. Tried the demo, and while it may have Andy Serkis and some decent cutscene animation, the rest of the game seems a bit bad to me.

Posted by LoktarOgar
Still, one can't help but feel a twinge of regret hearing a man explain that the potential of a new, original franchise was stopped dead in its tracks, leaving them to have to pick up someone else's franchise to stay afloat.
 
The only regret I feel, is that me not buying Enslaved or Heavenly Sword is now resulting in Antoniades screwing up Devil May Cry. Two poor games and now creating what seems to be yet another one, out of a franchise the games of which are on average better than both Enslaved and HS.
Posted by SPACETURTLE

Enslaved was a really interesting game and I enjoyed it a lot. But I actually think a sequel would turn a good game in to a bad franchise. Enslaved is a perfect standalone game.

Posted by UsbCable

Fuck! :'( I didn't even know the game existed till I played the demo and bought it because i loved it. It was a great game and I hope they get to make a sequel in the future. The ending was kind of odd and I would like to see what happens next.

At least they have a current project though, it would suck frap sticks if they closed down.

Posted by Milkman

That sucks. You people that didn't play Enslaved suck.

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

Not every game needs a sequel. Quite a few of them are good, self-contained experiences with definitive endings.

Posted by Anjon

I actually thought it was because of slick, artistic choice that Ninja Theory didn't go around cranking out sequels to all of their games. A nice way of saying "All originality, all the time." Well nevermind then.

Posted by Brenderous

Damnit, I wanted to see more of this world.

Edited by Packie

That's a damn shame to hear because after playing it for two hours, I'm loving it. Sure it's janky as hell but everything else was so beautiful and so good I didn't care. I can see a lot of for improvement in a sequel but it's disappointing that it won't happen.

Oh well, Dmc looks awesome and I am sure as hell I'll be supporting these guys.

Posted by Rabid619

I'm saddened more by the fact that not many people played it rather than the fact that a sequel isn't coming. I loved Enslaved, but it told the story it wanted to tell. Sure they could go other places with it, and I'd very excited to go on another adventure with Monkey and Trip, but that arc was wrapped up nicely.
 
It's a real shame that more people don't play Ninja Theory's games. Heavenly sword had kind of the same reaction as Enslaved, a extremely enthusiastic and loving core (me included, go figure), but most people looked at it from the outside and dismissed it as being shallow and overblown without giving the game much of a chance outside the demo.
 
Here's to hoping the DMC gets the studio the attention they deserve, I'm not a huge fan of Devil May Cry but I'm looking forward to DMC just to see what their next step is.
 
 
Also Truffles! I fucking loved Truffles.

Posted by EvilSpants

That is a such a sad thing to hear. I loved that game. Speaking of Enslaved, I need to go back and get all the achievements.

Posted by Mahogany

I blame all of you who didn't buy Enslaved for making the world a worse place. Great gameplay, great story and the best 'acitng' in any game ever.

The fact that games like this don't sell makes me very worried for the future of mainstream gaming.

Edited by CaLe

Ninja Theory always seem to be kicked in the nuts when they deserve so much more.

Posted by Niccoles

Bummer but personally I never thought that the game would have a sequel planned. Then again, Andy Serkis did mention doing another game project where he played a character that matched the description of the character seen at the very end of Enslaved...

Posted by Firvulag

Enslaved is easily one of the worst high profile games of this generation.

insultingly shallow gameplay. the story was awful too, the ending was a big slap in the face.

i refuse to say it had anything that can be called "platform gameplay"

and yeah, just a useless game.

Posted by Atary77

I enjoyed this game very much. But it wasn't enough for the main stream sheep. ><

Posted by csl316

I quite enjoyed Enslaved, but had no idea where a sequel could even go.  Heavenly Sword had a cool, contained story, as well.
 
Regardless, I like these guys and DMC, so hopes are high!

Posted by mnzy

I really liked Enslaved and this is sad news to me.
And seeing how people talk about that new DMC and how gameplay is not their strongest field, you have to wonder if that might be the last game they will be able to make.
 
Also, I heard this 700k number a long time ago, since then you can buy the game for 20 bucks everywhere. They must've sold some more copies...

Posted by Scodiac

I like Enslaved quite a bit. I don't think it really needs a sequel though. Not every game needs a sequel. Just like Heavenly Sword. I think Heavenly Sword ended very well and I didn't want to see anymore from that story. Some games should just be a stand alone experience.

I'm looking forward to their next game - DMC. I think they might finally pull off what they've being trying to do for a while. Fantastic storytelling with great gameplay. They've been close but I think they haven't quite hit the mark just yet.

Posted by Sorax

Enslaved is a great game. Though the idea of it having a sequel feels unnatural. Obviously, the developers are free to make one and I'd most likely play it. But I found my time with it quite satisfying.

Edited by ProfessorEss

Despite Ninja Theory's incredible production skills their gameplay skills leave me pretty uninterested. 
 
I picked up Enslaved for like $24.99 new (I wonder how many of those 730K sales were discounted?). Despite enjoying it and being full-on wowed by the graphics and characters, it was just too short and too shallow to leave me with any inclination that I would pay much more than 24.99 for a sequel. 

Posted by Klei

I loved Enslaved. In fact, it's one of the few games that I didn't trade it along with Batman AA, Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2.  Sales didn't surprise me though, most console gamers only care about mainstream stuff. Anything that doesn't have an high end MP , isn't a shooter or an Assassin's Creed sequel isn't likely to sell. 
 
Come to think of it, most people who have an xbox and Ps3 don't use it for the right games.
Posted by Jeffsekai

I really hated Enslaved story, heres a bunch of unlikable people YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT THEM BECAUSE WE SAID SO.

Posted by JackSukeru

Considering most of the fan reaction to the new DMC, things certainly don't look too bright for this developer. Then again you can't equate internet rage to sales. I'd say a good marketing campaign could certainly draw some new people into something like what they've been showing.

While I didn't love what I played of Heavenly Sword (all of it) or Enslaved (the demo) by any stretch I can sympathize with its fans. Heck, I love Bionic Commando and that sequel isn't coming anytime soon.

Posted by DirtyData

Didn't really enjoy this game that much. The LOOK of the game was amazing but I never agreed with the high praise the games story and acting received.

Hope the dev's the best of luck on whatever they do next!

Posted by Foggen

I have a lot of affection for Ninja Theory, but I don't think they have the technical and game design chops required to make a top tier action game. I love their visual design, art, and story, but the mechanics always seem to turn out janky and the animation seems unpolished.

Posted by Grimmy616

I'm just REALLY hoping that DMC sells well and they get to make the Enslaved sequel.

Posted by ApolloBob

As long as they're still making "Pigsy's Extreme Volleyball", this is fine.

Posted by Clubvodka

God damn it. Not a fantastic game, gameplay wise but it had a solid story and great acting. In fact it's one of my favourite narrative experiences in a game.

Posted by Zippedbinders

I loved Enslaved, but I don't think it needed a sequel. I'm all for Ninja Theory making new and different games, like Double Fine.

Posted by SSully

I am just glad they aren't shut down. They have put out great games this gen, even though non have been that big of financial successes.

Posted by Undeadpool

Game had very "meh" gameplay, but the visuals, story and characters were absolutely stellar. This is a shame cause the former can be refined with another chance.

Posted by ThaMilkMan

Man that sort of sucks, I really REALLY enjoyed Enslaved. Original, good story, cool characters, interesting universe, fun gameplay. I think the issue here is just the marketing for that first game, but I could be wrong. I totally enjoyed it a lot though top 5 of 2010 easily.

Posted by ZipCrash

Bummer, I really liked Enslaved and I don't understand why some people where so down on it. But I also feel that way about Mirror's Edge...

Posted by Lingxor

It's their own damn fault for phoning in the last act of that game.

Posted by o_l_l_i_e

I must admit, Enslaved is a game a kept meaning to pick up but never got around to so I feel a small pang of guilt when I read this. However, I don't think this should necessarily be the end of the series; the fact it did gain such a cult following surely means it has a chance in the future?

Posted by skadave

I follow giant bomb and about 3 other video game website. I listen to the Bombcast and 2 other videogame podcasts per week. With that said, i did not know that this game existed until i starting reading its reviews. If this game was not on my radar, how did Namco expect the common (non-fanatical) gamer to buy it.

ANY bit of marketing would have helped. . . yet they did nothing to promote this title (or Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom for that matter). How can you expect people to buy your game if you don't tell them that it exists. The reviewers did their part with the hype, but namco just sat back and watched the game rot on the store shelves (eventually being marked down to 20 bucks within a few months of its release).

Posted by BisonHero

@LoktarOgar said:

Still, one can't help but feel a twinge of regret hearing a man explain that the potential of a new, original franchise was stopped dead in its tracks, leaving them to have to pick up someone else's franchise to stay afloat. The only regret I feel, is that me not buying Enslaved or Heavenly Sword is now resulting in Antoniades screwing up Devil May Cry. Two poor games and now creating what seems to be yet another one, out of a franchise the games of which are on average better than both Enslaved and HS.

How does that make any sense? How do the low sales of previous Ninja Theory games magically earn them the ability to make the next DMC game?

The existence of the DMC reboot is squarely Capcom's fault, for making DMCs that were less and less popular, until they said "OK, reboot by a foreign developer. Who's available?", and randomly chose Ninja Theory. Sure, I guess if Ninja Theory were more successful then Capcom would've had to pick a different studio for the reboot, but Capcom is still the party who fucked up DMC.

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