Enslaved: Odyssey to the West


Key events

Ninja Theory confirms it'll keep making console games

Ninja Theory confirms it'll keep making console games

After reports indicated Enslaved dev intended to switch fully to mobile.

Enslaved developer Ninja Theory has confirmed it will stick with console development after reports published today suggested it planned to switch fully to mobile.

Ninja Theory boss Tameem Antoniades was reported to have told an audience at the recent Slush business conference in Helsinki that the developer "is heading entirely for mobile".

"The AAA games console model is a little bit broken," reads a direct quote on Edge.

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FeatureMaking friends

Eurogamer investigates the complex world of companion AI.

Games used to be such hostile places. Dropped behind enemy lines or sneaking through monster-infested caverns, everyone you'd meet on your journey seemed to want to kill you. Over the last ten years or so, there's been a gentle rebalancing, however. From Pey'j to Yorda to Alyx Vance, designers have started giving you friends as well as enemies.

Brink developer Splash Damage hires Enslaved lead gameplay programmer

Brink developer Splash Damage hires Enslaved lead gameplay programmer

Marc Fascia to help with move to "additional gaming platforms".

Brink developer Splash Damage has hired one of the key creators of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.

The London-based independent developer has hired Marc Fascia, Ninja Theory's lead gameplay programmer, as technical director overseeing all engineering teams.

Fascia will set the overall direction for Splash Damage's programming teams and will support new director of production Griff Jenkins, the former senior development director of FIFA, as the studio grows "to additional gaming platforms".

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Ninja Theory: marketing let Enslaved down

Antoniades points finger at Namco.

Ninja Theory's under-performing 2010 adventure Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was let down by a stingy marketing spend, reckons studio boss Tameem Antoniades.

Ninja Theory rules out Enslaved 2

Expansion plans didn't pan out.

Plans for a sequel to last year's underperforming adventure Enslaved: Odyssey to the West have been shelved, according to developer Ninja Theory.

Triple-A games are "crushing innovation"

"Not healthy", says DMC dev Ninja Theory.

The business of making multi-million pound, triple-A, blockbuster video games is "not healthy" and are "crushing innovation", reckons Ninja Theory (DMC, Enslaved, Heavenly Sword).

Enslaved sales break 700k barrier

Enslaved sales break 700k barrier

Tekken 6 continues to do the business.

Fighting game Tekken 6 sold 1.15 million units in the US alone during publisher Namco Bandai's 2011 financial year - despite the game launching in 2009.

Ninja Theory's excellent PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 adventure game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, which launched in October 2010, shifted 730,000 units worldwide by the end of March 2011.

Although the new figure is up from the 460,000 worldwide sales Namco Bandai reported for the game in February, the Japanese publisher will still consider Enslaved to have performed poorly it initially targeted a million sales.

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Low Enslaved sales blamed on poor timing

Low Enslaved sales blamed on poor timing

Plus, Namco hints at future for franchise.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West underperformed because it was released at the wrong time of year, publisher Namco Bandai has claimed.

Marketing VP Carlson Choi told Siliconera that it was a mistake to release the Ninja Theory-developed adventure title in October, during a packed holiday season.

"It really didn't do what we anticipated," he admitted.

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Enslaved sales fail to break 500,000

Sales for Ninja Theory's cinematic action game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West are much lower than expected.

November reports of 800,000 units were greatly exaggerated; today's Namco Bandai money report shows only 460,000 copies of the game have been sold - worldwide.

Such numbers are unlikely to vindicate Namco Bandai's decision to green-light Hollywood hires Alex Garland and Andy Serkis. Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades called these "above-the-line-costs" that have to be pitched to the publisher.

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Enslaved isn't my favourite game of 2010. It isn't the title I spent the most time playing. It doesn't even fit within the central themes which ran through my gaming year: dancing, farming, waggling, waving and platforming like it's 1994.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West  Pigsy's Perfect 10

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was a rare thing. No, not because it was fabulous and nobody bought it (although it was and nobody did), but because the story was good and well told, and ultimately meant more to players than the gameplay it dressed up.

In a genre where most developers struggle to instil basic humanity into their characters, Enslaved's cast found themselves overflowing with pathos. When you first met Trip and she was frightened and vulnerable, hugging her knees, that was a real human being, and a moment not worth trading for a thousand Lara handstands.

But it's Pigsy, the well-fed junkyard king Trip and Monkey band together with for the game's final act, who is the subject of the game's first downloadable add-on. Set prior to Odyssey to the West, Pigsy's Perfect 10 begins with a beautiful hand-painted animation.

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Enslaved fails to meet sales targets

Enslaved fails to meet sales targets

Namco fears Majin, Splatterhouse flops too.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West has fallen short of Namco Bandai's sales targets.

Andriasang reports that the publisher had hoped Ninja Theory's action epic would have shifted a million units by now, but it has only managed 800,000.

And that's only the start of Namco's woes. Its latest financial report reveals that Dead to Rights Retribution has sold only half of the 700,000 units anticipated, while movie tie-in Clash of the Titans struggled to 250,000 - well shy of the 750,000 hoped for.

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Serkis bigs up Enslaved's Pigsy actor

As good as any film character performance.

Andy Serkis, the actor who famously played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films, reckons Richard Ridings' performance as Pigsy in Enslaved is up there with any in film or theatre.

First Enslaved DLC detailed

Build a perfect woman in Pigsy's Perfect 10.

The first batch of DLC for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West will see you take control of porky side character Pigsy as he embarks on a mission to build the perfect woman out of scrap metal, publisher Namco Bandai has confirmed.

Ninja Theory hiring for unannounced game

Heavenly Sword and Enslaved developer Ninja Theory is hiring for an unannounced project.

The UK studio wants a lead designer for the project, according to a post on its website.

Ninja Theory's looking for someone with "AAA title experience" and "extensive knowledge of major console systems". It would also be "great" to see "experience using the Unreal engine within game design".

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Serkis: Games need a "unified concept"

Or else people will skip the cut-scenes.

Ninja Theory collaborator and Lord of the Rings alumni Andy Serkis has told Eurogamer TV that game developers should take a more "holistic" approach to improve their storytelling.

UK chart: FIFA 11 holds lead

Enslaved, Castlevania make top 10.

FIFA 11 has spent a second week at the top of the UK all-formats chart. Rival football game Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 had to settle for a debut in second.

Game of the Week

Enslaved? Castlevania? Er, NHL 2K11?

Welcome to the new bookends to your week! If Out This Week is an aperitif, whetting your appetite for the coming gaming menu on a Monday, then Game of the Week is Friday's brandy and cigars, personally selected by the sommelier. Can we get sir's coat?

FeatureEurogamer Expo Sessions: Ninja Theory presents Enslaved

Tameem Antoniades on tears, turtles, red carpets and more.

Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades will be presenting Enslaved to the Eurogamer Expo 2010 audience on Sunday, 3rd October at 1pm, and for Antoniades his task is a challenging one: convince buyers to take a risk on a new IP at the busiest time of year. Thankfully, he's got quality on his side, not to mention Andy Serkis and Alex Garland: top-tier Hollywood talent that helped build Enslaved from bottom to top. What's more, he's got an exciting session planned where he'll offer a rare glimpse behind the scenes at footage that would otherwise be condemned to the vaults.

Antoniades: DmC wouldn't stop Enslaved 2

Ninja Theory has staffed up to two teams.

Ninja Theory boss Tameem Antoniades has told Eurogamer that the studio's new Devil May Cry project would not stop it embarking on a second Enslaved instalment if the opportunity arose.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West review

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West review

To celebrate the PC release of Ninja Theory's breezy adventure, our original review plus the verdict on its DLC expansion.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was a modest success when it launched in 2010. Modest in sales, that is - the few that played Ninja Theory's breezy adventure have often become passionate fans of it. Namco Bandai's hoping to convert more players as it finally brings it to PC this week. To celebrate, here's our original review.

The first half-hour of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West could bring out the jaded cynic in any action adventure fan. Here we go again, you think, as the camera pans round yet another corridor on yet another rusty old spaceship.

Oh look, a gruff, spiky-haired, shirtless man with shoulders bigger than his head. He's got abs you could take a brass rubbing from and he's wielding a big stick. Must be our hero, then.

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Ninja Theory pitched Enslaved movie

Hollywood: no thanks.

Ninja Theory pitched the idea of making a full CGI movie of its forthcoming action-adventure Enslaved: Odyssey to the West but Hollywood producers were unimpressed.

Enslaved DLC detailed

Pigsy to take starring role.

The game may not even be in stores yet but Namco Bandai is already talking up downloadable content for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.

Who would've improved Heavenly Sword?

Alex Garland, reckons Ninja Theory.

Enslaved co-writer and The Beach, Sunshine and 28 Weeks Later scriptwriter Alex Garland would have improved early PlayStation 3-exclusive title Heavenly Sword had he worked on the game, developer Ninja Theory has said.

FeatureEnslaved's Tameem Antoniades

"Just look at the music industry. Most music is utter, utter trash."

Ninja Theory's first game, Heavenly Sword, made headlines for a few reasons: it was PS3 exclusive, looked good, starred latex-lips Andy Serkis and ever so nearly smashed the proverbial ball out of the park. Ninja Theory's next game, Enslaved, isn't a PS3 exclusive but multiplatform, heading to Xbox 360 as well. Enslaved does, however, have Andy Serkis, plus the temperamental talent of big-bucks novelist Alex Garland, best known for The Beach - book and screenplay.

UK tax situation "sucks" - Ninja Theory

"It scares me," adds Jagex CEO.

Top UK developers Jagex (RuneScape) and Ninja Theory (Enslaved) have told Eurogamer exactly what they think about the coalition government's about-turn on tax breaks for the videogames industry.

Alex Garland "intimidating" - Ninja Theory

"He told us all sorts was going wrong."

Celebrated screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, Sunshine, 28 Weeks Later) can be "quite intimidating" to work with, according to Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades.

Enslaved due out in October

Flowery apocalyptic action this autumn.

Namco Bandai has released its E3 trailer for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and it concludes by revealing that the game's due out in October on PS3 and Xbox 360.

Tameem Antoniades, Ninja Theory's chief creative ninja - that's according to the business card - looks like he's been yanked back in time from some promising point in the dim future where videogame designers exist in the same social troposphere as Hollywood actors and hip-hop personalities. His face has something of a young Bill Murray's charming cragginess to it, which blends well with the fact that he appears to have borrowed Johnny Cash's hair for the day.


Heavenly Sword developer Ninja Theory talks up its next adventure.

Enslaved may be published by Namco Bandai rather than Sony, and may be on Xbox 360 as well as PlayStation 3, but Ninja Theory's latest still has a lot in common with its PS3 exclusive, Heavenly Sword - Gollum Serkis is returning to wax lyrical in his own inimitable, rubber-faced way, and there's the familiar promise of a vast, cinematic story brought to life by a convincing cast of characters. One of the lead characters, Trip, also bears a striking resemblance to Nariko.

Namco Bandai officially unveils Enslaved

Namco Bandai officially unveils Enslaved

Post-apocalyptic action from Ninja Theory.

Namco Bandai has officially announced Ninja Theory's upcoming post-apocalyptic third-person action game Enslaved, which is due out in 2010 for PS3 and Xbox 360.

The details match up with those from earlier in the month: you play as Monkey, a "brutish loner" who is bound in life and death to Trip, a Nariko-from-Heavenly-Sword lookalike who modified the duo's slave headbands so that if one of them cops it so does the other one.

It's more than 150 years in the future, and Monkey and Trip are on a slave ship to unknown shores, but they evidently escape and start across post-apocalyptic America fighting straggling humans and "merciless robots left over from wars long past".

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A man called Monkey whacks robots.

A man called Monkey whacks robots.

Ninja Theory's Enslaved detailed

Alex Garland, Andy Serkis on board.

Ninja Theory will work with Hollywood rubber-face Andy Serkis on new PS3 and Xbox 360 game Enslaved, as the Gollum actor fills the central role of Monkey, a man whose life is spent running from robots.