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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.

Speaking in an interview with Gamasutra, Antoniades explained that new IP needs a big sales push to inform consumers that it exists, and publisher Namco Bandai failed to deliver on that front.

"I think it's always a difficult equation, isn't it? It's like it's not enough to just make a game," he said.

"All the ducks have to be lined up, and those ducks include the creative ducks, like the theme and the content. I wonder whether Enslaved was a bit too fantasy, or off the mainstream fantasy, on one hand.

"But it needed support, it needed a drive, a big push, and I don't think it necessarily got that. I really kind of hate it when people make, say, 'Oh, marketing didn't support it,' but a new IP needs to be visible, and I didn't feel like it was. A lot of people still even haven't heard of the game."

He added that he's always "puzzled" to see publishers under-spend on new titles.

"Why bet on triple-A if you're not going to spend for triple-A? You can't have it both ways. But, you know, I think we're proud as a team that we've got the game done, we got it on time. We thought that we did our job."

Ninja Theory's game picked up positive reviews when it launched back in October 2010, but failed to find a big enough audience to justify a sequel, selling 730,000 units as of April this year.

The Cambridge-based studio is currently working on DMC for Capcom, though elsewhere in the Gamasutra Q&A Antoniades revealed work will soon get underway on a second project too.

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Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.