Opinion PlayStation PC

If you buy one thing on Black Friday let it be Hellblade


For the past few years, South Africa's Black Friday gaming deals have for the most part consisted of shameful discounts and clickbait headlines. Very few local gamers are able to grab something that can be labelled as a real Black Friday deal - meaning with discounts ranging from 50-80%. So far, 2017 isn't looking much better, and yet, as if on cue, the siren sings and our wallets open.

Today, I offer you advice to shun her call - buy Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. It is on sale, and while the discount offered isn't great, you'll know that you have spend money on one of the best games you'll ever play, and even more important, your purchase matters more than you know.

The 20-man team behind Hellblade took three years to make something that is for lack of a better word, different. It is also gorgeous, exciting, and simply brilliant. Ninja Theory stated right from the start that they wouldn't attempt to make a game that would appeal to the masses, but that they were going to stay true to the vision in their hearts. They wanted creative freedom over the financial security of a big publisher.

They wanted to make something that would stand out in a market flooded with big names, bigger budgets, and the usual success recipe. They were also going to make their creative process available to everyone - and so they did. 30 Dev diaries later and all their design processes are available to developers, animators, and fans.

Ninja Theory showed the games industry that you can be true to your vision, that you can be completely independent, that you can deliver a triple-A quality game while charging less than that price when selling it, that your subject matter can be a taboo topic, and that a niche game can appeal to the masses because it is just so damn good.

Hellblade is at its heart a story about dementia and battles that cannot be won. It's unfathomably sad, yet profoundly beautiful. Purchasing Hellblade is important because with our money we make that voice stronger that shouts amidst the noise of big budget hype campaigns that sometimes developers have to take tremendous risks to make something extraordinary. Such was Hellblade.

Millions of gamers have rallied to the banner - we want different, we want authentic, and we want a fair price. At launch Hellblade sold for R319 on Steam and R475 on the PlayStation Store. The final dev diary from Ninja Theory released a day ago, here are the stats:

  • Over 75k pre-orders across PC and PS4 before launch.
  • 250K units sold in the first week at $29.99.
  • Over $13m in revenue generated in 3 months.
  • 500k units sold in 3 months, which puts the project beyond breakeven and into profit.
  • Ninja Theory's prediction was to be at this point in 6 months from release.

Ninja Theory also gave over £60,000 to ReThink, a mental health organization, it was 100% from the proceeds of all game sales on Mental Health Day. Through the game, they have also empowered many, many gamers who have struggled with some form of mental illness. Through Hellblade they have given us a rare glimpse into the heart of madness. I for one am so grateful.

Let at least one of your Black Friday purchases matter. Did I say that you'll also get to play a really fantastic game?

Below is the final dev diary from Ninja Theory with Melina Juergens who delivered a superb performance as Senua.

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"It's unfathomably sad, yet profoundly beautiful."

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