While developer Ninja Theory, one of Microsoft’s newest first-party studios, usually seems to make critically praised titles, they don’t always seem to sell proportionally to their Metacritic score. Their latest game, however, might have finally changed that. Hellblade sales have hit one million units across the PS4, Xbox One, and PC, according the tweet from Ninja Theory’s official Twitter account.
The one million mark comes just under the title’s initial August 2017 release on PS4 and PC. Hellblade came to the Xbox One much later in April 2018. It was also a digital exclusive on all platforms, which is why the picture in the tweet says “1,000,000 downloads” and the text says “1 Million unit sales.” They are one in the same for Hellblade.
The game is currently $17.99 on PC as part of the newly launched Steam Summer Sale. Given the proximity, it’s possible that this discount propelled the game to its current milestone. This milestone likely came ahead of their internal forecasts. According to an interview by VentureBeat in October 2017, Tameem Antoniades, chief creative director at Ninja Theory, stated that the game had already broken even months before their expectations.
The studio has made critically successful titles in the past but none of them have earned them so many rewards and such widespread recognition. Hellblade brought home Best Audio Design, Best Performance, and Games for Impact at The Game Awards in 2017. It also won British Game, Artistic Achievement, Audio Achievement, and Game Beyond Entertainment at the British Academy Games Awards in April 2018. These are just a handful of the many awards the game received after its release.
In addition to its narrative, performances, and visual design, Hellblade was also recognized for its portrayal of mental illness. Ninja Theory worked closely with mental health experts along with those suffering from psychosis to create an accurate portrayal of the condition. However, their commitment to mental health didn’t stop after the game’s launch. The profits from Hellblade sales on World Mental Health Day (October 10th, 2017) went to Rethink Metal Illness, a British mental health charity.