Ninja Theory: Mobile leading the way in games

Ninja Theory: Mobile leading the way in games
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

June 7th 2013 at 3:25PM

Dominic Matthews on why the console developer is expanding to smartphones and tablets

Mobile gaming is leading the way for the industry, says Ninja Theory’s Dominic Matthews.

Speaking to Develop in an interview to be published in full next week, Matthews discussed why the console developer is moving in on the smartphone and tablet space with the creation of Chillingo-published touch-screen brawler Fightback.

He explained that mobile game development was attractive for the studio as it offered the studio a platform to create the games it wanted, and build up original IP which it could then hold on to.

Matthews added that taboos surrounding mobile game development and the stereotypes of throwaway experiences had long-since faded, and that mobile was actually leading the way in the game industry.

“For a long time now we’ve always kind of look fairly enviously at mobile as being a platform where we can create something that is really our own, and somewhere we can do things exactly the way we want, come up with a brand new idea, own the IP, create something special and get it out there and see how it goes," said Matthews.

“We’ve been making console games for the past 12 years and the traditional console model is in huge contracts, multi-year agreements, multi-million dollars, huge marketing, massive teams and with lots of people involved. It was just a great opportunity and great timing for us to sit down as a smaller group of people and just make something that was completely fresh and new for mobile.

“I think mobile represents a big part of the future of gaming, and that’s just undeniable. I think mobile gaming use to be taboo to an extent, and it use to be something that people looked down on as a lesser platform and something that was for people that weren’t really interested or dedicated to gaming, and kind of throwaway experiences. But that’s really all changed. And the attitude towards mobile, certainly here, is that it’s really leading the way in games if anything.”

Matthews went on to say that although console development would still continue at the studio, it was becoming increasingly difficult to create and own new IP in the console market.

He added that although Ninja Theory has developed its own titles before, such as Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, it was becoming harder convince publishers to provide backing, particularly given the success experienced by established IPs in the modern industry, and the increased risks involved in developing big-budget titles.

“You can [create new IP], but I think particularly now with the way the console market is moving, existing IPs are very successful, and being able to create your own IP and being able to own that IP is becoming more and more difficult,” said Matthews.

“It’s something we’ve done in the past obviously with Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, which were our own creations, and our most recent game Devil May Cry was really a partnership between us and Capcom. But really, it’s getting more and more difficult to come up with new IP that you can convince publishers to give you the big bucks for.”