While it’s usually easy for a AAA game to sell over one million copies, it can be a daunting task for indie games. For all their heart and passion, these games aren’t exactly known for their towering sales numbers. But, there are exceptions, and few indie games are more exceptional than Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Earlier today, developer Ninja Theory revealed that its standout “indie AAA game” (a compromise between the low budget of an indie game and the presentation of a AAA game) Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has sold over one million copies on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4:
While Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice reached the 500,000 sales mark back in November, selling one million copies is still cause to celebrate. While we could speculate on all the reasons behind Hellblade’s success, odds are the biggest boon was its critical reception.
Critics and gamers have universally praised Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice for its graphics, story, and depiction of psychosis. Not only does Hellblade surpass most AAA games in terms of graphical fidelity, the game has been nominated for and won numerous awards, including the BAFTA (short for British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards for Artistic Achievement, Audio Achievement, Best British Game, Game Beyond Entertainment, and Best Performer. That’s five BAFTA awards; most games that are nominated tend to only win one or two. Winning this many BAFTA awards places Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice in a very exclusive club alongside greats such as The Last of Us, Half-Life 2, Journey, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Another possible reason behind Hellblade’s sales numbers is its generous $30 price tag. However, it can’t be a coincidence that the one million copies news coincides with the Steam Summer Sale, which knocks the game’s price down to $18. Plus, Hellblade recently appeared on the Xbox One, which probably drove sales up even more as gamers who didn’t own a powerful gaming PC or a PlayStation 4 finally got the chance to own the game.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is Ninja Theory’s first and possibly only indie AAA game, as the studio has been purchased by Microsoft. While we do not know what the future holds in store for Ninja Theory, with any luck it will include more successes like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and fewer divisive titles like DmC: Devil May Cry.