Kena: Bridge of Spirits Developer Ember Lab told Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier that the game has already recouped its initial development costs and that Sony is “happy” with its performance.
Ember Lab founders – brothers Mike and Josh Grier – revealed that before signing a deal with Sony, their pitch for Kena attracted several major publishers. Ember Lab had never made a video game before (it was an animation studio), so the Griers were thrilled to be working with Sony.
“I think we’ve all become childish versions of ourselves again,” Josh told Bloomberg. “We felt like we were in a private E3.”
The Griers were preparing to reveal Kena alongside the PlayStation 5 in early 2020, but sadly the pandemic struck and a physical storefront was out of the question. Ember Lab had to create a video for a digital storefront from inside his office. However, social distancing rules also applied to offices, so their cameraman had to don a hazmat suit to get the job done.
“He was in a full hazmat suit, sweating all the time,” Josh recalls. “It was professionally done but very bizarre.” But it all worked out in the end because Kena attracted a lot of attention and brought the game “to the fore.”
As for the number of copies Kena specifically sold, Ember Lab did not disclose any figures, but said the game was successful enough for the studio to continue making games rather than commercials.
“It’s hard to say what is a huge success,” Josh added. “Sony is happy. We’re not going back to advertisements.