One of the biggest draw to Hellblade is that Ninja Theory’s upcoming PC and PS4 game has had an incredibly transparent development process. Everything from the motion capture, to the lore, and the concept art have been covered in their semi-regular dev diaries. Ninja Theory has even been candid about their budgetary constraints, having revealed that they only need to sell about 200-300,000 copies of Hellblade in order for them to make their money back.
Unfortunately, their various behind the scenes videos haven’t revealed much gameplay. In all fairness, Ninja Theory have only just put together a proper polished demo (called a vertical slice) but at this point, fans are eager to see something substantial. Well, the developer has heeded our calls as a Hellblade gameplay trailer has been released ahead of E3 next week.
Hellblade Gameplay Trailer Released
One thing that strikes me about this trailer (and judging from various comments about the video already, it appears that I am not alone in this) is that the game has quite a similar tone to Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Ninja Theory has already said that Hellblade won’t share Dark Souls’ RPG mechanics but it could be similarly difficult.
Furthermore, Ninja Theory has revealed that the twisted opponents that Hellblade‘s protaognist Senua faces are a direct result of her mental health issues. Senua is a hardened warrior but having see many horrific things on the battlefield, Senua now suffers from anxiety, depression, and psychosis. For example, she also hears several different voiced characters in her head, which are said to be a direct reflection of her own subconscious, thoughts and feelings.
Hellblade fans are right to be wary of such a tricky subject matter being included in the game, as plenty of other developers have either failed at making it a natural part of their games or they have just been offensive with it, but Ninja Theory is confident that they can shed a respectful light on mental health issues. The developer says that the team is “ensuring that [their] portrayal of Senua’s condition is both accurate and sensitive”.
To do this, they are working with Professor Paul Fletcher, a professor of Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and are also consulting with people who have experienced mental health issues themselves. Plus, Hellblade also has support from global charitable foundation Wellcome Trust (which focuses on science and health) which is certainly a good sign.
Hellblade will be released on PC and PS4 in 2016.