Ever played Heavenly Sword, one of the PS3’s earliest 1st-party hits?
It was a glorious hack ‘slash adventure where a young female protagonist fought against hordes of enemies. The talented creatives behind the development of that game is Ninja Theory, a studio devoted to crafting meaningful interactive experiences. After years of producing huge games for premier publishers, Ninja Theory has chosen to go a different route with its next project. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will once again take place from the perspective of a woman with a huge weight on her shoulders. But the added elements of mental illness and more intimate battles means it’s quite different from its more “angelic” predecessor.
If you’re still confused about Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, this preview guide should answer every question you’ve had about it.
1. Ninja Theory is Developing and Self-Publishing This “Independent AAA” Game
Longtime video game developer Ninja Theory is based out of Cambridge, England. Before they adopted their current title, Ninja Theory was initially known as Just Add Monsters all the way back in March of 2000. As an independent development studio, the creatives working there have partnered with big time publishers to put out a number of solid to great titles. Ninja Theory’s projects are known to focus on a strong narrative and feature incredible graphics that are powered by exceptional motion capture work.
The entire gamut of games they’ve produced or partially worked on includes Kung Fu Chaos, Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC: Devil May Cry, Fightback, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and Disney Infinity 3.0. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has been labeled as an independent AAA release. That is due in part to the fact that it’s being developed and published by an independent studio, but still being produced to reflect the quality of AAA game releases.
2. The Game’s Story Revolves Around a Celtic Warrior Named Senua
Hellblade’s world is inspired by elements of Norse mythology and Celtic mythology. You’ll navigate through the game’s dark locales as a woman named Senua (who’s motion capture and vocal work is being done by Melina Juergens). Senua’s fractured psyche is a result of a previous Viking invasion that targeted her hometown. She sets out to seek redemption by journeying all the way through Hel, which means players will witness just how twisted the world is through her eyes. You should expect to spend at least six to eight hours in total during your initial Hellblade playthrough.
3. Senua’s Visions are Impacted by Her Mental Conditions – Trauma & Psychosis
The biggest feature of Hellblade is its focus on Senua’s battles with mental illness. Her condition will be reflected through her visions, which comes in the form of dark occurrences and seemingly otherworldly foes. For example, Senua can tap into her “Insight Mode” ability to discover different points of interest around the environment. While this power of hers is helpful, it still reflects Senua’s continued struggle with trauma and psychosis. Senua will continually hear voices in her head and deem inanimate objects as items that are far more important to her. During the battle sequences, Senua will defend herself with a sword and take on enemies that are either real or nothing more than a mental fabrication. Senua’s fights primarily take place against no more than two foes at once.
4. Hellblade’s Soundtrack is Being Composed by the Founder of the Band Combichrist
When it came time to select someone to compose the soundtrack for Hellblade, Ninja Theory decided to collaborate with an artist they’re familiar with – Andy LaPlegua. Andy is the frontrunner for the aggrotech/electro-industrial band Combichrist, who just so happened to do the entirety of the music for DmC: Devil May Cry. Two of the songs composed for Hellblade (“Battle March” and “Deeper”) by Andy have been released and they perfectly encapsulate the tortured world Senua will explore. Hellblade’s Creative Director, Tameem Antoniades, is working alongside Andy to make the game’s soundscape memorable.
5. Digitally Pre-Ordering Hellblade Will Get You One of Two Bonuses
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has been slated for an August 8 launch date and it will come to the PS4 and PC platforms. If you choose to pre-order the game through the PlayStation Network, your bonus will come in the form of a special Dynamic theme (which can be seen in the video posted above). The Steam pre-order gift comes in the form of an exclusive digital comic book. Hellblade is currently confirmed to only being sold as a digital release.
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