Hellblade Gameplay Trailer

After about a year of developer diaries, the team at Ninja Theory (DmC: Devil May Cry, Heavenly Sword) finally gave us the first trailer for their next IP, Hellblade. Described as an independent triple-A title, Hellblade was announced at last year’s Gamescom to much intrigue. The team at Ninja Theory has been releasing dev diaries at least once a month since the announcement.¬†As someone, who’s been following this game’s development, it’s been an interesting journey from concept to creation. Seeing some of the conscious choices they’ve made for game’s design gave me greater insight as to what’s going on in this trailer and with the main character, Senua.

Senua is a warrior who suffers from mental illness, as she has illusions, hears voices, and deals with bi-polar disorder and anxiety. I know, it’s quite a bit to deal with. It’s also quite different from what we’re used to seeing out of video game protagonists: a sense of innate weakness.

Based on the trailer, we can see our heroine will be trudging through mountainous and jungle regions, making her way through “the darkness.”

Gameplay wise, it looks like the game uses a close, over-the shoulder perspective for combat. It’s not something that’s been done before in a game that isn’t a third-person shooter (see: Gears of War, The Order 1886). I still remain a little concerned about this, as I like a sense of speed in adventure games, and clunky controls are kind of a hindrance to that. We do see some fast-paced combat for a couple of seconds in the trailer, but those few seconds aren’t completely indicative of a game that could be 10 or 15 hours long.

Visually, the game has a noticeably darker tone than any of Ninja Theory’s previous games – both in environmental and enemy design. Speaking of enemy design, there seem to be some demonic/viking enemies. Based on what the devs have said in the past, the demons she’s seeing are her illusions, as her mental illness tends to exaggerate dire situations like combat and those she’s fighting.

Hellblade is set to release next year for PS4 and PC.

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