Video games still have a long way to go with how they depict mental health issues in games, but Hellblade looks to be a step forward in that regard. Ninja Theory has gone to great lengths in order to provide a unique, yet respectful, representation, and hopefully Senua will become an icon of strength.
Let’s face it. Nobody likes spending more money than they have to, and games are awfully expensive at $60 a pop. Senua’s Sacrifice is launching at a much more affordable $29.99, which is definitely an attractive prospect.
If there is one major downside to having a publisher, it’s that sometimes their vision and the developer’s goals don’t always match up. There’s no worry here as Ninja Theory got to make the game they wanted without having to be changed due to market testing. It’s a creative team’s dream, and we’re about to see the fruits of their labor.
Hellblade looks gorgeous during regular play, but it’s really phenomenal when paired with the in-game photo mode. A lot of sweet filters and modes are offered up, and I can’t wait to see what gorgeous photos that players end up sharing on social media.
Senua, the game’s main character, hears voices in her head. This is represented in-game by some really impressive sound design that’ll replicate what she hears. Hellblade uses binaural audio to really put the players in the head of Senua, and it’s one of the coolest elements.
Hellblade takes place in a unique world that mixes Celtic and Norse mythology. I can’t wait to see how Ninja Theory melds the two together. Hopefully, it’ll bring the best of both mythological worlds into one new package.
Hellblade is a gorgeous game to look at, and part of the reason it looks so good is the lack of HUD elements. In order to still communicate with the player on where they have to go, the game instead relies on 3D sound. It’s a really cool idea (hopefully they’ll also have features that’ll make the game accessible to those with hearing disabilities as well), and one I can’t wait to experience.
Time is as valuable as money, and if you’re like me you’re sick of playing games that draw out the experience for dozens of hours. That won’t be the case with Hellblade as Ninja Theory has stated that it’ll run 6-8 hours long. That’s just long enough for an impactful story and plenty of character development.
Perhaps the biggest reason to be excited is the developer’s past. Ninja Theory has worked on some fantastic games in the past including DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. They know how to create great playing combat systems, so I’d be shocked if Hellblade isn’t of a similar quality.
Ninja Theory have dubbed their upcoming action game as being "independent AAA." That means an independently published game, but one that has the high production values one would expect out of a high-end title from a major publisher. If this proves to be a huge success, it could redefine what people associate with indie games, and could change how the industry operates.