Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Has Quietly Stolen My Attention

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

I completely missed the announcement for Ninja Theory’s upcoming PS4 title, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice back in 2014. How or this happened is beyond me, but it’s also besides the point. What’s important is that I am now 100% intrigued and even a little bit hyped.

If you know my hype scale at all, you would know this as the highest level of hype I will allow myself to experience publically. (I also reserve the right to remain vehemently skeptical, a practice I strongly advise in the current gaming climate.)

If you, like me, somehow missed the hype for Hellblade thus far, I’m going to make it easy for you to get caught up. Just watch the trailer below before we continue.

In my opinion, Ninja Theory has been ahead of the curve in video game animation for a while now. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was years ahead of its time (thanks in no small part to the master of mo-cap, Andy Serkis), and they continued the trend with Heavenly Sword.

Now, with Hellblade, it looks like they haven’t lost a step. The pain, confusion, and guilt on display on Senua’s face are palpable and engrossing. I love intimately personal journeys with characters I grow to love as a video game story progresses, and Hellblade’s spot-on facial animation could easily make it an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

What draws me to this game is the viewpoint of Senua, the protagonist, and I can’t wait to see this world through her lens. She seems to have some inner demons, and dealing with them seems to be a focal point for this story, alongside themes of sanity and guilt, but also of perseverance and strength.

Game Informer recently sat down with the development team for a jib jab, which provided a more current look at the state of the game and a breakdown of what they’re attempting to accomplish with Hellblade.

This game looks brutal and challenging — not only mechanically but also thematically. Although there isn’t a whole lot to go by, I’d say there is plenty to be excited by. There will no doubt be comparisons to Horizon Zero Dawn — and possibly even Bloodborne and The Last of Us (all Sony exclusives, I’ll note). And those comparisons seem apt. Even so, from what I’ve seen thus far, Hellblade will  also bring plenty of original ideas to the table.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was originally planned for a 2016 release, but it was delayed into 2017. I’m hoping the final date will be sooner than later, but I’m willing to wait to make sure the game is ready to ship and play as intended.

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