Update: upon publishing this article we accidentally noted Team Ninja as the official developer for Hellblade: Sanua’s Sacrifice instead of Ninja Theory. We apologize for any confusion that this might’ve had towards some of our readers, and have made the following corrections.
Today Ninja Theory has announced a new name for their upcoming action, hack and slash title, Hellblade. Now entitled Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the announcement comes following a recent trailer and blog post from the developer, who also unveiled a brand new poster design featuring our main protagonist Senua.
The story of Hellblade is centered on the Celtic warrior, Sanua. After surviving a great viking war, Sanua has been left suffering from psychotic hallucinations, anxiety and severe depression. Wishing to escape her trauma, Sanua is forced to embark on a quest within her own mind, and battle it out against demons manifested by her own insanity.
Announced two years ago at gamescon and teased last years at E3, Hellblade has undergone some significant improvements since the 2015 E3 trailer. Through the new body designs, environmental effects and changes in character animations, at this point the development of Hellblade appears to be primarily focused on establishing the dark visual aesthetics and tone.
Hellblade is the first game by Ninja Theory to be developed independently. This is in part thanks to donations from Wellcome Trust, a global charity organization dedicated to improving health by promoting education.
Hellblade has not received a release date, but is expected to launch later in 2016 on PlayStation 4 and PC.
As someone who suffers from mental illness, I can admire the approach that Ninja Theory is trying going for. Dealing with the subject matter depression and anxiety is not an easy thing tackle, and can be either a ‘hit or miss’ depending on the audience. However, from what I’ve read from the developers blog and what I’ve seen from the development vlogs, the potential of in this game is high, and the developers appear confident in the direction that they’re heading for. Though still early in development, I look forward to see how Ninja Theory tackles this title.