It's been a long time coming, but we finally caught a glimpse of full-on gameplay for the eagerly-awaited Hellblade. Until now, we'd only seen gameplay through basic design animation tests during Ninja Theory's dev diaries.
The story for Hellblade has taken a new turn. Senua's trip into hell is actually a manifestation of her mental illness after the trauma of a Viking invasion. Sounds a bit Silent Hill to us. Psychosis is now a central theme of the game and the studio has been working with Psychiatrist and Professor of Health and Neuroscience at Cambridge University, Paul Fletcher, to develop these themes. Fletcher said: "True understanding of mental health is not simply about books, lectures or verbal descriptions but from deeper engagement on all levels. Working with Ninja Theory has shown me the potential that gaming has for sharing in a character's experiences and engendering empathy in ways that go well beyond those offered by simple academic descriptions. Maybe this approach will contribute powerful new ways of challenging stigma."
Iain Dodgeon, Creative Partnerships Manager at the Wellcome Trust, who are partnered with Ninja Theory on the project, said: "More and more, games have an exciting and innovative role to play in giving us new perspectives on health and mental health challenges. Rather than being a didactic game teaching us about psychosis, Hellblade allows us to explore it through the creation of a compelling and complex character, and the world that she inhabits."
Intrigued? Us too, but even after watching the trailer, we're none the wiser about how this new revelation will present itself in the game. Take a look at my speculative article if you want to know more about the game: Hellblade Preview – The Heavenly Sword Connection Examined. Hellblade will release at some point in 2016.