Ninja Theory, the game developer behind the such titles as Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC: Devil May Cry and Disney Infinity 3.0, has announced its next game project in Hellblade. The new game looks to be a dark and serious third person action game that will explore mental health and psychosis as its key themes.
The game is inspired by historical events and tells the story of Senua, a Celtic warrior who becomes traumatized by a Viking invasion. The game is being developed exclusively for the PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. As Senua, players will witness a vision of hell that is the manifestation of her own mental illness. Ninja Theory is apparently taking the depiction of mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis very seriously. The developer worked closely with Psychiatrist and Professor of Health and Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge, Paul Fletcher, as well as arranging to consult with people who have experience of mental health difficulties. In addition, the project has earned the support of Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation that wants to build greater public understanding of science and health.
The game is being developed by a team of 15 people under a development model Ninja Theory calls Independent AAA. The hope is that the game will be created with the creative freedom of an indie-developed game, but with the production values of AAA blockbuster games.
Speaking on the game’s unveiling, Ninja Theory Chief Creative Director Tameem Antoniades stated: “In Hellblade we are pursuing creative independence in order to explore a compelling subject matter and gaming experience that would not be possible under the current retail model. In movie terms, this would be a quality independent film, not a Hollywood blockbuster. Digital self-publishing means that we can offer a smaller, but high quality game at around half the price of retail games.”
You can check out the debut E3 trailer for the game in the player below. The footage shows a bit of what looks to be some impressive visuals, hack and slash combat and some nightmarish-looking creatures. Hellblade will be released in 2016.