Hellblade E3 Trailer and more

10 Jun Hellblade E3 Trailer and more

Today we’re happy to be sharing our new Hellblade trailer with you, as well as the latest in our series of development diary videos. In both of these we share Hellblade gameplay for the first time as well as give a deeper insight into the game’s story and world than we ever have before.

Hellblade will be released for PlayStation 4 and PC in 2016 and tells the story of Celtic Warrior Senua and her journey into Hell. The Hell in question is no ordinary Hell, but is in fact a Hell that is the manifestation of Senua’s mental illness. Senua experiences psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions, as well as suffering from anxiety and depression. As a player you will witness Senua’s living nightmare through her own eyes.

From George Orwell’s 1984, to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, the best fantasy breaks down barriers and lets us see the world without prejudice. This is what we want to do with Hellblade. To see the world through Senua’s eyes, and in doing so, address a subject that is still considered taboo.

Developing Hellblade independently gives us the freedom to tackle a subject as challenging as mental health. It is a subject that we are handling with all the respect it deserves, ensuring that our portrayal of Senua’s condition is both accurate and sensitive. To help us with this we are working closely with Professor Paul Fletcher, a professor of Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, as well as arranging to consult directly with people who have experience of mental health difficulties. We are also very proud to say that Hellblade  is being supported by Wellcome Trust, which is a global charitable foundation which aims to build a greater public understanding of science and in particular health.

In our new development diary we talk more about the mental health theme in Hellblade and our approach to handling it.

 

41 Comments
  • Nico
    Posted at 15:04h, 10 June Reply

    Will the PC version come out at the same time as the PS4 version? (Didn’t have time to watch the videos yet, in case the question got answered there)

    Thank you!

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  • Vital (Brownie_USSR)
    Posted at 15:56h, 10 June Reply

    … Breath! But how can I be – if they wanted to, I could not learn English to understand what is happening on the screen before the game! (

  • Michael Shade
    Posted at 16:06h, 10 June Reply

    That’s exciting! It is interesting to see design decisions sprout out of the mental illness theme. I can’t wait to see how they come together.

  • Dewi
    Posted at 16:10h, 10 June Reply

    Since I suffer from a mental illness myself, I really hope you guys get this game right. Excited to play it in 2016!

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  • lumi
    Posted at 17:23h, 10 June Reply

    Good to see a gameplay trailer!
    How did you end up choosing mental illness as a theme for the game? It’s very interesting. I am also a bit worried, how it will be portrayed and how it will be to play the game for people who have or is currently struggling with mental health.

  • Tracii Kunkel, Ph.D.
    Posted at 18:26h, 10 June Reply

    As someone who spends a great deal of my time battling stigma against mental illness, I was very interested when I saw this announced. I have to admit, I am extremely skeptical. Yes, I get that you have a neuroscientist professor consulting, but take offense to the suggestion that you did so to be sensitive to the issues regarding mental illness and stigma. No doubt Professor Fletcher is an expert on the neurological basis and possibly the internal experience of hallucinations, but it does not seem that he has any background in treatment or in stigma. I find it difficult to see how any serious effort to change the perception that people who experience hallucinations/delusions are dangerous to society begins with calling your game HellBLADE, and having the protagonist slice and dice through the world with a sword. I would encourage you to actually consult with an expert or two in the field of Mental Illness stigma (there are plenty of us out there now) if you are serious about wanting to be sensitive to this issue.

    • Dom
      Posted at 18:54h, 10 June Reply

      Hi Tracii, many thanks for your comment. I’d be to discuss this further with you. If you’re open to this, please free to email me at dominic.matthews@ninjatheory.com

      Thanks

      Dom

    • Jamie White
      Posted at 19:53h, 10 June Reply

      As someone who suffers from anxiety, depression, mood and sleep problems as well as being plagued by neuropathic pains that prevent me functioning or interacting with the world in any meaningful way, I am wholeheartedly behind this project. From the open development style, which appeals to me as a FOSS supporter and Linux enthusiast, to the story and the hidden meaning behind it.

      The issue you raise Tracii is extremely valid and I agree 100%.
      How can Ninja Theory help us gamers, especially ones with mental health issues, raise the profile and prove the legitimacy of our issues by, on the surface, making an extremely dark, gritty and violent game?
      The media will eat this for breakfast and crap it out by lunch as a news item pointing out violence and “craziness” in videogames. They’ll see the horrific character designs and visceral combat and reserve a spot on the evening news next time someone does something violent and stupid (who they found out played a game once in their life -_-‘)
      As I watched I wished that I could even lift a sword at all never mind to attack my mental problems, the physical impacts of certain/serious/long-term mental health problems aren’t well represented at all (but then that’d defeat the point of being a warrior I guess).

      But the counterpoint to what you’ve suggested is that the news and general public has always misconstrued violence in videogames whether or not those videogames bother to represent the human condition.
      Surprisingly, a fair few games e.g. the Call of Duty and Battlefield games etc do actually go some of the way to representing the horrific realities of war (physically and mentally), just not very far or often. None of this stops the hidden agendas of trying to stop videogames being free to say/do whatever they want.
      The fact is this game tries to represent, metaphorically speaking (and that’s the really important bit), the trials and fantasies of fighting, losing and overcoming (or not) mental health issues.

      As someone who is stuck in the muddy trenches of a mind war… it’s not all that fantastical or fun.
      I struggle to make it through everyday without some kind of break, without pain, without darkness seeping in, without a struggle. But it’s an internal struggle, to the world I’m just another person. My actions or responses can’t be as a result of my individuality or my condition, they must be choices I knowingly made. I must just be lazy because I don’t have a job? I must just be rude because I don’t like talking to people? It can’t be part of my problem and that’s part of the problem. I digress, but what I’m trying to say is that I’m just a “weirdo” to someone else. They don’t see what I go through everyday. And that’s the point neither do I, I just feel it. This game represents, fantasizes, realises and romanticises that struggle. This game adds a fantastical overblown portrayal, that I feel positively shows the overcoming/destruction and yes, violence against our own issues.
      I hate my problems. I hate my issues. And I do see the world through a glass darkly, it’s not all translated precisely or processed, by a brain that’s being hit constantly with information often painful, 100% correctly.

      So whilst this game does use violence to portray the mental struggle, as compared to say other portrayals such as Dear Esther, Gone Home etc, I feel that it’s a positive exploration of a negative space and the violence is well within context.

      If only Senua could fight my battles for me :’)
      And that’s the point isn’t it? I’ll play this to escape my issues and for a time it’ll help me and maybe, hopefully, it’ll even push me to deal with some of my problems and “attack” them head on. Show me a bit of strength and resolve. Otherwise, it’ll be that painkiller that I need, for however long it lasts.

  • Berry Bluper
    Posted at 19:25h, 10 June Reply

    WOW im excited for this game!! I’m hyped! Im the type of gamer that wants the EXPERIENCE, to IMMERSE myself in such a world. And tbh, this game look promising. Plz Ninja Theory! Theres hardly any good games nowadays plz make a badass one, it looks amazing so far, but plz make it good in the end! I’ve watched your development diaries and they’re incredibly interesting. Inspires me to maybe one day make a game of my own. Yes, you must start from rock bottom in order to succeed, I believe in you
    Ninja Theory! You can do it! (^-^)/

  • Arijon
    Posted at 21:05h, 10 June Reply

    It looks great so far. The environment is very moody with all the clouds and wind, it gives the feeling of a real place. The combat also appears to be very dynamic and violent, one couldn’t expect less from you. I must add that the music was also spot on, it really added to the trailer. Congrats to the whole team, you’re doing something very special, and best of luck. Until next time.

  • André Vila Franca
    Posted at 21:12h, 10 June Reply

    Fucking awesome trailer, i’m amazed with you guys, an independent small team is making all this happening, such great vision and you always stay true to your path. Plese keep going forward with this, it has so much potential!
    Senua looks an incredible character, deep, dark and troubled and trying to figure it out how to live in that world through fighting and survival. I’m so hyped for this game, can’t wait to play it.
    And i loved that real time fighting mechanic where Senua is on the ground and dodges the Viking’s attack, really cool!!
    Keep up the great work guys!! \(>0<)/

  • RodyHW
    Posted at 22:17h, 10 June Reply

    Great job guys, could you upload the 11th and 12th diaries on Vimeo plese ? There’s nothing after the 10th develoement diary. Thanks in advance (if you can do it).

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  • AphroditeBoy
    Posted at 01:18h, 11 June Reply

    Looks like it’s living up to expectations so far! Hope it exceeds them. Certainly has the potential!

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  • Sophie St. Clair
    Posted at 06:28h, 11 June Reply

    As a veteran of the USMC, with 3 deployments under their belt (Afghan, OIF 1, and OIF 2), and a diagnosis of PTSD I approve of this game and cannot wait to play it.
    I struggled with flashbacks and night terrors almost on the daily. And yes, the stigma and the lack of knowledge really made my personal life suffer. Which of course made things worse. But I think this game is a good way to explain what war can do to ones mind. It may not help with the stigma as others have stated, but the creators are still trying to tell a story and having the main character skip and hug her way through her personal hell to show that we are not all violent and dangerous would not do the story justice. But showing how our minds are our own personal hells is amazing. I love the idea. Keep up the good work!

    PS: I am also female so making the main character a female warrior is even more bonus point from me. AND she is not scantily clad! Haha!

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  • Nicholas Long
    Posted at 17:19h, 11 June Reply

    I’m glad you guys specified that the mental illness is a result of her violent past and not the other way around, and I really hope you convey that in the game as well. You guys are working way too hard to have it all undermined by people thinking you’re attacking the mentally ill, when, clearly, you guys seem to be working hard to not do that. As always, I can’t wait to see more of this game!

  • Kelso
    Posted at 03:34h, 12 June Reply

    I am not sure why I was shocked to see a large chunk of the Internet take umbrage with the news of Hellblade tackling mental illness. But I was. I guess I can’t relate to that demographic that needs to post harsh opinions and site this story revelation as a “gimmick”. I commend Ninja Theory for choosing to bring to light an often taboo subject. I think it will make for a dynamic story and have faith that they are treating the subject matter with respect. I read a comment from someone above saying how audacious the game was to deal with mental illness in a hack and slash frame work. How would this not be relevant? I often wander in the games I play how a hero seems to endure horrific things and winds up at the credits not suffering from PTSD. I just wanted to say how visionary and innovative the development team is. You have my support and I applaud the sensitivity and commitment to see your vision through.

  • Ruben
    Posted at 22:02h, 12 June Reply

    i’m a little confused by the overall fiction of the game. you say that senua is pictish/celtic and yet she’s figuratively going through helheim, the norse version of hell? if we are seeing things truly from senua’s perspective her “hell” would be that of the “otherworld”. the hell of someone else’s culture simply wouldn’t frighten her. Not to mention that given the supposed time period the game is set, it’s incredibly unlikely she would have heard of the vikings let alone anything about their mythology. either way, good on you for trying to incorporate mental illness and making it’s representation credible and empathic.

  • Michel
    Posted at 10:21h, 13 June Reply

    Now your earlier hints about Senua’s journey into Helheim and her altered perception of the world are taking on shape. VERY interesting and very promising. Working with professionals on this topic shows your professionalism.
    This VBlog was really something.

  • Bela A.
    Posted at 21:33h, 18 June Reply

    Will your models have scabbards or will the swords simply be glued onto the character models like in every vanilla game?

  • Rustin Calame
    Posted at 17:03h, 20 June Reply

    Congradulations on a Successful Showcase at E3! Looks like a lot of people like the game. As for me, I can’t wait until we can play!

  • Laila
    Posted at 23:29h, 23 June Reply

    The game looks so amazing, can’t wait to play it 😀
    I love the mental illness approach and the way you present it in the game. Thumbs up for your courage to adress such a difficult subject!

  • Christine
    Posted at 17:02h, 25 June Reply

    Looks really interesting and beautiful. I think it’s great the protagonist is a female and has a real personality (and you have approached it with sensitivity and understanding) and her own problems / inner demons to overcome like we all do. Reminds me a little of Alice Madness Returns in that respect. I also like the archeology / Celtic and Viking reference. I’ll be keeping an eye on your game it looks great 🙂

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  • Christopher Burns
    Posted at 18:35h, 22 September Reply

    Thank you for creating such an amazing game. The depth and emotion was one that brought into a world I could not relate. Simply beautiful. Thanks to the dev team and all involved with this games release.

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