Development Diary 3: Senua

15 Sep Development Diary 3: Senua

The 3rd installment of our development diary series focuses on Hellblade’s protagonist Senua. In this video we show her journey from original concept through to her look in the final teaser trailer.


In the Development Diary you will see a short glimpse of the hi-res Senua render created by our Senior Character Artist Claire in Mental Ray and Maya. Here is the render shot from the trailer, plus several other angles:

rend_senua_highres_closeup02 rend_senua_highres_closeup05 rend_senua_highres_full05 rend_senua_highres_back05


It is important to say that, as with most game characters, Senua’s model will evolve throughout the course of the project. She is currently work-in-progress, but we’ve been very happy with the response we’ve had to her design so far.


  • Jose Antonio "Pep"
    Posted at 16:09h, 15 September Reply

    Thank you again for another Dev Diary, Matthew! Senua’s is shaping like a fasctinating character. From the story of the mysteriously forgotten Roman goddess, to this wild, savage take on feminity. I highly prefer this representation of women instead of Bayonetta’s.

    I just have one thing to ask of the Hellblade team. While I appreciate the amount of detail that was put into Senua’s design, please watch out for pesky clipping issues with floating/moving parts! Dante looked great in DmC, but his coat clipped with most of his weapons, especially Osiris. But I’m sure you’ve learned a few lessons from that experience (:

    Cheers from Barcelona,


    PS: Matthew, can you take a look at NT’s Facebook? I left a message there regarding hellblade wikia. Thanks!

    • Dewi
      Posted at 17:37h, 15 September Reply

      Yes, I noticed that too. Dante’s weapons just seemed to go through his coat. He was a great looking character, but it’s true that the little details are important too. 🙂 But if the trailer is any indication of what the game will look like, Hellblade is going to be beautiful!

      • Jose Antonio "Pep"
        Posted at 18:10h, 15 September Reply

        Totally agreed, Dewi. One thing about Hellblade for sure is that it’s going to be gorgeous.

        • Dewi
          Posted at 18:19h, 15 September Reply

          If they write a great story around Senua along with combat as good as DmC, I’m sure that Hellblade is going to be one of my favorite games.

  • Jordan Lear
    Posted at 17:15h, 15 September Reply

    Thank you for continuing to share these Hellblade dev videos with us. I think they’re fantastic! Hellblade is a new IP that actually has my attention, and I love seeing more and more from it.

    From the moment I saw the teaser trailer, I noticed that Senua is intended to be quite different from a typical game lead and even a typical female game lead. I love the vision you shared about the type of woman she is: not sexy, not skimpy, not skinny, etc. On that note, I would like to encourage you to push yourselves on that vision. I know you’ll likely not be showing her off in nude form, but the sculpt of her still looked fairly skinny, skimpy, sexy… Sexy is of course relative, but I think you can do something about the skinny/skimpy. I noticed defined shoulders and abdominals but her legs and back still looked very skimpy (in my opinion). May I suggest you take a look at women that do Crossfit? They are great examples of female bodies that are powerful and strong yet still agile and lean.

    Here are a few big names I think are good examples:
    Annie Thorisdottir
    Elisabeth Akinwale
    Julie Foucher
    Camille Leblanc-Bazinet
    Bjork Odinsdottir

  • Zura
    Posted at 17:27h, 15 September Reply

    I like the characters look and expression so far. I looking forward to see her in the final form and in the game!

  • Zura
    Posted at 17:42h, 15 September Reply

    BTW it is very nice to start the week with these developer diaries!

  • Shezza
    Posted at 17:44h, 15 September Reply

    Not sure if it’s way too early to say this but I already love the game.

  • Dino
    Posted at 17:55h, 15 September Reply

    I want this game now! xD
    You are doing a great job with Senua, Keep it up 😀 (sorry for my bad english)

  • Zubin
    Posted at 18:17h, 15 September Reply

    I’m all for female leads, and I think Senua is awesome, keep up the great work!

  • Ruben
    Posted at 19:01h, 15 September Reply

    really cool! it’s so rare to see a female character with muscles and scars. Most of those aesthetics are given to female villains and are played up to be negative qualities that make them ugly or disturbing compared to the typically perfectly curvy and sexy female protagonists. can’t wait for this game!

  • Eon
    Posted at 19:52h, 15 September Reply

    I think the realism and how you can see all those tiny details in the makeup and blood and skin is really amazing! I like how detailed the materials her costume is made of are. You can tell that parts of it are animal skins by the unique textures. However something in the headpiece or facial features or makeup or something makes her look too much like Kai from “Heavenly Sword”(At least in my opinion) I’m not sure I understand the choice to make what almost look like animal ears on her head…I think it would look better if it was altered or removed…but those are just my thoughts on it. I’m interested to see where you end up taking this game. Also I really hope that Senua comes out as a very awesome mighty female warrior! There just aren’t enough female characters that actually have any good reason to exist in games…most of them seem to exist solely to be rescued…Which I dislike intensely! So I hope this really shows a character with a lot of mental strength as well as physical strength…and of course I think finding out about a character’s personality is really important! The more you find out about the character the more real they feel and the more I (The player) feel more interested in helping them on their quest …I’d like to see a female character the exhibits more traits that are typically thought of as “male”. I think it would help the character to have more personality and stand out from other female leads…I don’t know if my advice is worth much but I actually think it would be awesome if you made Senua a bigger woman…not necessarily fat since she’s in shape and all, but just a bigger, sturdier body shape. …Alright, I’ll stop now.

  • strant
    Posted at 20:08h, 15 September Reply

    Its a strange myth that female lead would be troublesome that myth it just shows the strange bubble the publishers lives in

    senua looks awesome

    also dont worry about or cater to any “holier than though” poeple or wanna be feminists make senua however you feel she should be

  • João Tavares
    Posted at 22:33h, 15 September Reply

    Fantastic Stuff!
    But I would definetly like to see her with a less white skin. Why is her skin so white anyway???

  • deafwing
    Posted at 22:43h, 15 September Reply

    Very cool … I see the team took a lot of their exp from DMC over here to 😉 but that is natural and I’m glad for it … 😀

    • Jose Antonio "Pep"
      Posted at 13:55h, 18 September Reply

      Hi Deafwing. May I know how did you put an avatar in here? Thanks!

  • André
    Posted at 17:08h, 16 September Reply

    Amazing! This is the next gen title i’m the most looking forward to, Ninja Theory always delivers.

    And you guys should keep Melina as the character model, she is gorgeous!

    Keep the great worrk, guys.

    • Michel
      Posted at 23:08h, 26 January Reply

      I go in line with André. Melina as Senua looks gorgeous!

  • Andreea
    Posted at 21:13h, 16 September Reply

    hello guys, you are the best love how you find inspiration in history to develope a great action game and also the music you have used in this video diary is super, what is tha name of the song?

    • Jose Antonio "Pep"
      Posted at 13:54h, 18 September Reply

      Hi Andrea, it’s “Just Like Sleep” from a UK band called Passarella Death Squad.

      • Jose Antonio "Pep"
        Posted at 13:55h, 18 September Reply

        Uh, wrong answer. My bad… I’d like to know that too, pretty mysterious song.

  • Stephen Taylor
    Posted at 03:50h, 18 September Reply

    Loved Nariko’s character in Heavenly Sword, but wasn’t as inspired by the story and mythos. This in contrast looks awesome in both departments!

  • Eric J Shin
    Posted at 10:58h, 21 September Reply

    I’m really looking forward to this. Been loving watching NT evolve into a better and better studio with each game. I really want to see what they can do after the amazing combat engine they designed for DmC. It’s great to see them develop a game with a strong female character again. Heavenly Sword was one of my favorite games for the PS3.

  • Graham Raddings
    Posted at 09:39h, 23 September Reply

    This is looking amazing and what a brave choice to go indie AAA! I love the initial looks of the character, though I think there is still a tendency to push the design towards a more masculine framework of identity. I think it is important that the character does not lose her femininity – battle hardened or not. That layer of vulnerability is what will make her more human and more approachable for all audiences. I admire your choices to ensure she is believable and the approach you have taken is certainly more diverse than other characters in this genre – but I think allow her to be frightened, timid and to feel the pain (as opposed to wear a hardened battle posture). I see a lot of Trip in her – and that character had layers of such vulnerability and still retained that strength. Indeed, it is when we are most afraid that we become stronger – but the fear has to happen! I will watch this project keenly and with great interest. Best of luck Ninjas!!

  • Daniel Prem
    Posted at 12:04h, 25 September Reply

    The video was great, but I wonder if you manage to create a believable female character which is not sexy, skimpy, etc. In terms of storywriting it is a big challange to do so without using stereotypes. But so far I think you doing well and I trust you. Go on, your fanbase is watching and supporting you.

  • André Vila Franca
    Posted at 19:33h, 05 October Reply

    I’m really liking the artistic aproach, the main character, the monsters and the environments all look great! Now i hope the fighting mechanics are great too, i hope they’re deep and not easily mastered but at the same time entuitive, lots of amazing combos and fast movements, gory and smart. And human enemies would be cool as well!
    Keep up the great work!!

  • Niccelson
    Posted at 08:50h, 17 October Reply

    You can’t have a character-action game without a good player-character, and this character has all my attention right now. A question that might seem a bit odd: How tall is Senua compared to the other humanoids? A couple pieces of concept art showed her being dwarfed by what I assume are titan-sized boss monsters, but I always find it interesting to see if the main character in an action game is towering over the majority of their enemies or vice versa. Makes for a subtle but interesting metaphor in my opinion.

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