Hellblade – Unreal Engine 4 Hack & Slash; New Video Shows off a Unique Approach to Performance Capture


Hellblade is a third person action game being developed by Ninja Theory for the PlayStation 4 and PC. Ninja Theory is the developer of DmC: Devil May Cry, Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.

Ninja Theory's Product Development Manager Dominic Matthews, explains:

 As a studio we strive to create believable characters that you as a player care about. A week doesn’t go by without us receiving a letter or email from someone telling us that they’ve been moved by our characters. This fills us with a great sense of pride. In Hellblade, our upcoming PlayStation 4 title, we will take you on the harrowing journey Senua; a Celtic warrior plunged into hell. It is important to us that we represent Senua and her story honestly and believably.

Fundamental to our approach is using performance capture to bring our characters to life. Performance capture is a technology that we pioneered in the development of our 2007 PlayStation 3 exclusive Heavenly Sword and one that we are continuing to use, and evolve, in Hellblade.

Ninja Theory Creative Chief Tameem Antoniades explained to PC Gamer regarding Hellblade on PC:

“I think PC offers us a level of freedom that we haven’t had before,”

“We’re looking at everything we do on this project and figuring out better ways of doing things compared to how the traditional AAA console model works. And consoles are following suit with PC, but I think they’re years behind what things like Steam are doing. If we want to do an open beta right now, it’s a little bit trickier to do that than on PC. Playtesting is a huge thing for us. Usability testing, getting people hands-on to try things out, get feedback, then roll that back in and improve the game... it’s always been essential for us to do that. Not every publisher has let us, because of the secrecy that goes into consoles and publisher-based businesses. As an independent we have the freedom to do that.”

Ninja Theory aims for Hellblade to be future proof, by possibly supporting 4K and even Mods,

“I think we want to get to the point where we can invite players and fans to add to the game, and do things that are unexpected, and suggest ideas or add-ons that can make the game richer.”

Ninja Theory has released a new development diary video focused on Hellblade’s unique performance capture approach.

The small glimpse of the cinematic scene that you saw at the end of the development diary is from our Vertical Slice that we are currently busy finalising. Our Vertical Slice is a small section of the game that we are taking to a finished, polished state. It is in the Vertical Slice development phase that we have discovered exactly what the Hellblade experience is, bringing together the results of our prototyping and realising the creative vision in-game for the first time.

Ninja Theory will be sharing much more of the Vertical Slice in the next few months, showing Hellblade gameplay for the first time and revealing more about Senua’s story.

More on Hellblade will be revealed at E3 2015. You can follow Hellblade and Ninja Theory's open development at Hellblade.com, follow on twitter @ninjatheory and through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ninjatheory. We will bring you any new information on Hellblade as soon as it becomes available. Be sure to check out our previous coverage for more, here and here.