In today’s PC market, indie games such as Goat Simulator are given the same time of day as Titanfall, while Microsoft and Sony use events like Gamescom to promote smaller scale titles so that we end up with games of all shapes, budgets and sizes on all of our machines.
There could be a middle ground, though, where developers with enough capital and experience can go it alone. No longer beholden to publishers, developers would be able to make games in their own way without changing their creative ambition. That’s what UK games studio Ninja Theory calls ‘Independent AAA’ gaming, and their first title to follow that is the newly announced Hellblade.
A PS4 exclusive, Hellblade follows Ninja Theory’s successful reboot DmC: Devil May Cry, as well as a short stint on mobile with Fightback for iOS. The developer had suggested in the past that they would be embracing mobile wholeheartedly going forward, so fans will be thrilled to know that the studio has decided to also stick to their console guns.
What fans will also appreciate even more is that Hellblade seems to be as demonic and twisted as Heavenly Sword and it’s likely no coincidence that ‘Hellblade’ has a name that’s the direct opposite – though both games feature female protagonists who are depicted as the harbingers of doom.
Many fans have already voiced their suspicion that Hellblade’s protagonist Senua is either directly or indirectly connected to Kai – the only friend of Heavenly Sword‘s Nariko. Whether a direct continuation or simply spiritual successor, it could also coincide with the previously announced Heavenly Sword movie, and Ninja Theory could be trying to tie several aspects of the well-liked PS3 launch title together.
If it proves to be true that Ninja Theory is going ahead with a Kai-focused story, rather than working on Heavenly Sword 2, many fans will surely be disappointed, but the studio promises that Hellblade will still bring Ninja Theory’s best and most notable skills with it.
“Ninja-class combat, strong character stories, and a unique art vision” are all teased, but it remains unclear if Hellblade’s heroine will signal the coming of darkness to her world (as Nariko’s clan suspected). The new trailer seems to show her performing a sacrifice only to be greeted by a dark force and a reanimated, suffocating corpse. So we can only imagine.
Fortunately, the developer claims that fans won’t have to remain in suspense for long. As Ninja Theory’s Dom Matthews reveals, communication with fans is a top priority:
“We have announced the game unusually early. This is a deliberate move: we want to share our development journey with you, the fans; to develop Hellblade right in front of your eyes so you can see just how we go about making games.”
“To finish my post, I want to say that it is incredibly exciting for me and the team at Ninja Theory to be creating Hellblade. Hellblade is being made for our fans. Fans of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved and DmC: Devil May Cry. If any of our games have found a special place in your heart, then our aim is that Hellblade will too.”
Even the game’s official website is missing any plot details, with a more in-depth explanation of ‘independent AAA’ offered. Positioned by Ninja Theory as a means to give fans the games they want at a lower price, it seems Hellblade is still a long way off from release.
Hellblade will release exclusively on PS4.
Source: PlayStation Blog