Ninja Theory remains a popular developer with fans, thanks to its ability to craft visually appealing games mixed with high action gameplay like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Heavenly Sword, and most recently DmC: Devil May Cry. With their latest game, HellBlade, Ninja Theory is switching things up a bit opting for a smaller team creating what the company is calling an “Independent AAA” title, free of publishers and any sort of restrictions that may come with that path.

While Hellblade was originally revealed a year ago, development has continued to progress with a new gameplay demo showing early footage of the promising title. Fans of previous Ninja Theory games will find a lot to love with the dark fantasy setting, emphasis on swordplay, and beautiful environment.

In a recently released gameplay demo from GamesCom, fans are given a quick look at both exploration and combat from the Celtic-themed tale centered around lead character, Sanua. The character is suffering from some sort of mental illness and the gameplay demo gives viewers a great look at how her state of mind affects the world around her. Dealing with different voices calling out to her, Sanua’s environment can take on unique characteristics such as weather changing in a moment’s notice, hallucinations manifesting around her, and twisted enemies appearing before her.

Combat is something Ninja Theory is well versed in, though with Hellblade, the team is taking a different approach. Within the game, combat focuses on intimate one on one battles typically centering around Sanua fighting her inner demons as the camera pulls into the action restricting the view to just the enemy. The demo gameplay appears to be limited to simple sword strikes and blocking with less emphasis on movement and footwork.

Hellblade Gamescom 2015

While the exploration and story elements are promising in the gameplay clip, the combat still appears pretty raw. With a camera pulled in close to Sanua on her right side during combat, battles appear more frantic and somewhat simplistic with basic attacks and sword parrying. The fighting also appears to be fairly similar regardless of the opponent, boiling down into basic attacks and blocks. The title is still early in development however, so there’s still plenty of time for these things to change.

Still, the real star of the game just might be the lead character herself. Suffering from a sort of PTSD-like psychosis after a Viking invasion leaves her traumatized, players will get to experience her personal journey as she deals with the effects of her illness while trying to navigate through a world populated by manifestations from both reality and her mind. With the promise of a unique story, an interesting theme, and additional development time to work on the rough edges, fans should keep an eye on this one.

What do you guys think of the footage? Let us know in the comments.

Hellblade is targeting release sometime in 2016 for PlayStation 4 and PC.

Source: Ninja Theory YouTube