Ninja Theory today announced the release date for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, accompanied by a new trailer titled “Ragnarok.” Expect the third-person action game to launch on both PlayStation 4 and PC starting August 8. So begins the journey of Senua, a Celtic warrior, as she ventures in the nightmarish Viking underworld, hel.
While at first glance Hellblade might seem like a standard dark fantasy action game, Ninja Theory’s exploring much more complex ideas in this game. The studio’s partnered with Wellcome, a UK-based charity foundation intended to promote health and wellness. Here’s a brief description of that facet of Hellblade:
“It is the story of Senua, a traumatised Celtic warrior journeying into the Viking underworld of hel. Supported by Wellcome and created in collaboration with neuroscientists and people who experience psychosis, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will pull players deep into Senua’s mind.”
Hellblade will explore themes of mental illness in both literal and figurative ways, featuring gameplay mechanics tied to those themes. Whether or not Hellblade will deliver on those lofty expectations is another matter entirely, but Ninja Theory has certainly armed itself with the technical tools to execute its plans. The mix of impressive visual fidelity and Senua’s facial motion capture show just how gripping and personal of a story Hellblade will be.
Hellblade‘s an interesting release in general. The game will only be put out digitally, so no retail copies will be available. Ninja Theory only has about 15 people working full-time on the project, and describes Hellblade‘s development as an effort to bring back the mid-size game. That is to say that it’s half the size of a full-size game, but as such half the price while still AAA quality. Ninja Theory is hoping this strategy will enable them stay independent and to keep making the games they want to make.
That doesn’t mean that Hellblade won’t follow the staples of traditional game releases, however, as pre-order bonuses were also revealed for the game today. Don’t let those words stress you out too much, however. There’s no in-game game content included with the pre-order. Instead, pre-orderers will be given one of two different things, depending on their platform of choice. PS4 players will receive an exclusive theme featuring the burning tree scene shown in early trailer. PC players will receive a 1-issue digital comic made in partnership with Valiant Entertainment.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice launches on August 8 on PlayStation 4 and PC. It costs just $29.99 and is available for pre-order starting today.