Hellblade News

Ninja Theory announces Hellblade-inspired scholarship to fund mental health training

Ninja Theory announces Hellblade-inspired scholarship to fund mental health training

To carry out work "showing people the possibility of life beyond diagnosis".

Those who played Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice will know the game delivers a powerful depiction of psychosis. The main protagonist, Senua, deals with horrific visions and voices as she embarks on a quest into hell to recover the soul of her dead lover.

In order to achieve an accurate portrayal of psychosis, Ninja Theory spent three years working with neuroscientists and mental health experts to inform their research for Senua's Sacrifice. Many of these were from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, and to mark this year's World Mental Health day, the developer is working with the organisation to create a scholarship programme for mental health training.

Senua's scholarship will help fund a student to train at Cambridge Recovery College East to become a mental health tutor and achieve a professional training qualification. Mental health tutors carry out important work "show[ing] people the possibility of life beyond diagnosis."

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Hellblade leads BAFTA game nominations with nine nods

Horizon and Edith Finch not far behind.

Ninja Theory's self-published gamble, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, leads the nominations for the BAFTA video game awards 2018, with nine nods including Best Game. It's been a tremendous success for the British studio, with Hellblade winning both critical acclaim and bringing in more than half-a-million sales.

500,000 sales in 3 months: the risk Ninja Theory took with Hellblade paid off

500,000 sales in 3 months: the risk Ninja Theory took with Hellblade paid off

"We're now ready to face the next set of challenges."

The creative and commercial risk British studio Ninja Theory took by making and self-publishing Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, an action game with a deeply researched focus on mental illness, has paid off.

In three months the game has sold more than half-a-million copies and broken even and moved into profit, far quicker than Ninja Theory had originally hoped (the prediction was six months).

In that time, this 25 downloadable PC and PS4 game - which our Hellblade review deemed Essential by the way - raked in more than $13m. Not bad for a game which took 20 people three years to make - and that's precisely the point.

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All proceeds from Hellblade's sales tomorrow will go to UK mental health charity Rethink

Ninja Theory will donate all proceeds it receives from sales of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice tomorrow, October 10th, to UK mental health charity Rethink.

The donation is being made to coincide with World Mental Health Day, which this year is focussed on raising awareness of mental health issues in the workplace. To accompany its announcement, Ninja Theory has released a new Hellblade trailer, which includes messages from fans detailing their own mental health experiences.

Mental health is a key theme in Hellblade's narrative, with its traditional odyssey tale shown from the perspective of Senua, a traumatised Celtic warrior struggling with psychosis.

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Watch 10 minutes of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice gameplay

DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West developer Ninja Theory has revealed 10 minutes of gameplay from its upcoming viking action epic Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.

Hellblade follows the exploits of its titular heroine as she copes with her psychosis following a brutal battle. It seems that the war may be over, but the one in her head is just beginning.

As seen in this IGN video, Senua gets into bloody scrapes with mental manifestations of the warriors she encountered in previous traumatic experiences. Some ethereal voiceovers provide commentary on what's happening, suggesting that either Senua is physically resting up in a hospital somewhere or maybe these are her own inner monologues. Based on this out of context clip, it seems intentionally ambiguous.

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DmC: Devil May Cry developer Ninja Theory made waves last year when it showed off its incredible motion-capture tech, developed in Unreal Engine 4, that portrayed the titular heroine of its upcoming viking epic, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, rendered in real-time. We could see Senua rendered in-game while her actress, Melina Jeurgens, acted out the very same scene in a funny mo-cap suit beside the screen. Now, Ninja Theory is using this tech for the world's first real-time video Q&A with an animated video game character.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice sets release date and price

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice sets release date and price

It's "half the size of a AAA game, but sold at half the price."

DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved developer Ninja Theory's upcoming psychological horror viking epic Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is coming to PS4 and PC on 8th August.

Already available for pre-order on PSN, Steam and GOG, Hellblade will launch at the unique price point of 24.99 / €29.99 / $29.99.

If the price seems steep for a self-published independent game or worryingly inexpensive for a AAA blockbuster, there's a reason for that: Ninja Theory considers Hellblade is be an experimental affair with a smaller scope than most retail games but with the sort of high end production values and polish that rival anything on the market. Indeed Hellblade's motion-capture tech is top of the line.

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In the year since I played it, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice appears significantly improved. A steady stream of developer diary videos, the most recent published yesterday, show a game looking much more the blockbuster production British developer Ninja Theory is known for - no small feat for the studio's first self-published, smaller-team game.

DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved developer Ninja Theory has a tendency to shoot for the moon with its narratively ambitious roster of action games, and early impressions on its upcoming psychological viking adventure Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice have left our Bertie Purchese a bit skeptical of the studio's capacity to delve into the issue of mental illness in a sophisticated way. But holy cow do they know how to animate!

Ninja Theory announces new name for Hellblade

Ninja Theory announces new name for Hellblade

UPDATE: Watch lead actress motion-capturing Senua in real-time.

UPDATE 16/03/2016 6.35pm: Ninja Theory has revealed a stunning new video of Hellblade's lead actress motion-capturing heroine Senua in real-time.

That's right, when the actress contorts her face and body the character does like-wise on the spot. Earlier today at Epic's Unreal Engine GDC keynote we saw this being presented live (skip to the 42-minute mark for more).

"As far as we know, no one has done this with a character of such fidelity before," said Ninja Theory's product development ninja Dominic Matthews on the PlayStation Blog.

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Ninja Theory revisits Hellblade heroine Senua's face

Expressions and complexity "an order of magnitude higher" than anything studio has done before.

I had concerns about Hellblade after playing it at Gamescom. As an action game it was well short of what Ninja Theory did with DMC Devil May Cry or Enslaved or Heavenly Sword, and its portrayal of severe mental health issues was basic, however sincere - and applaudable - its intentions.

Ninja Theory's Hellblade also confirmed for PC

Ninja Theory's Hellblade also confirmed for PC

4K support and modding mooted.

Ninja Theory's upcoming third-person hack-and-slash game Hellblade will also launch for PC, the developer has confirmed.

Details of the PC version, as revealed by PC Gamer, include the possibility of support for PC mods and 4K resolution.

"I think PC offers us a level of freedom that we haven't had before," Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades explained.

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Ninja Theory unveils Hellblade

Ninja Theory unveils Hellblade

First to console on PS4. Rekindles memories of Heavenly Sword.

Ninja Theory has unveiled Hellblade, first to console on PlayStation 4.

The Cambridge studio behind Enslaved and Devil May Cry DmC announced the project with a trailer, below, that rekindles memories of Nariko, star of its PlayStation 3 exclusive Heavenly Sword.

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