Ninja Theory Showcases Hellblade Combat
Details have surfaced on Ninja Theory’s new title Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice in a post on the Playstation blog. The people that brought you action games like Devil May Cry and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, is working on the combat of their new game to “bring through both character and realism in Senua’s (the protagonist) movement”.
Over six weeks the Hellblade combat team at Ninja Theory used a combination of motion capture stunts and hand-animation to achieve a more realistic flow in the movements of their new ARPG. Hiring stunt performers Cali Nelle and Chloé Bruce to perform a series of impressive physical combat stunts and combat manoeuvres and capturing them with a motion capture suit and camera. This provides the basis for the artistically realistic (if somewhat impressive) actions that Senua will be able to incorporate in combat as portrayed in this video .
The combat portrayed in the showcase is fluid but a lot heavier than in many other Action RPG titles. Unlike the break-neck speed of the combat in Devil May Cry, the combat in Hellblade is more akin to that of the Warner Bros. Interactive Batman: Arkham series, tactically waiting to counter your opponent before unleashing a barrage of hits of your own when you have the advantage. This being said, the game looks heavier than the Arkham games making for more cautious gameplay and perfect for those who employ a more defensive playstyle, as all hits feel like they do a lot of damage with an immense weight behind them.
The fighting will incorporate the expected manoeuvres; dodging, blocking and guard breaking as well as show off a multitude of attacks from leaping stabs to cartwheel kicks all making for a more cinematic gaming experience.
Though Senua will have many combat tricks to choose from, so will her enemies. The animation team has not just been working on the swordplay, as in the development video Senua is hit a few times to test the reaction animations and every time she looks hurt. In lieu of a hit point bar telling you the attacks have dealt damage the reaction animations make you feel the hit, sending the protagonist sprawling to the floor from any sufficient connecting blow which also gives the enemy the advantage.
Whilst no one can be sure what the final game will look and feel like, it is safe to say that the combat will be worked at with the intention of making combat feel weighty and life-threatening with hulking, brutish enemies bearing heavy weapons down on a young woman as she desperately tries to press any advantage she can get whilst fighting for her life.
Whilst this part of the team work on the combat the rest of the team work on the other areas of the game and development is still ongoing at a steady pace for the game’s projected release date of later this year. Needless to say, for all lovers of methodical combat in ARPGs, this may well be the game for you.