The endless possibilities that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice opens up

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(Editor’s Note: This article was submitted prior to the game’s release but is being published now due to behind-the-scenes issues that stalled content-creation on the site. Just bear in mind that its content was meant for a week ago, before Hellblade was released!)

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is an upcoming story-driven action game that is being brought to us by the good people at Ninja Theory. It is being described by the developers themselves as an “independent AAA game,” meaning that even though it’s not created by a large studio like Naughty Dog or EA, it will have a similar level of production value.

It’s easy to see they aren’t lying after only a brief look at the game. The visual fidelity is nothing to scoff at — it could even rival game of the year competitor Horizon: Zero Dawn or the upcoming Uncharted: The Lost LegacySenua’s Sacrifice is incredible to look at; the team at Ninja Theory have really outdone themselves! Check it out for yourselves:

However, if there’s one aspect of this title that really seems innovative, it would be the main character and her struggles. Senua herself apparently suffers from psychosis. It’ll be very interesting to see how this game goes about dealing with such a delicate matter. Along with the game itself, there will be a roughly one-hour documentary that focuses on this issue and how the creators discovered all the necessary information in order to create the character of Senua and make her as believable as possible.

This could be make-or-break for the entire industry. In the best case scenario, which is honestly the general feeling that we as spectators are getting from this game, it could lead to a few great things. Firstly, it could make even hardcore gamers take a minute to look into and learn about psychosis and mental health in general, becoming invested in a true issue. That in and of itself would be a huge victory for the creators.

Secondly, if the people at Ninja Theory are successful in giving a message about psychosis through their game, then that would open up a door for other developers to focus on other such issues in their own titles. Even though some tend to dislike continuous subliminal messaging being thrown their way about what is or isn’t considered “right,” if done in a way that pushes the story of a game forward and emphasizes character development, then it can turn out to be a win/win situation for everyone involved.

However, just like with any other situation, we must consider the worst case scenario. If Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice ends up being a dud that only focuses on the main character’s psychological situation, rather than giving players a world they want to be in and a story worth sticking to the end for, then we will be talking about a missed opportunity. Or, even worse, if the issue of psychosis is not handled with absolute care by the developers, then it’s more than likely that journalists and websites all around the globe will tear them apart for their “insensitive portrayal of people with mental illness,” which could end up characterizing the industry as a whole.

The team at Ninja Theory are taking a gamble with this title, however they seem to be confident with it. They’ve taken it seriously, done all their proper research and treated it with the respect that it deserves. Now all that remains is to see what the final result is. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice really seems to be promising, no matter how you look at it!

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Alex Anifantis

Gamer from a young age, ever since my older sister introduced me to the worlds of Tetris and Super Mario. Self-proclaimed Final Fantasy fanatic, generally enjoy all JRPGs. The most important quality in a game to me is a good story.

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