Hellblade was one of several new announcements during Sony’s press conference at Gamescom 2014. With a cinematic trailer only depicting a female warrior, developer Ninja Theory showed a style similar to what they used before.
During the clip itself, the company reminds its audience that it created Heavenly Sword and other titles. Naturally, this combination has people drawing similarities, but talking to Eurogamer, the company wants to clarify the two are not related:
It’s a brand new IP. Senua is a new character. It’s not tied to Heavenly Sword at all.
Dominic Matthews of Ninja Theory responds to feedback of people seeing Hellblade as an attachment of their previous title, since “heaven” and “sword” are respectively antonyms and synonyms of the new title. It’s not even a spiritual successor, as the developer claims:
If we said it was the spiritual successor, there would be an expectation there is a story link or a certain type of gameplay or level design. It’s a new IP. It’s a brand new game. It’s brand new characters. It’s a brand new world.
It doesn’t help that both characters in Hellblade and Heavenly Sword look alike.
Going further on their new project, Ninja Theory discusses going it alone on Playstation 4. Hellblade will be their first independent title, which comes with new challenges:
We’re still striving for super high production values, but in a shorter, lower-priced, digital experience.
Going for big tier titles would lock them to certain obligations. For instance, DmC and others were expected to sell millions, which is something that independent goals can temper:
The great thing is we find ourselves in a situation where digital distribution and self-publishing allows us to make something where we don’t have to pretend it’s for a massive audience.
Hellblade will make its way to Playstation 4 “first,” which could indicate other platforms later. It should be a smaller, but tighter experience than previous ventures from Ninja Theory.