Hellblade’s First Gameplay Trailer Deals With Hellish Mental Struggles

Hellblade, the upcoming game from DMC developer Ninja Theory, has today received its first gameplay trailer. The video makes it clear early on that everything featured is in fact in-game footage and running in real time.

The combat frames reveal that the camera placement will be behind Senua, which might take some getting used to. The enemies look quite horrific and frightening, which is great because then they fall nicely with the game’s horror aspect.

According to a new developer diary, our Celtic female warrior has been left traumatized following a viking invasion. Hellblade partially focuses on the mental health and strained psychosis of Senua, who manages to manifest hellish visions out of her own mental struggles.

In light of the game’s focus on mental health issues, Ninja Theory contracted a Psychiatrist and Professor of Health Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge, Paul Fletcher. He has been working closely with the developer and Senua, as she battles against an enemy of her own making.

“True understanding of mental health is not simply about books, lectures or verbal descriptions but from deeper engagement on all levels,” Fletcher told IGN. “Working with Ninja Theory has shown me the potential that gaming has for sharing in a character’s experiences and engendering empathy in ways that go well beyond those offered by simple academic descriptions. Maybe this approach will contribute powerful new ways of challenging stigma.”

Hellblade is in development for the PlayStation 4 and PC. It is currently pegged for a release in 2016. Today’s trailer is in celebration of the upcoming E3 2015 event, where Hellblade will be making an appearance. We’re looking forward to learning more about the game there.