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Oct 13


Hellblade Dev Diary: Creating the World


Dominic Matthews's Avatar Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 // Product Development Ninja, Ninja Theory

Hellblade on PS4

Hello, Dominic Matthews here from Ninja Theory. I wanted to come back to PlayStation.Blog to share our latest development diary with you and to also give an update on how things are progressing with the creation of our new PS4 title Hellblade.

Back in August we announced Hellblade at PlayStation’s Gamescom Press Conference, which at the time was just 4 months into development. By traditional standards, we were announcing the game incredibly early in development. The reason for such an early announcement is that we want to share as much of Hellblade’s development with you as we possibly can.

Hellblade on PS4

Hellblade on PS4Hellblade on PS4

The standard approach is for games and their development to be hidden away, with details slowly drip fed to players very carefully and slowly over time. But we want to do the opposite. We announced early so that we could start sharing our development approach, creative exploration and decision making from the very beginning. Since Gamescom we’ve been updating our site with regular development diary videos, blog posts, concept art and live streams. We’ve released three development diaries to date, focused on the announcement trailer, Hellblade’s art inspiration and the game’s protagonist, Senua, respectively.

Today, I’m very pleased to be sharing with you our very latest development diary, No. 4: Creating the World. This episode focuses on the approach that we’re taking to create Hellblade’s world with just one Environment Artist and the artistic vision behind it.

The Hellblade team, which consists of 13 people, is currently embarking on the prototyping phase of development. In prototyping we’ll be exploring game mechanics, art styles, and technologies. Despite the small team, this is probably our most ambitious game yet. We are leaping into the unknown and overturning much of what we know about game making to make Hellblade play, look and feel special.

Thanks a lot for reading, I hope to come back soon, but in the meantime I hope you follow our journey, get involved in the discussions and let us know what you think of our work so far. The journey is very much a part of the Hellblade experience.

//Add Your Own



+ Vcheese on October 13th, 2014 at 8:39 am said:



+ CaruthK on October 13th, 2014 at 8:51 am said:

I want to play this game ASAP…


+ saab01 on October 13th, 2014 at 8:53 am said:

Looking great enjoyed all of your games. Hopefully soon we can start seeing some more pictures of the environment and more pictures of the world and surroundings.


+ BearAntlers on October 13th, 2014 at 8:54 am said:

Very cool. Thanks for the update.


+ PanTheMan16 on October 13th, 2014 at 9:09 am said:

You guys really do make some of the best games, but I worry that there are going to be missed opportunities here with only one person creating the world, no matter how skilled he is. You explained that budget is limited, but I can’t understand why Sony isn’t being more helpful – if at all – after you have brought them/us outstanding and memorable games like Enslaved and Heavenly Sword. Dan shouldn’t feel the need to use procedural tricks and reuse things.

Sony, give this studio some funding and get Dan some help! Coming from Ninja Theory, Hellblade has the potential to be one of the best games of this generation.


+ PanTheMan16 on October 13th, 2014 at 9:13 am said:

Worries aside, I thank you for sharing this information and dev diary with us. Gamers love to see this kind of progression and dev diaries are always exciting to watch. I hope this all goes well for you and becomes a great success. Perhaps then you can reconsider an Enslaved sequel. ;)


+ ElektroDragon on October 13th, 2014 at 9:15 am said:

I would buy an Heavenly Blade HD Remaster. Especially since you never went back and added Trophies.


+ Teflon02 on October 13th, 2014 at 9:22 am said:

Sounds great, but now I know we ain’t getting this till fall next year at earliest :(


+ morningdrive on October 13th, 2014 at 9:24 am said:

@elektrodragon i think you mean Heavenly Sword :p


+ Eberstar on October 13th, 2014 at 9:29 am said:

I’m impressed. Doing this much with such a small team. IF they can pull this off it will send a message to development studios about the quality of their work.
And to publishers about who they back.


+ SeanStrange on October 13th, 2014 at 9:34 am said:

Really can’t wait for Hellblade! It looks phenomenal.


+ megacarlos on October 13th, 2014 at 9:35 am said:

want to see gameplay I hope its like heavenly sword


+ mikemill on October 13th, 2014 at 9:53 am said:

This looks awesome. I have been a huge fan of all of Ninja Theory’s games. Sony really should partner with them on this project and make it a PS4 exclusive and get them greater resources.


+ SureBigBuster on October 13th, 2014 at 10:43 am said:

Really looking forward to this game. It has all the ingredients to be a masterpiece. Can’t wait!


+ MakoSoul on October 13th, 2014 at 10:43 am said:

Oh man, this is one of the PS4 games that I am most excited about. However, it is odd to hear Sony isn’t offering more support.


+ KazeEternal on October 13th, 2014 at 10:44 am said:

So there are no designers? Its all art?

I’m a bit concerned. Are these artists taking gameplay elements into account? A game is more than just battling through pretty vistas, interaction is important with the environment…… Puzzles?

This game looks like it’ll be very pretty, but weak gameplay is what hurt Heavenly Sword.


+ subsamuel01 on October 13th, 2014 at 10:45 am said:

Enslaved, DmC and Heavenly Sword were great games, looking forward to playing Hellblade when it comes out.


+ CaptinRoundHous3 on October 13th, 2014 at 10:47 am said:

This game is really looking pretty incredible. I love Norse mythology. definitely one of my favorite time periods. Want it!


+ D-Squad3 on October 13th, 2014 at 10:48 am said:

Huge Ninja Theory fans, I love hack n slash games, hopefully this will have that type of gameplay. Only 13 men team, I feel like this game is a ways off before its release. :(


+ Nazotchi on October 13th, 2014 at 10:52 am said:

Love these developer-centric videos. It’s great to see a small team find creative ways to get the most out of their project.


+ ultimatepunchrod on October 13th, 2014 at 11:46 am said:

I’ve been a huge Ninja Theory fan since Heavenly Sword and you guys have improved with each new game. I’m so ready for this.


+ Matrix_Lion on October 13th, 2014 at 11:57 am said:

Ninja Theory thank you for this one.


+ PiotrRasputinBR on October 13th, 2014 at 12:09 pm said:

A kidney for a Heavenly Sword sequel!!!!!!!!!


+ Skater_Ricky on October 13th, 2014 at 12:11 pm said:

Excited for #Hellblade to be complete. Take your time and get it right. I’m excited for the open world and to explorer each corner of the land. Hope great ideas are forged into this game.

Would of been nice to have a larger scale Environment team but as long as the design and layout’s are right everything will follow. Looking to buy this game when it’s finished.

Excited to see more video’s like this. Keep pushing the limit’s team NinjaTheory. Keep close to the community as well for idea’s. We got your back.


+ Rezolution77 on October 13th, 2014 at 12:44 pm said:

+1 to post #5 & #7.
Maybe you should allow Sony to put the original PS3 version on PSN.

I know I have been waiting for it, after losing my last retail copy. It would be a keeper, alongside of Enslaved.


+ Rezolution77 on October 13th, 2014 at 12:46 pm said:

Sorry was referring to a digital copy of Heavenly Sword.


+ gialavva on October 13th, 2014 at 12:59 pm said:

buenas gaste $120 y no me dieron los $15 cuando es que se los dan a uno xq no me an dado nada ni x mensaje ni al email


+ gialavva on October 13th, 2014 at 12:59 pm said:

alguien sabe algo o le a pasado algo parecido


+ Welmosca on October 13th, 2014 at 1:01 pm said:

Hey pretty cool…I’m looking forward to see some gameplay of this game….I hope it turns out as a damn great hack n’ slash….and continue posting dev diaries.


+ rmellison on October 13th, 2014 at 1:13 pm said:

This looks great! I love the approach they have to this game and how they reveal things in a development diary. Major Kudos!


+ Amnalehu on October 13th, 2014 at 1:40 pm said:

I have no idea why I needed to enter my date of birth to watch the video but the game surely has my attention now!


+ Arcell_Garza on October 13th, 2014 at 3:00 pm said:

Guess I’m the only person here who isn’t a huge Ninja Theory fan. I’ll give it a shot like everything else but I’m not getting my hopes up.


+ Astroking112 on October 13th, 2014 at 3:07 pm said:

Former unrelated game:
– Chinese themed
– Girl wielding powerful sword
– Crazy sister
– “Heavenly Sword”
– Character dies
– Celtic themed
– Girl wielding powerful sword
– Character looks almost exactly like a certain sister
– “Hellblade”
– Character trying to revive someone(?)

How is this NOT Heavenly Sword II? I’m sorry, but this just reminds me of what should’ve been.


+ Insomnia999 on October 13th, 2014 at 4:54 pm said:

Dev diary’s during development are very insightful!


+ spacemonkeyham on October 13th, 2014 at 5:07 pm said:

Seriously looking forward to this one!


+ tondah on October 13th, 2014 at 5:59 pm said:

Looks good so far, a few questions though: is there any way to allow open-license style assistance? I imagine there are hundreds of talented folks out there (not me unfortunately unless you want story/gameplay advise) that would be able to/willing to provide design and artistic assistance at no cost. Sure, it wouldn’t all be perfect, but you could have a huge resource sitting right in front of you just waiting to be utilized. Not to mention the fact that gamers would undoubtedly be interested in at least trying out a game made in an unorthodox manner. Or I’m wrong but whatev…


+ stalepie on October 13th, 2014 at 8:06 pm said:

Cool to see a graphically impressive game done with such a small crew. It’s looking really promising so far.


+ LFDN on October 13th, 2014 at 9:12 pm said:

I know Sony and Ninja Theory hasn’t been real friendly since after Heavenly Sword, and them parting the way they did, however, I believe this project could be the link that brings them back to friendly terms. Sony should really think about helping them on this project. Who knows if things go well we might actually get word on a new Heavenly Sword game.


+ Pendharker on October 13th, 2014 at 9:21 pm said:

I’m an ENORMOUS Heavenly Sword fan. It’s still one of my all-time favorites. I love how the name of this game is antithetic to Heavenly Sword. Also, the face paint on the protagonist is reminiscent of Kai’s. I hope there are several throwbacks or direct links to HS in this title, but I am already VERY excited to play this title for what it offers all on its own.


+ finaler on October 13th, 2014 at 10:03 pm said:

It’s pretty interesting to see professionals working with Unreal Engine. Looks like a nice world so far. Interested to see how it ends up being since the world is created first.


+ Elvick_ on October 14th, 2014 at 8:37 am said:

Are you going to ignore that this is just Heavenly Sword 2 and Kai by new names or…


+ YungShep on October 14th, 2014 at 9:45 am said:

just throw Heavenly Sword 2 on this already, lol. i get it…


+ Welmosca on October 14th, 2014 at 1:04 pm said:

@ 32 Arcell_Garza – I’m not their fan either…the only really good game they made was Enslaved,and it wasn’t enough to become a fan….but I’m expecting great things from Hellblade.

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