In a recent, since deleted, post on Twitter, Ninja Theory, the developer behind Heavenly Sword and DMC: Devil May Cry, stated they were retiring the recently revealed vertical slice of their next game, Hellblade, and starting ‘afresh.’
A PS4 timed exclusive with a planned eventual PC release, Hellblade is a third-person hack-and-slash game meant to explore mental trauma and PTSD through the lens of a young Celtic woman, Senua, following Vikings raids of her home.
With the game scheduled for a tentative 2016 release date, the Twitter post made many fans immediately fear the worst, that the less than spectacular reception of the early footage at E3 had caused problems in the ongoing production of the game. Responding to fan concerns however, Ninja Theory claimed the post was misunderstood.
Taking again to Twitter, “Retiring our vertical slice and moving on into production is good news. It is not starting again, it is moving forward as expected.” As for the game’s release schedule, speaking with Gamespot, Ninja Theory stated Hellblade was “absolutely” still on track for a 2016 release.
Further reassuring fans, the developer continued, “No, Hellblade has not burnt to the ground. We’re just getting the fire started.”
Explaining further with a post on the game’s website, “The vertical slice is an industry-wide practice that serves to explore ideas and test them out to see if the game you have designed on paper works in practice. Once a vertical slice is complete, we take time out to consolidate our findings and plan the rest of production. We have completed our consolidation phase and just begun production of the game proper. So what happens to the vertical slice once you start production? You throw it away. Always.”
All throughout production so far, since the game was announced at Gamescom 2014, Ninja Theory has been much more open than most about Hellblade’s development than most, with numerous blog post and developer diaries. Speaking to this, the post offers, “Few developers [are open about development] as so many things can and do go wrong along the way, and there is always the risk that you will be judged against other games that are near-finished, but we feel confident the benefits of being open outweigh any bumps along the way.”
Not too long ago, rough footage of Hellblade gameplay was released, which you can find below. For more on Hellblade keep checking back right here on Gamespresso.