In Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the visions that the main character experiences will blend traditional game animation with live-action sequences to convey her backstory.
In a recent Twitter post, developer Ninja Theory revealed that the budget for the game is so small that the artists could not create and animate additional characters for Senua to interact with. To overcome this issue, the team instead dressed actors in clothing and make-up similar to that found in the game and recorded the scenes in live-action before applying a range of post-processing techniques to ensure that the look of the scenes remains consistent with the gameplay. A visual representation of the process is embedded below:
— NinjaTheory (@NinjaTheory) 17 May 2017
This trick is just one of many that Ninja Theory has had to adopt in bringing the game to life, given the team’s desire to make a AAA game on an indie budget, and the developers have been remarkably open with fans during this process. Another such technique was to develop software that allows motion-captured acting to be readily useable within the game’s engine almost instantly. Despite the cleverness of the team, development on Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was set back last year due to internal issues caused by the cancellation of another game that Ninja Theory was working on.
The game adopts a mythical Celtic setting and follows Senua, a young warrior woman who suffers from serious mental illness, as she battles against both internal and external demons. To ensure a realistic and respectful portrayal of her issues, Ninja Theory has partnered with the Wellcome Trust and sever mental health professionals.
Although originally scheduled for release last year, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is currently on track to launch later this year on PC and PlayStation 4.