Ardent fans of the Devil May Cry franchise will know all to well that Ninja Theory know a thing or two about hyper-kinetic combat systems. After all, the England-based developer created battle mechanics that were as fluid as they were rewarding in its well-received reboot of Capcom’s demon-slaying series, and it’s a trait that the studio will hope to continue with Hellblade — an action-adventure title steeped in Celtic mythology.
Currently, Ninja Theory’s third-person game is still incubating in development, but that hasn’t prevented the studio from educating us about Hellblade, with the latest dev diary placing a particular emphasis on combat and controls.
“At its core Hellblade will have a hardcode battle system, one that is entirely skill-based and one that the big triple-A studios tend to shy away from in the pursuit of mass appeal. Just like one-on-one fighting games, the controls should be dead simple, lighting fast, but there should be endless nuance in the way you play the game.”
Back when it was first unveiled, many assumed that the new IP was in fact a successor to PlayStation 3-exclusive, Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory’s 2007 hack-n’-slash title). Alas, Hellblade has been billed as a different beast, though given that this is an all-new property for the company, we’ve learned that the game will have to sell close to 300,000 copies to cover the cost of development.
It’s an overhanging cloud that puts NT in a precarious position, but if the studio’s prestigious track record is anything to go by — one which also encompasses the multi-platform Enslaved: Odyssey To The West — then Hellblade should have no trouble carving out an audience of its own.
At this early stage in development, Ninja Theory has only announced plans to bring Hellblade to PlayStation 4, though it appears as though the studio could open up the Celtic-infused title to other platforms in the months after launch.