Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was supposed to be out at some point earlier this year but it didn’t quite happen. The game at first had a tentative release date of a time earlier but they restarted the project with a small team in September last year and now they’ve announced that the game will be delayed into 2017.
The news came through a production update on their official YouTube Channel where they released a two minute video explaining that what they’re working on may help future development studios with performance capture and the Unreal Engine 4.
Ninja Theory designed a new way to integrate into their Unreal Engine 4 workflow pipeline other facial animation middleware suites from Cubic Motion and lighting tech from Geomerics’ Enlighten so that they could get real-time feedback from in-engine while capturing the performance of the actor. This new method allowed them to record high-quality performances without requiring a separate production studio or separate performance capture software.
It’s an impressive feat for such a small team and it could help pave the way in how future games go about capturing performances.
And even though the tech is really cool, I’m still having a hard time understanding what the gameplay scope will be for Hellblade. I tend to get the feeling that it may be a lot more linear and smaller than what some people might be anticipating – closer to the likes of a walking simulator with some hack-and-slash combat tossed in every once in a while to spruce up the gameplay.
If they’re gunning for a $60 price tag they may need to think about extending the gameplay options beyond a few linear pathways featuring minimal combat.
Anyway, given the small team working on Hellblade and the fact that another project they were working on ended up biting the dust earlier this year, Ninja Theory has delayed the release of the game for PC and PS4 further into 2017. They’ll likely offer another update soon after they accomplish another production milestone.