You’d be forgiven for assuming that when Ninja Theory revealed Hellblade at gamescom last week it was a sequel in all but name to Heavenly Sword. Well, apparently it’s nothing of the sort.
Dominic Matthews of Ninja Theory talked Eurogamer through it. “It’s a brand new IP. Senua is a new character,” he said. “It’s not tied to Heavenly Sword at all.”
The team is not keen on the comparisons that have been drawn. “I saw someone describe the name as someone just putting Heavenly Sword into Thesaurus.com and going, oh it’s Hellblade. It’s not something where we’ve gone, yeah, let’s make people think it is this. We really like Heavenly Sword. We loved making that game. So it’s actually more just we like making female protagonists that look in a certain style. And we like swords. And we like hell. It’s more that.”
Heavenly Sword was released exclusively on PlayStation 3 in 2007 to a middling critical reception. It starred Nariko, who used a sword to chop enemies into tiny pieces. Surely Hellblade is at least a spiritual successor?
“No. I wouldn’t say it’s the spiritual successor to Heavenly Sword, because that has certain expectations,” said Matthews. “I think it’s safer to say if people enjoyed Heavenly Sword, then the aim is they’ll enjoy Hellblade, too. If we said it was the spiritual successor, there would be an expectation there is a story link or a certain type of gameplay or level design. It’s a new IP. It’s a brand new game. It’s brand new characters. It’s a brand new world. It’s not linked at all. But if you like Heavenly Sword, like Enslaved and like what we did, then the aim is you’ll like this, too.”
Hopefully we’ll see more of Hellblade soon.