Hellblade Isn't Tied to Heavenly Sword, Nor Is It a Spiritual Successor

Ninja Theory "loved making" Heavenly Sword, but insists Hellblade is "a brand-new IP."

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Ninja Theory's next game, Hellblade, is not connected in any way to one of the studio's first games, Heavenly Sword, despite the perceived similarities between the two.

Asked if Hellblade is tied to Heavenly Sword, Ninja Theory product development manager Dominic Matthews told Eurogamer, "No, it's not. It's a brand-new IP. Senua is a new character. It's not tied to Heavenly Sword at all. 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."

Hellblade was announced at Gamescom last week with the CG trailer above. Given the name, the look of the female protagonist, and the three key aspects of the game pointed out by Ninja Theory--"ninja-class melee gameplay, strong character stories, and a unique art vision"--it was easy to assume this was, at the very least, a spiritual successor to Heavenly Sword. But even that isn't the case.

"I wouldn't say it's the spiritual successor to Heavenly Sword, because that has certain expectations," Matthews said. "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."

In addition to Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Ninja Theory developed last year's Devil May Cry reboot. Hellblade will differ from those games in at least one key way, as it's being developed as a digital-only game that Ninja Theory will publish itself.

Hellblade launches first on PlayStation 4, but it does not yet have a release date.

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