Today, developer Ninja Theory released a new developer diary video for its upcoming PS4 and PC game, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Additionally, the developer announced that the game is nearing completion and has entered its Alpha stage in development.
What this means is that for the first time the entire game is playable from beginning to end. However, as Dominic Matthews of Product Developments points out over on the PlayStation Blog, this doesn’t mean that the game is finished, as there is still a “huge amount of work to be done.” While some parts of the game are starting to look and feel just how Ninja Theory envisioned them, others are still only built to a basic level.
All of the performance captures scenes have been shot in its budget-built, in-house, mo-cap studio, and these scenes are now in the process of going into the game. All of the VO for the voices that follow you throughout Senua’s journey have been recorded as well. Further, it has all been captured binaurally so that when you hear them on your headphones you’ll be able to place the voices in the 3D space around you.
All of the game’s gameplay mechanics are also in, and are now being refined. Further, the combat system is complete and set for thorough play testing. Meanwhile, the puzzle experiences — which are based on its learnings of psychosis — are ready for a final art polish.
Ninja Theory’s vision for Senua’s movement are starting to be realized, with Matthews confirming that the team captured hundreds of bespoke animations in performance capture so that Senua moves and reacts realistically.
Lastly, most of the game’s music is complete and being mixed.
Matthews concludes the post with the following:
Two years of hard work by the Hellblade team is starting to pay off and we’re ready for the next stage: Beta. This is where we can focus on the player experience — looking at the game step-by-step, improving it along the way, honing how the game will look and feel to our players. It is at this stage that we will add a lot of the small details that make a big difference.
Beyond Beta, we will move into the final stage of Hellblade’s development: Mastering. It is in this stage that we will iron out any remaining bugs, ensure that Hellblade performs optimally on PlayStation, and prepare for launch.
We have a lot of work ahead and the team is putting all of our care into Hellblade to make it as special as it can be. We’re getting super excited about sharing Hellblade with you later this year and we look forward to bringing you further updates on the road to release.
As mentioned above, Ninja Theory has also released a new (the 26th) developer diary for the game, with this one focusing in on the game’s themes of Myths and Madness, as well as how Senua’s journey is intertwined with both her experiences of psychosis and Viking mythology.