Games these days can present combat systems that force players to gain experience points in order to unlock certain combat moves, while others remove the barrier of grinding to experience more dynamic combat. Ninja Theory is a studio whose games pride themselves on stellar combat, so where will Hellblade fall between these two types of games?
Ninja Theory has a very clear vision of what they want players to experience and how they can experience it. Creating a combat system where people would have to grind to unlock moves isn’t something the studio wanted. In an interview with PlayStation Access, Dominic Matthews, who works on product development at Ninja Theory, explained why they love the idea of players having all combat moves available to them from the start.
“We are taking a lot of inspiration from one on one fighters. We really like the idea of there being an entire move-set that is available to the player from the beginning. We wanted to do a similar thing in Hellblade where everything is there for you to explore and to experiment with. Fighting games are super, super technical and there is a lot of complexity and trying to work out your opponent. We want Hellblade to have that same kind of feeling. It’s why we’ve got for a camera that is very much over the shoulder of Senua,” Matthews said.
Making the decision to lend Hellblade’s combat system to players right off the bat is a very interesting one. Hellblade clearly seems like it will be a game for players to master and learn about. Often times, when a game employs this type of system it leads to a far more rewarding and satisfying result for players.
The enemies players will face in Hellblade are going to be varied and will be thoughtfully put into the game. Hellblade is not aiming for a massive amount of enemies just for the sake of doing so. Matthews explained why Ninja Theory is going for quality more than quantity in the game’s enemies.
“We want [Hellblade] to feel like every fight matters, like every fight is really meaningful. It’s going to be you, as Senua, against one, two or three enemies. We’re not talking about hordes of 10 or 15 enemies at once, it’s about taking on a small number of enemies, while being really tactical. [Combat] is about having moves available to you, but rather than unlocking new moves, [combat] is about mastering the system that is there,” Matthews said.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to develop a combat system, but Ninja Theory is certainly taking a stand on the type of combat they want their players to participate in. Hellblade is currently lining up to debut on the PS4 and PC, with no exact release date being listed yet.