Ninja Theory's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is set to arrive on the Xbox One and for the Xbox One X with special graphical enhancements and features this spring. In fact, the launch of the game is a heck of a lot closer than you might be thinking.
Destructoid is reporting that Hellblade will launch for Microsoft's console starting April 11th. The game will be available for $29.99 and pre-orders have already opened up that allow gamers to receive a 10% discount off the original price. Additionally, anyone who purchases the game during the first week of it going on sale for the Xbox One or Xbox One X, will also receive a 10% off discount, not unlike what many developers do when launching games on Steam for PC.
The game will also come with additional graphical enhancements for the Xbox One X version, with three enhancement modes that will be available right out of the gate, including an Enhanced Visuals mode that will allow you to play through Hellblade with higher visual effects and improved particle and volumetric effects that Ninja Theory used when designing the Unreal Engine 4-powered game.
The second enhancement mode is is the High Framerate mode, which allows gamers to play through Hellblade at an uninterrupted 60 frames per second. This is an option for gamers out there who prefer playability over pretty graphics. And, finally, for people who prefer pretty graphics over all other forms of playability, there's a High Resolution mode that allows players to experience Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice with upscaled 4K visuals in a dynamic 4K mode. This is similar to the checkerboarding technique used for many PS4 Pro games to achieve 4K resolution.
Ninja Theory originally released the game last year at the end of the summer for PC and PS4. The game was hailed as a AA title, because it was developed on a fraction of the budget of a typical AAA game. However, due to work with iKinema, Cubic Motion and 3Lateral, Ninja Theory was able to cut costs drastically on the cinematic-heavy game by conducting all of the performance capture in-house and in a real-time runtime environment of the Unreal Engine 4.
What this meant was that instead of having separate studios carry out the audio capture, the motion capture, and the animation clean-up, it was all done right inside of Ninja Theory's studio. And, instead of having the animations for Hellblade go through a multi-pass pipeline of several different middleware tools and animation outsourcing studios, the team was able to capture all of the performances inside of the Unreal Engine 4 thanks to an injector that was developed in collaboration with 3Lateral and Cubic Motion.
Epic Games took this breakthrough in performance capture running in real-time in-engine, and have expanded it for newer versions of the Unreal Engine 4, allowing artists and design studios to capture live CG-quality performances in real-time without having to pre-render the results. This means that games can now look on par with Hollywood films and transition from actual in-game play to cinematics seamlessly without requiring a separate middleware renderer or runtime environment.
Ninja Theory further cut costs by having their video editor, Melina Juergens, also star as the main character, Senua, in Hellblade. This allowed for lower overhead and reduced performance costs.
The team managed to recoup development costs and post profits shortly after the game released. Now Ninja Theory will be able to reach an even wider audience with the release on the Xbox One and Xbox One X.