‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’ was inspired by Alex Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’

Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades said that Alex Garland's idea for 'Ex Machina' "struck a chord"

Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades has shared that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was chiefly inspired by Alex Garland’s sci-fi film Ex Machina, after Garland discussed his concept with Antoniades.

Speaking to NME, Antoniades said that he “learned to write” from working with Garland on Enslaved: Odyssey To The West, and credits the writer for helping to inspire Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

“Alex Garland had just told us about a concept that he had, which became the film Ex Machina. He said ‘there’s going to be three speaking parts, one location and a small team. We’re going to do it on a low budget and we’re going to make it look as good as we possibly can.’ That struck a chord with me,” explained Antoniades.

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“So for Hellblade I thought, right, let’s restrict it to one character; let’s use performance capture; let’s build our own stage to support that one character. We’ll have one environment artist, one character artist, one audio person, one of everyone – keep the team as small and tight as possible.”

Hellblade 2
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2. Credit: Ninja Theory

On the trials he faced before getting to make Hellblade, Antoniades said he had “no confidence in publishers looking after you” and, after several disappointing launches, the developer decided to do something completely different:

“I thought, let’s make something that looks AAA, but shorter, and we’ll sell it at half the price. And we’ll do it digital only. We had no data on digital at all, no one wanted to release on digital. So we had no idea whether it was feasible.”

Looking toward the launch of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, Antoniades said it will move away from “being a personal affliction for Senua,” and will instead examine “how a person like that can change the world”.

The sequel recently received new gameplay footage at The Game Awards 2021.

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In other news, Horizon Forbidden West is £10 cheaper if you buy it on a browser.

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