Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Breathing new life into the official site to support the enhanced version of this staggeringly beautiful 2017 classic

Ninja Theory


Set in a dark fantasy world inspired by Norse and Celtic mythology, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, released in 2017 was praised as a work of art and applauded for the way it tackled psychosis and mental health through it's titular character, Senua. 

Now, with the game grabbing new audiences and plaudits with its enhanced release on Xbox Series X, S and PC we were asked to give the official website an accompanying makeover - one in which would bring the world of Senua to life. We couldn't say no. 

Breathing life

The character of Senua is so iconic and the game itself has always been a best in class example of its use of facial motion capture. With this in mind we wanted to align to this and create immersion in the website experience by using depth maps to bring the original 2D art to life

The luminance values in our depth map allowed us to animated the 2D image to give the impression it existed in 3D space.

On site launch we then tracked this 3D map to the movement of the users cursor giving the impression that Senua’s face was following them. Spooky!

Senuas face as depth map
Senua face
screenshot of the home page

Fire, brimstone and WebGL!

To add further immersion and breath life into the site we used a WebGL particle system to animate fire embers which flickered and glowed into existence which in turn were overlaid on slowly animating atmospheric smoke.

Not one to rest on our laurels we then also utilised WebGL to create a spine like structure to hold the Development Blog articles, taking a fairly basic content type but giving it a unique twist.

The final ingredient was incorporating an immersive soundscape over the experience. Taken directly from the in-game audio track, these worrying internal thoughts and murmurs of Senua’s developing psychosis really helps ground the user in the world of Senua.

It's a wrap

We had so much fun re-imagining the new Hellblade website. Senua’s Sacrifice has always had a place close to our hearts and with the enhanced version of the game now winning over new audiences it was a pleasure to bring its official website on a par with what is a visually stunning and thought provoking game.

Senuas face as depth map
Senua face

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