Ninja Theory's Hellblade Deletes Your Save if You Die Too Many Times

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Ninja Theory's Hellblade Deletes Your Save if You Die Too Many Times

Hellblade is causing quite an uproar with a permadeath mechanic that deletes your save if you die too much.

Ninja Theory's newest game, Hellblade, launches today. For the people who are already playing it, there's a very interesting new mechanic included that is raising some eyebrows. If you die too many times, the game will delete your save, and you'll have to start over. We'll explain this, but it may include some spoilers - be warned.

The new mechanic works very simply. Early in the game, there's an unwinnable fight that results in Senua (the main character) getting her hands covered in a black rot. Every time you die after that moment, the rot moves up her arm. If you die enough times for the rot to reach her head, that's it. The game deletes your save, and you restart (or you vow to never play the game again, whichever is your style). There's no option to disable this mechanic, either.

The game does warn you that this will happen immediately after Senua is infected, and from all reports, it takes several deaths for the rot to reach Senua's head. That said, it could be incredibly frustrating if that final death came with just a few minutes left in the game's reported eight-to-nine hour length.

As you'd expect, the internet is weighing in, with some folks praising the decision to include a mechanic that emphasizes the game's focus on Senua's mental state, while others are calling it everything from a gimmick to a cheap way to extend the length of the game. Here are a couple of examples:

Hellblade is available now on PC and PS4 for $29.99. If you've played it, let us know what you think of the controversial mechanic in the forums!

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This is a cool mechanic but forcing it on players is not a cool thing.

Let it be a option and not forced. Not everyone has the time to replay a entire game because they cant beat the final boss in a limited number of tries.

Can you...like...fight against it? Its a lives system, but games with live systems have ways to ya know...get more lives. Is there a way to reduce the rot? If so then I guess its ok. If not though, and this game has a finite amount of lives per save, well, thats stupid.

Gee, what a clever fucking waste of player's time.

What the hell were they smoking?

Jim Sterling apparently died numerous times to the point of giving up, but never mentioned it deleting any file. Other outlets say the game is rather forgiving in the combat department too, with a last-chance mechanic and help with anybody attacking from the rear. It doesn't seem to have actually caused anyone any problems yet, so it's probably one of those Shenmue-like limits that you have to try pretty hard to break. I wouldn't recommend an impatient child play it maybe. Or maybe I would just to teach that little bastard some humility.

I like the idea but of course agree with others- this should be an optional mechanic. Not everyone wants that type of stressful, high stakes experience. I guess you could say "THEN DON'T PLAY THE GAME IF YOU'RE NOT 1337 ENOUGH" but come on... don't be that guy.

I'd be offended by this but I've had games like Steel Battalion delete my saves the first time I die.
....
Never got past that Battleship.

JUMBO PALACE:
Not everyone wants that type of stressful, high stakes experience. I guess you could say "THEN DON'T PLAY THE GAME IF YOU'RE NOT 1337 ENOUGH" but come on... don't be that guy.

You kinda hit it right on the head with your first statement there. Not every game is for every person. I personally don't like this mechanic and won't be buying the game because of it, but I respect the choice to include it as long as people are made aware of it before buying. I don't think it really has to do with being leet or not, I mean... I'm not going to go out and buy street fighter because I know I don't like the genre, and expecting it to cater to me specifically would be asinine.

Just beat it then.
Died probably about ten or so times and looked like i was close(-ish) to a game over.

The death mechanic was good in my playthrough. It made the whole game really stressful. It's like 8 hours all up and you don't really get game-y stuff, like better weapons or stats. So other than running through the story again it's not much of penalty.

Enjoyed it!

twcblaze:

JUMBO PALACE:
Not everyone wants that type of stressful, high stakes experience. I guess you could say "THEN DON'T PLAY THE GAME IF YOU'RE NOT 1337 ENOUGH" but come on... don't be that guy.

You kinda hit it right on the head with your first statement there. Not every game is for every person. I personally don't like this mechanic and won't be buying the game because of it, but I respect the choice to include it as long as people are made aware of it before buying. I don't think it really has to do with being leet or not, I mean... I'm not going to go out and buy street fighter because I know I don't like the genre, and expecting it to cater to me specifically would be asinine.

Yeah, you're right, no one is being forced to play the game, but it does seem a shame that someone who was looking forward to Hellblade might now be disappointed to learn it has a permadeath mechanic they aren't interested in. Ninja Theory has every right to design the game how they see fit as long as they're willing to deal with the consequences of alienating some people in the process.

Reads way gimicky. I also suspect it will lead more people to go through FAQs and playthroughs before they ever pick up the game to minimize the chance that they'll be "perma-killed", effectively diluting the experience.

It's a pity. A lot of what I've heard about Hellblade sounds interesting, but I'm less than fond of developers making players jump through this kind of hoop.

'Twould not surprise me if this "feature" were hacked out in short order.

I'm a fan of actions having consequences but deleting the whole save seems extreme. Maybe send back to the begining of a level, depending on checkpointing or losing experience/perks/pickups permanently if such a system is in place.

I'd assume that they've set the limit high enough people may only encounter it if they die on purpose lots or there's a way to get more lives as Saelune asked, rendering this a fancy viral marketting exercise, at least that's what the cynic in me says.

Well, people used to complain that video game death had no stakes...

Well, PC players probably just start making backups of the savegame folder then to get around this silly non-sense.

I do remember reading way back that this game is not meant to be fun and that it is going to be super stressful, so mission accomplished, I guess.

I'm honestly okay with it if that's what the devs are going for, and if it does take a lot of deaths to get to that point then I think I'm okay with it.

Gonna play it anyways since I'm stupid stoked about it.

lacktheknack:
Well, people used to complain that video game death had no stakes...

What?

You mean, that death in a game isn't just a mild inconvenience? What are you on about?

Okay

1/ not having it optional was a very silly idea.
2/ They better clearly warn this in big f***ing letters BEFORE you can click "purchase" because if they don't tell you this when it's too late to do anything about it then that's VERY silly.

Overall, it kinda killed the mild interest I had in this one... well done programmers.

Eh, just seems like a massive dick move to me. Forcing someone to start the whole game over again just because they hit some arbitrary number of failures? Really not cool

Good. It's an interesting mechanic that that forces you to stay on your toes.

Total Biscuit is a bitch and can go fuck himself

"If you die too much Hellblade deletes your save file. It's not an optional mode. It's an outdated, stupid waste of everyone's time.- John Bain (@Totalbiscuit)"

This!

If they had made permadeath optional, I would have bought it on release / full price (after some reviews), despite the length.
SOMA wasn't that long or replayable either but still worth buying on release.

Now, I rather wait for a Let's Play video.

Just wanted to say, checked the Steam store page.... nothing is mentioned about the save deletion system.

Pretty big difference to most games, should have warranted a FYI!! section.

I guess you guys haven't caught up to the train that's confirmed the permadeath is actually a lie that never happens in game, and that the corruption will actually just stop increasing/gets reset at set points in the game.

It reminds me of the ideas Kojima had about games that would destroy themselves when you died, or had to play it during daylight to make it easier. This seems forgiving by comparison... Of course, if he made it the whole world would be praising him for his creative genius.

So this isn't true? And total biscuit doesn't know what he's talking about? Surprise, surprise.

A shame, I like the idea.

You'd have to be a total shit player to reach a Game Over. Hellblade is easy, even on Hard. The attacks are so telegraphed. Scrubs shouldn't be playing action games. But the game's mediocre anyway.

All of you complaining about the perma-death?
Kinda whiny. The game gives you consequences, and for game that seems to be about more than the action, it's fitting.

Honestly if this is real, I'm even more interested in it than I was before. It's interesting, and not there just for punishment, probably,

A game with tangible, negative consequences for my actions, forcing me to take my choices and actions seriously, instead of being cavalier with the character's life because it's just a game right? Cool. I'm in favor of this.

Happyninja42:
A game with tangible, negative consequences for my actions, forcing me to take my choices and actions seriously, instead of being cavalier with the character's life because it's just a game right? Cool. I'm in favor of this.

I dunno, losing several hours of progress because I had a few problems with a specific encounter seems more like a big middle finger to me, where the game tells me that it doesn't want me to play it.
In which case, I gladly take action and not even buy it, either.

Fox12:
So this isn't true? And total biscuit doesn't know what he's talking about? Surprise, surprise.

A shame, I like the idea.

The game literally implies that it happens, so it's hardly his fault.

Veldie:
This is a cool mechanic but forcing it on players is not a cool thing.

First response and absolutely correct.

Let the distinction on how it was finished be made in the trophy/achievement section.
People who finish it without get the complete trophy, people who finish it active get the true completion trophy/achievement.
Maybe call it 'lights off' or something to tie in with the implied fear of the darkness.

I personally like it as a mechanic.
Pretty fond of permadeath modes in games that I play, but not at the expense of those gamers who I know do not appreciate it and would prefer to play without.

This is a spoiler, so I'll tag it appropriately, but apparently...

...Well, for the spoiler-averse folks - don't worry your heads about it too much.

It interests me that I learned this game even existed a few weeks ago, and while I appreciate the idea of the kind of game they wanted to make (both with this game and creating a place for these kinds of games in the industry) ultimately I've steered clear of it. Not due to this permadeath mechanic obviously, I didn't even know that was a thing until the day of release.

I'm avoiding it because while each review I've taken in has differed GREATLY on what the general plot/premise is even supposed to be every review does feature 2 things in common. They all showcase the most boring, simplistic, and repetitive looking combat the game could easily have nixed with no love lost due to the merits of its narrative. They also show off the constant voices in your head that I wanted to mute the reviews for because they were truly annoying even after a few lines. The puzzles also seem to consist of perspective puzzles the wouldn't make it into the tutorial of The Witness.

It looks visually great and the acting as well. However I don't even have the desire to WATCH a playthrough of it let alone buy it.

Bindal:

Happyninja42:
A game with tangible, negative consequences for my actions, forcing me to take my choices and actions seriously, instead of being cavalier with the character's life because it's just a game right? Cool. I'm in favor of this.

I dunno, losing several hours of progress because I had a few problems with a specific encounter seems more like a big middle finger to me, where the game tells me that it doesn't want me to play it.
In which case, I gladly take action and not even buy it, either.

I dunno, this seems right in line with the sadistic mentality of people who love the Dark Souls series, specifically because it's hard. As they would say "get gud". I don't mind the rule, and personally like it.

personally...I never like games that have permadeath...I always choose the difficulty setting to disable it (as all games that I have played with permadeath usually have it in the maximum difficulty setting...I;m looking at you, Doom)

The idea that this game would force it on you, seems unfair...putting easter egg hunters like me off from my favourite past time of exploring the map as I go. Its kind of a shame as the game itself looks fun...but with my current stress in my life, adding in worrying that my save could be deleted cause a certain boss keeps cleaning my clock would just make things worse...people are welcome to call me a try hard or something (I've heard all the insults that some players have for casual players like me) but...well you're welcome to a high stress game like this...

I think it's actually a cool mechanic, reminds me of Eternal Darkness when your console suddenly went to BIOS, reset, image inverted or a roach crawled into your screen...

In fact, a lot of this game seems to call back to Eternal Darkness, what with the sanity and meta-game psych-outs. It's only $30 on Steam so I think I might pick it up this weekend.

09philj:

Fox12:
So this isn't true? And total biscuit doesn't know what he's talking about? Surprise, surprise.

A shame, I like the idea.

The game literally implies that it happens, so it's hardly his fault.

You could always, you know.... Verify your facts before making an ass of yourself on Twitter.

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