Hellblade, the newest action/hack-and-slash game from Ninja Theory, released today boasting permanent, save-erasing death. Every time you die in Hellblade, the main character Senua “rots,” with a bit of blackness growing up her arm. The more she dies, the more that rot grows, and, if it reaches Senua’s head, she dies permanently, and your progress is lost.
Or so the story goes. You see, PCGamesN tested this claim and, after dying 50 times, the rot never reached past Senua’s elbow, until a pre-determined boss fight put it at her shoulder, not once resulting in permanent death or loss of save progress. Now, as most reviewers have noted, Hellblade isn’t very challenging, so the prospect of dying more than 50 times is dubious at best. So, if this “permadeath” does exist, you’d likely have to go far out of your way to actually achieve it.
In the midst of all this, while the controversy surrounding permadeath in Hellblade may be much ado about nothing, the developers of the indie game All Walls Must Fall, which just released on Steam’s Early Access program, certainly have taken notice of this controversy:
IF YOU WANT REAL PERMADEATH THAT INVALIDATES YOUR SAVEGAME YOU SHOULD GO PLAY #ALLWALLSMUSTFALL RUN OUT OF TIME RESOURCE AND DIE ONCE..
— All Walls Must Fall (@AWMFGame) August 8, 2017
There still could be actual permadeath that can reasonably occur in Hellblade. Perhaps permadeath was disabled for pre-release copies of the game to make it easier to review? Perhaps PCGamesN was playing on a difficulty that disables that mode or makes it completely unreasonable to achieve. Still, it doesn’t look good at this point and Ninja Theory has yet to respond publicly to this revelation. Depending on your stance on permadeath, this is either great news or terrible news.