‘Hellblade’ comes to VR, free for those who own the game on Steam

Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a disturbing portrait of mental illness and sorrow, and when played with headphones, its audio can make it feel like you’re truly living out a troubled warrior’s nightmares. If that isn’t immersive enough for you, however, you’ll soon be able to experience the full game in virtual reality.

Coming to HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on July 31, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition will be available for free to anyone who purchased the PC game on Steam already, and for those who plan to purchase it.

You’ll need a pretty powerful PC to run Hellblade in VR, with Ninja Theory recommending at least a GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, which typically sell for more than $500.

Ninja Theory actually began experimenting with virtual reality headsets in 2015 when it was developing the “vertical slice” of Hellblade, but the studio encountered nausea issues related to how the camera moved. A set of movement rules eventually led to a solution most were comfortable with, and the team got to work implementing it into the third-person action game — unlike some other VR adaptations, Hellblade will still be played with Senua on the screen in VR.

It took a team working at Ninja Theory two years of work to eventually achieve a 90 frames-per-second framerate on well-equipped PCs, which was the minimum the studio needed in order for the VR port to make sense. These optimizations also enhanced the traditional versions of the game on both consoles and PC, and it shows. If you’ve played Hellblade on a PlayStation 4, you know it’s one of the most visually stunning games on the system.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition won’t be coming to PlayStation VR. This is likely due to technical limitations of the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro, but Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Ninja Theory could have also played a role. Going forward, the studio will be able to develop titles with the financial backing of a giant company, which will likely lead to bigger and longer experiences. Before Hellblade, Ninja Theory had partnered with Capcom to produce DmC: Devil May Cry, but no plans for a sequel appear to be in the works.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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