(Warning: This game deals with a lot of dark material and imagery for this game includes a lot of themes of torture, death, psychosis and gore. I have tried my best to avoid putting any disturbing imagery in this post or linking to any directly)
We’ve had numerous requests for comment on Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and to be honest it’s a complicated topic. It is true that it is a game that avoided various tropes that we’re told games need such as bikini armor, battle thongs, cleavage, etc But the outfit is still not on par with say Emily Kaldwen or Billy Lurk’s attire. (It’s still angering brodudes though)
It’s also a game where the much more important criticisms such as the handling of theme of mental illness and protagonist having locs (which Celts and Vikings did not have, which is why their descendants need various modern products to replicate them). So comparatively Senua’s attire not being terrible is minor.
The game is however is an interesting example of how even studios beginning with the noblest intentions can get pulled down by industry pressure and reliance upon media and societal standards. They started with:
They wanted it to be historical, but when it came time to find reference images… they didn’t exactly cite what I could call historically robust sources:
When it came time to scan a body for the 3D model of Senua, they went with a fitness instructor, who also happens to do modelling. She she did end up half of the things that the original vision promised she would not be, and her attire was designed more around modern fashion ideals than her origin.
The fact that it stands out to so many people as so different and that the developers felt they only had the freedom to do this much by avoiding signing on a publisher really says a lot.