Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the latest game from Ninja Theory, just released today, and fans are already up in arms about one major point: the game’s so-called permadeath. As testing shows, though, it may all just be an elaborate hoax.
Minor spoilers follow below.
Early on in the game, protagonist Senua loses a fight, which results in her arm being covered in tendrils of black rot. And, as the game warns, “The dark rot will grow each time you fail. If the rot reaches Senua’s head, her quest is over. And all progress will be lost.”
The message is pretty clear—it’s a warning that if you die too much, your save file will be deleted. Since the game is roughly eight hours long, that’s a terrifying prospect for a lot players. That’s a lot of progress to lose, and players and critics have been debating the merits and detriments of such a system.
PCGamesN, though, went one step further and decided to run a few tests to see just how many deaths it would take to trigger a save file wipe. And, as its video shows, the results were unexpected: the entire permadeath system is just a hoax.
As it turns out, the progress of the rot up Senua’s arm is capped depending on how far through the game you are. If it’s maxed out, the game will erase a bit and then add it back upon death, giving the illusion that the rot is continually spreading. In reality, though, the rot will never reach Senua’s head—and thus, your save file is in no danger.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is out today for the PlayStation 4 and PC. For more thoughts on the permadeath system, be sure to check out our own Mollie L. Patterson’s review.