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Hellblade's performance was boosted by optimizations made for the VR version

Members of the Ninja Theory dev team explore how tasking a small team with creating a VR version of Hellblade during development improved the graphics and performance of the original game.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice dev Ninja Theory announced today that it would be releasing a VR version of Hellblade for free to owners of the original. In a short video detailing the development of that VR version, Ninja Theory revealed that it had a small team working on the VR version while Hellblade itself was still in development. 

Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades talks more about that in the video above, but one interesting side effect of developing a VR and non-VR version concurrently was how addressing issues unique to the VR version was ultimately responsible for a performance boost in the non-VR version that released last year. 

“But the biggest challenge facing us by far was framerate, because if you couldn’t run at 90 frames a second on a very well specced PC for VR, this project didn’t have a chance to see the light of day," explains Antoniades. "We optimized the art, shaders, characters, landscape, post-processing effects, anything we could to get us to 90 frames per second. Including switching to a forward renderer. And we got there, but it took two years of hard effort. But it was worth it because the optimizations we did to the VR version of Hellblade also benefitted the non-VR version, which is why Hellblade looks so good and runs so well on reasonably specced PCs and consoles.”

The full video above offers a brief but informative look at how Ninja Theory approached some of the challenges that sprung up during development as well as clips of some of the VR experiments the team set up when exploring the tech.

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