I don't have footage of my experience with rot other than the image above from way after my seven deaths and, once I completed the game, the only option at the start menu is to start anew again. Regardless of your stance on permadeath, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is available now for PlayStation 4 and PC. From a fight that you cannot win at the beginning of the game, the protagonist will have in her hand a black mark. As described by PCGamesN, the permadeath mechanic is a "bluff" and the game does not erase players' save data. If a player dies too often it's back to the start for another attempt. If you die enough times for the rot to reach her head, that's it.
Hellblade is all about fear, so why not give players something to be afraid of?
Part of developer Ninja Theory's goal is to have players experience what it's like to be Senua, a Celtic warrior with psychosis who believes she is traveling into the Viking underworld of Hel to find the soul of her dead lover. However, we do feel that it is something that Ninja Theory should have spoken about openly prior to the game's release today, or made a more substantial effort to get the message out there.
There still could be actual permadeath that can reasonably occur in Hellblade.
Hellblade is causing quite an uproar with a permadeath mechanic that deletes your save if you die too much. There's a new game on the block that takes the consequences of failure even further than FromSoft's mindlessly pummelling you with swarms of undead creatures.
Now that would make players be really really careful about not dying in Hellblade.