Given how impressive Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was, it seemed inevitable that there would be a sequel. The game, despite being made independently by Ninja Theory, blew even the highest-budget games on the market out of the water in terms of graphical fidelity and storytelling. Microsoft realized this potential as well and purchased the studio to provide a bigger budget to the team for the eventual sequel and to secure it as a console exclusive for its then-unreleased Xbox Series X and S systems.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 was one of the earliest games shown off for the Xbox Series X and S, and was even initially thought to be one of the system’s launch titles. That didn’t come to pass, but the team has taken that extra time to craft this sequel into something that looks to be even more impressive than the original. Between the first Game Awards event where the game was announced and the latest footage we’ve seen, we have a very solid understanding of the important details surrounding this sequel. We have all the information you need to know about Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is set to release on May 21, 2024.
Being a first-party game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will launch exclusively on Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Game Pass and Steam.
It wasn’t until the 2021 Game Awards that we got our first good, extended look at Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, while the first trailer we got was more of a tone piece. In that initial reveal, we simply saw landscapes as Senua let out a guttural and off-putting chant and made distorted facial expressions while the imagery became more and more disturbing.
The gameplay reveal trailer gives a much more cohesive look at what the game will be. After some narration declaring war on the Gods, we come to Senua leading a band of warriors into a cave. As she gives orders to the others, we hear the familiar whispering voices in Senua’s head, pulling her in different directions and asking questions. She jogs in with the group, flaming torches and spears in hand, though Senua herself appears unarmed.
In the mist, something massive lurks and groans. She pushes on, voices warning that “death is coming,” and inspects skeletal remains littering the cave. A giant crawls ahead, appearing weak or tired. She tells her men to hold back until the giant rests against the stone wall. She takes a flaming spear from one man as another throws a container of black liquid, presumably oil, onto the giant. When the spear hits, it erupts into flame.
The giant groans as more spears fly, falling to the floor and kicking up a wall of dust. Senua, now alone, calls for her allies but is answered by one running from the dust engulfed in flames. A second appears but is splattered by the giant’s hand. She calls the giant’s attention to herself. It begins to reach for her, and Senua retreats, with more men behind her, readying and tossing spears.
They pelt and attack the giant all the way back out of the cave and onto the beach, but still it pursues Senua, who realizes that it is she that the giant is after. Eventually making it back behind a barricade, Senua screams to attack, but the giant swipes the defenses away. The giant reaches out and appears to ask for Senua’s help, who then utters, “I know you.”
Ninja Theory has been fairly tight-lipped about what the overall story of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will be, only that it aims to expand on the first game and continue to incorporate and shed light on mental health issues. It did confirm in the Xbox Games Showcase in 2021 that the game would take place in 9th-century Iceland and bring players across many miles of immaculate landscapes, which falls in line with the first game focusing heavily on Celtic culture and Senua’s home being Orkney in Scotland.
While not a trailer, Ninja Theory did put out a tweet showcasing the incredibly detailed and realistic face model for Senua in Unreal Engine as she delivers a chilling monologue.
— Ninja Theory (@NinjaTheory) March 22, 2023
Once again appearing at The Game Awards in 2023, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2’s next trailer featured Senua navigating various drab and dream-like environments. We see a bit of action, but mostly exploration and tone-setting with Senua’s monologue.
During the January 2024 Developer Direct, Hellblade 2 was shown off in the most extended trailer yet. We learn here that Senua’s quest this time is one of revenge. She is hunting down the Vikings who once conquered and enslaved her people in Iceland to take the fight to them.
The first Hellblade game focused on exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat. Neither element was especially deep nor challenging, especially the combat, due to the small budget and team. However, the game still shone thanks to incredibly impressive visuals, audio design that helped depict Senua’s psychosis, and the treatment of issues relating to mental health. Based on what we’ve seen, it looks like all of those positive notes from the first game will be back and better than ever, along with a more in-depth combat system.
Combat remains brutal, fast, and focused on small numbers. We’ve seen Senua face off against barbaric-looking foes with traditional weapons, as well as blowing fire. There are also more monstrous enemies again, but whether or not these are real or just a symptom of her mental struggles is unclear. While it may look similar, a completely new system was made for Hellblade 2. The main goal of encounters is to make players feel as though they’re just getting by, rather than being an overpowering force that can take on anything.
Psychosis will remain a key mechanic in Hellblade 2. Like the first game, Senua will see and hear things that may help or distract her, as well as play a role in puzzles and navigation.
There are no true preorders up yet for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, but, as with all Xbox first-party games, you can expect it to be released on Game Pass day and date with the standard release.
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