Hellblade 2: Everything we know so far about the Xbox Series X sequel

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is in development at Ninja Theory, the Xbox Series X sequel to 2017’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Announced at The Game Awards back in 2019, Hellblade 2 remains a tantalizing prospect – both for fans of the original Hellblade, and for players eager to get a sense of how Unreal Engine 5 will deliver on Xbox Series X.  

Following the successful release of Hellblade, and the acquisition of developer Ninja Theory by Microsoft in 2018, our anticipation for Hellblade 2 is at an all time high. Updates from the developer throughout production, and the Hellblade 2 gameplay teases we’ve seen so far, paint a picture of a hugely expanded adventure – with care and attention paid to all areas. So join us as we explore everything we know so far about Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2.

Hellblade 2 release date

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Xbox Game Studios is yet to confirm a Hellblade 2 release date. It’s been a while since the release of the 2017 original, and with Hellblade 2 made official back in 2019, all signs from the studio point to this sequel being a far more expanded and detailed experience – particularly with respect to the tough issues portrayed throughout the first game. 

We might be waiting a little while for Ninja Theory to give us a Hellblade 2 release date. Back in June 2021, the studio gave us a development update for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 where it explained the game had yet to enter “full production”. Still, a lot can change in a year, so here’s hoping we will be reunited with Senua soon enough.

Hellblade 2 platforms

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

In a Hellblade 2 gameplay trailer released in 2021, Ninja Theory confirmed that the game will launch on Xbox Series X, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, meaning there is potential for Xbox One owners to be able to play Hellblade 2 via the Cloud Gaming service. As with all Xbox Game Studios releases, this also means that Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one. 

Hellblade 2 concept art

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Ninja Theory aren’t shy about sharing occasional glimpses at the development process, giving us insights into the production, and with our anticipation for Hellblade 2 at a pretty high level, these morsels are very welcome. In January 2022, the official Ninja Theory twitter account shared a piece of Hellblade 2 concept art, giving us another look at a potential location for the game. We see Senua standing on a cliff, overlooking a small settlement looking worse for wear. Smoldering fires sat next to crashing waves, a thin volcanic stream carving through the ground with beached boats littering the village. This looks like a rough place to be, and is that a massive knife next to Senua? 

Hellblade 2 trailer

Ninja Theory delivered an extended six minute Hellblade 2 trailer at The Game Awards 2021. The footage shared is evocative and powerful, showing Senua leading a group attempting, and by all indications, failing to trap a giant. Equally breathtaking and horrifying, we see the plan to set fire and spear the hell out of the huge figure unravel, as it crawls towards Senua, pounding and chewing her group as it goes. We have the return of some familiar elements from Hellblade, most notably the whispered voices swirling around the inside of Senua’s head, along with the sound of battle and fire, the audio is intensely effective. 

Hellblade 2 gameplay

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade was a third-person action-adventure game – it was tightly designed, with Ninja Theory focusing on just a handful of mechanics that were executed well. From what we have seen of it so far, the Hellblade 2 gameplay is set to offer more of the same. While Ninja Theory was once known for creating fast-paced action games – like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and DmC: Devil May Cry – Senua’s Sacrifice was more subdued, with a greater focus on considered storytelling and inner-turmoil. 

That could be set to change. In an interview with Vandal, combat designer Juan Fernández explained that Ninja Theory was ‘raising the bar” with respect to Hellblade 2 combat. He noted that development of the first game was completed by fewer than 20 people, and that Ninja Theory has drastically scaled up its production efforts for the sequel – as a result, we should expect the Hellblade 2 combat to have more depth, and for enemies to be more varied. 

Hellblade 2 story

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Ninja Theory is yet to reveal all that much about the Hellblade 2 story. So far, the studio has focused on the technology behind Senua’s Saga and the breathtaking locations it has been able to create – think back to that 2019 reveal, and it was all huge landscapes, swamps filled with skulls and bones, volcanic eruptions, sacrifices, and mass hysteria. That all said, story will no doubt be key to Hellblade 2. 

Because for all the praise on Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade, a huge portion of that was for the narrative, and the powerful message that Senua’s struggle and journey delivered. In the original we follow a solitary Senua, armed with the skull of her lover Dillon, desperate to reclaim his soul from Helheim and the goddess Hela. Through the course of the game we are shown flashes of back story, the relationships with Senua’s parents, her psychological struggles, as well as her village being destroyed by Norse raiders. At the climax we see Senua accepting her condition, embracing who she is; we don’t know where she is off to for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, but we’re eager to journey with her once again.  

Hellblade 2 Unreal Engine 5

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Very excitingly for Xbox Series X owners is the fact that Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is one of the first games for the consoles being built in Unreal Engine 5. It’s another indicator that Ninja Theory aren’t holding anything back for this sequel, and are going all out to create an adventure worthy of the new generation. Clearing up any doubts about its ambition, Ninja Theory founder Tameem Antoniades said that Hellblade 2 will make its 2017 predecessor “look like an indie game”. 

That’s a bold claim, but everything we have seen of Hellblade 2 in Unreal Engine 5 has been impressive. The landscapes look deeply detailed, the lighting and audio design is phenomenal, and the work Ninja Theory is doing with Senua’s updated character model, as it strides closer to photorealism, is worth paying attention to.

Hellblade 2 development

Hellblade 2

(Image credit: Ninja Theory)

Ninja theory has been transparent about the Hellblade 2 development cycle. From providing updates throughout its production to giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at its development – it’s why we understand if it takes Ninja Theory a little bit of time to deliver this one. 

In the developer update shared in June 2021, Ninja Theory mentioned that it was “building real costumes and scanning them in”. And then, later in September 2021, the studio shared a tweet (opens in new tab) detailing its photogrammetry efforts – showing those costumes being set aflame! Attention to detail like this, scanning in burnt and damaged costumes indicate that this is all going to look very authentic. 

Senua herself, actor Melina Juergens has given us even more detail, in a video of behind-the-scenes footage showing the grueling and intense combat training she’s been undergoing. In the original, the combat was relatively simple, so this is an encouraging sign that we’re getting an expanded and elaborate combat system. Hellblade 2 has been confirmed to be set in the stunning landscape of Iceland, and to create the required clouds to accompany those dramatic landscapes, Ninja Theory gave us a glimpse of the cloud forming technology they’re using to provide that foreboding atmosphere. 

Line break

Hellblade 2 is one of the most anticipated upcoming Xbox Series X games. For more from Microsoft Gaming, here’s a detailed breakdown of what every Xbox Game Studios team is working on. 

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