- Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is a highly anticipated sequel that has been in the making for 5 years and will be a digital-only day one Xbox Game Pass exclusive on May 21, 2024.
- The game’s unique blend of historical realism and surrealism creates a distinct story tone and visuals, with a focus on Senua’s journey of revenge, redemption, and sacrifice in the late 8th century Celtic and Norse cultures.
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was praised for its thoughtful portrayal of the main character’s psychosis, using dynamic audio techniques to immerse players in the disorienting experience. The sequel will continue to explore Senua’s mental state and her encounters with mythological and realistic elements, including confronting Vikings in Iceland.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is the anticipated followup to the 2017 game, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. First announced back at The 2019 Game Awards as one of Xbox Game Pass’ earliest featured exclusives, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, from studio Ninja Theory, has been 5 years in the making. Following a number of developer diaries that were produced during the course of its progress, the sequel was recently given a firm date at the Xbox Developer Direct showcase along with the most in-depth look yet at some of its aspects, highlighting some of what fans can expect from Hellblade 2.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice surprised and stunned many audiences with its incredible and well-researched depiction of a main character who experiences a form of psychosis and personal trauma in the early medieval period, specifically in the Celtic and Norse cultures and landscapes. While this general framework may invite surface comparisons between Hellblade and the recent God of War titles’ story and setting, some of which might be fair, Hellblade is also quite distinct from GoW in many notable ways; not least of which is its melding of realistic historical accuracy and informed artistic liberties regarding its vision and version of the time as related to the central character and her journey.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice took home multiple awards at the 2018 BAFTAs, including Artistic Achievement, Best Performer, and Game Beyond Entertainment. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is confirmed for May 21, 2024, as a digital-only day one Xbox Game Pass exclusive.
Hellblade 2’s Historical Setting Explained
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will be set in a location rarely seen in historical games, and will likely hold many surprises in the sequel.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2’s Mix of Historical Realism and Surrealism, Explained
Hellblade’s Setting, Story, and Style
Taking its core narrative components from period mythology and its peoples, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is one of a number of games inspired by folk tales that use their existing details and the knowledge of the events of the late 8th century to create its world. Senua herself is a Celtic warrior whose lover and fellow tribe members were killed in a raid on her village by Viking “Norsemen,” setting her down a path of revenge, redemption, and the titular sacrifice. Along the way, Senua battles not only physical threats but with her own psyche as well, as she grapples with her grief and desire for vengeance.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was praised for its thoughtful and considered depiction of a character afflicted with psychosis. The studio consulted experts on the subject as well as people diagnosed with the condition to find a realistic and relatable balance. Contributing to this, one of the most striking design elements in Hellblade was its use of dynamic audio. By incorporating and focusing on binaural sound engineering techniques, Ninja Theory did a commendable job of attempting to recreate and impart some of the sensations persons with psychosis experience within a video game, aiming to immerse players in the resulting sense of disorientation that accompanies them.
How Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Will Continue Its Surrealistic Historical Tale
Since Senua sees the world in a much different way than most, her methods of processing and internalizing her experiences align more closely in this case with a surrealistic presentation. Following her struggles in the first game, Senua understands herself and her condition better. This, combined with Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2‘s grounding in the real-life elements of the era and filtered through the lense of mythology, uncannily blurs the line between them, creating a unique story tone and visuals. Studio Scriptwriter and Performance Capture Director, Lara Derham, explained in the January 2024 update:
“In the story we’re trying to be as faithful to history as we can up to a point…establishing a solid framework and then building more surreal elements on top.”
In the sequel, Senua will endeavor to track down the Vikings who pillaged her home and confront them. Ninja Theory has highlighted how Senua will be heading to Iceland to accomplish this, noting that she will be facing Giants who are ravaging the land, as well as other fabled figures and interpretations of the source material matched to more realistic portions. In addition to Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2‘s new combat mechanics, players can look forward to joining Senua in a tale that blends fantastical fiction and historical accuracy.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
- May 21, 2024
- Xbox Game Studios
- Unreal Engine 5