The sequel to Hellblade will again take place in Iceland’s 9th Century, and a recent developer’s diary revealed that Senua was apparently going to travel hundreds of miles across the country.
The first Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II trailer made its surprising appearance at The Game Awards back in December 2019 alongside the Xbox Series X update. It’s unclear which way Ninja Theory is going to take Hellblade II, but we’re more than excited to see Senua back in action.
We all know that Ninja Theory had a very different kind of heroin in mind for Senua. They enlisted the aid of the Wellcome Trust, a healthcare company in the United Kingdom that provided a grant to the studio. Their goal was to represent psychosis, a condition in which people see things that are not actual, specifically through Senua’s adventure.
The result was a brilliant game. In it, Senua sets out on a journey in the 8th century, after Vikings raided her village and killed her love. She hopes to redeem the soul of Dillion by going to the Norse version of hell, Hellheim, to confront the goddess of the underworld, Hela. She is afflicted by her own inner darkness, and in the game it reveals itself as externally focused visions.
The coming sequel manages to take things even further, using next-generation hardware to make Senua’s next descent to Viking Hell is as breathtaking as it is wild.
When is Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II Released?
Hellblade II is expected to launch on the holidays of 2020 for the next-generation Xbox Series X game console. But since we didn’t see any gameplay during the showcase event, Microsoft has confirmed that there’s no schedule for this game yet. It was in 2018 that Microsoft bought Ninja Theory.
Xbox has previously stated that gamers don’t have to upgrade to new hardware for at least two years, as all games within that timeframe will be available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X. And since Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II launches on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC, that might give us an idea of its release window.
What is Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II about?
In a production video, Ninja Theory co-founder and Hellblade creative director Tameem Antoniades said he wanted a break after the launch of the original Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It features the lead character of Senua in a groundbreaking depiction of mental illness. In last year’s teaser video, we saw that Senua, in Hellblade II, had gone deeper into her personality as an aggressive warrior, as opposed to the quiet and reserved person she had started out as in the early part of the game.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is a sequel to a game called Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which followed the Celtic warrior as she fought her way through Viking Hell to save the soul of her dead lover. Not much is known about this follow-up, but the well-received portrayal of Senua’s psychosis, as well as more exploration of the Norse and Celtic culture, is expected to continue.
The game was also designed using next-generation hardware, so the trailer depicts the game will likely be technically interesting and graphically incredible. The first game was about Senua accepting losses and coming to terms with her demons. We ‘re assuming that the second game would be about her trying to struggle with her psychosis, which will take us to a lot of mythological settings in the north.
Ninja Theory co-founder and Hellblade creative director Tameem Antoniades went on a trip to Iceland and fell in love with the location as the setting for the sequel. He took the team on a tour and brought along Melina Juergens, the actress who plays Senua. The team met Quixel, who captures scenes and turns them into graphics that can be used in a video game.
With the aid of Saga Film and Ninja Theory’s audio team, the developers are using real-world locations and their corresponding soundscapes to capture life-long experience in their sequel film. The band that collaborated with them in the first game, Heilung, also traveled with the band and helped to imbue ancient ritual music in these different locations, taking these realistic approaches only a step further in engineering an experience unlike any other— not to mention the streamlined assistance that will come later in the development process thanks to Quixel’s environmental asset scans and Unreal Engine 5.
Antoniades says it best himself:
“So the goal from here now is to capture that sense of awe and epic of Senua’s journey as she travels hundreds of miles seamlessly across Iceland and reproduce it, recreate it. A ninth-century version of Iceland that is as real and immersive as possible and this is the approach we’re taking with everything in Hellblade, everything should be based on something real, whether it’s a sound, the trickle of a stream, the sounds of the forest, the lighting, the clouds, the landscape satellite data, all of these things we’re developing.”
That being said it is possible that Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II could be an open-world game, given that the plot revolves around Senua taking a journey across Iceland, but Ninja Theory might want it to be more linear for narrative purposes, similar to the first game.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II Minimum and Recommended Requirements
Given how amazing Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II looks, it could take one of the best gaming laptops to run well. But, if we look at what the initial Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice requirements were, we ‘re going to get an idea of the components that you’re likely to need.
Sadly, Hellblade: Senua ‘s Sacrifice does not currently have a recommended specs list, but rather has a set of minimum requirements: Windows 7, Intel Core i5 3570 K or AMD FX-8350 CPU, 8 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2 GB or AMD Radeon R9 280X 3 GB GPU, DirectX Version 11 and 30 GB of available space.
Considering Hellblade: Senua ‘s Sacrifice can run on the Nintendo Switch, we imagine that Ninja Theory will also optimize Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II to run on low-end systems.
The very design and development behind Senua’s Saga itself is as captivating and intriguing as its own story, which should tell a lot about their commitment to this upcoming project.
Much like their first game, for which the team actually met and learned mental psychosis through neuroscientists to bring life and awareness to this very mental trauma that has rarely been touched in gaming, this next title will only push those limits even further.