Xbox showed off Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II during the Xbox Developer Direct event, giving us an in-depth look at the game. The title is coming May 21.
The first Hellblade came out in 2017 and it was my favorite game of the year. Since then, Xbox acquired the developer, Ninja Theory. Dom Matthews, head of the studio, disclosed that the game is coming on the Xbox Series X/S, PC, cloud and Xbox Game Pass on May 21.
Matthews said the game once again takes a realistic view of Senua’s psychosis, where she sees things that may not really be there, and consulted with Paul Fletcher, a professor and clinical consultant. The team is remaking the combat system so that every fight seems unique, and you won’t feel like you’re engaging in the same battle over and over — something that happened with the first game.
Matthews said the team in Cambridge, United Kingdom, is in its final months of development on Senua’s Saga.
“The team is working on to bring you an unforgettable journey,” he said.
It is a world where you battle for survival. The aim is for high fidelity, immersion and a shorter narrative experience.
Senua wants to stop the Vikings, but her quest has altered and she has grown since the first Hellblade.
“She’s made peace with her past and is no longer in such fear of her visions and voices,” Matthews said. “While the Furies are still a constant companion, she encounters new people a lot of the way, some of which will value her perspective, and others will reject it.”
The game is set in the 10th century, where the Vikings have invaded Iceland and Senua helps engage with the resistance as well as her own personal demons. The team also went to Iceland to capture the landscape and the visuals look pretty vast and realistic.
The writers are trying to be as faithful to history as they can up to a point, establishing a solid framework and then building more surreal elements on top of it. Senua has to face up to giants who have plunged the lands into chaos. She will make new enemies, and also new allies who will come to see her unique perspective as a beacon of hope. And she’ll discover along with us how this viewpoint can have its advantages.
The Celtic warrior still experiences psychosis, seeing things that other people don’t, hearing voices, having unique beliefs about the world around her.
The game uses the Unreal Engine 5 platform.
Melina Juergens, who plays Senua, showed off mocap scenes where she mimics the behavior of Senua for the artists to capture and modify. Juergens played the original Senua and is diving into the role again. I like how this is turning out and am very interested in seeing the final result.
The new combat will feel different from the first game. It’s not superhero fighting, but brutal fighting for survival.
“We want the player to feel her struggle. In every step of our journey,” the devs said. “The players always feel like they just scraped through, just survived.
The voices in Senua’s head will come to life through binaural audio, which provides a good representation of this type of auditory hallucination.
“As we focus on immersion, binaural audio is perfect for these because, through headphones, you surround yourself in a three-dimensional space,” Juergens said.
The music will include heavy metal music and original work. The game will sell for $50, and you can wishlist it here or preinstall it on Xbox Game Pass.
GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.