Ninja Theory’s sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice didn’t make an appearance at Microsoft’s Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase at E3 2021 for what sounds like a very good reason: The game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, appears to still be quite early in development, based on a new update from the developer.
Tameem Antoniades, “chief creative ninja” at Ninja Theory, said in a development update Thursday that the Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 team is currently “building a good chunky slice of the game before we then move into full production to build out the rest.”
Antoniades said that Ninja Theory “didn’t want to do a straight sequel — we wanted to do something extra special, and so we’re making our lives as difficult as possible in that pursuit.”
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will be set in ninth-century Iceland, Antoniades said, and to properly capture that setting, Ninja Theory has sent its “art and audio teams out there doing photography, photogrammetry, and combining it with satellite data to recreate large swathes of the landscape.”
“On the character front, we’re building real costumes [and] scanning them in,” Antoniades said. “We’re collaborating with Epic Games to bring you next-generation digital characters, [and] on the combat front, we want it to be extra real and brutal, so Melina [Juergens], our main actress, has been training for two years, and all of our animators have undergone combat training.”
Antoniades’ update concluded with “not a trailer, not a gameplay reveal, but montage of the kind of work we’ve been up to.”
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 was first announced in December 2019, at The Game Awards, as one of the first Xbox Series X games. The original Hellblade was released in 2017, and was praised for its narrative structure as well as the performance of Melina Juergens. That game told the story of Senua, a Pict warrior who travels to the Norse plane of Helheim.