Developer Ninja Theory appeared on Microsoft’s Xbox Developer Direct stream to discuss its sequel, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. The big news from the footage is the game finally has a release date: May 21. Microsoft also confirmed that the game will be a digital-only release.
The developer revealed it is in the final months of development and outlined some elements to expect from Hellblade II. Senua is not in as much fear of her voices as she was in the original game, but she is still a Celtic warrior who struggles with psychosis. Like the first game, Ninja Theory is working with professionals like Cambridge’s Paul Fletcher to ensure Senua represents an accurate version of someone struggling with complex mental issues.
There are a number of new characters she will interact with. Some will appreciate her perspective and consider her an ally, but others will reject her and consider her an enemy. Like the original game, Hellblade II takes 10th century Iceland (which the developer visited for research), and she is fighting against Vikings who are enslaving her people. Ninja Theory is focused on making the game historically accurate but with an obvious layer of fantasy on top.
Combat has been overhauled for the sequel, with the game focusing on the fact that Senua is not a superhero. The goal of the combat is to make players feel like they barely survived each encounter, and the gameplay footage of the combat looks brutal.
Ninja Theory ended the stream saying it hopes to “craft life-changing art with game-changing tech.” We will determine if the game lives up to that lofty goal on May 21.