Hellblade 2: Everything you need to know about Senua's Saga

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 is landing on Xbox and PC on May 21, and to say that we're excited for it is an understatement. The Norse mythos-fuelled action epic will see the return of our unlikely heroine in a sequel that's being built in Unreal Engine 5 for maximum dark fantasy atmospherics. Developer Ninja Theory revealed its follow-up to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice back in 2019, steadily revealing more and more about what we can expect from Hellblade 2, and it's looking every bit the harrowing action-adventure we've been waiting to see.

We finally have firmer details on Hellblade 2, including a release date and insight into the revitalized combat, puzzle, and exploration systems that Ninja Theory is pushing for. There's a good reason Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 is one of the most anticipated upcoming Xbox Series X games for 2024, so let's walk you through everything there is to know about Ninja Theory's latest.

Recent updates

This guide to Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 was updated on April 22, adding our recent Big Preview series covering everything Hellblade 2.

Hellblade 2 news

Hellblade 2 release date

Hellblade 2

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

The Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 release date has been set for May 21, 2024. The news was confirmed at the Xbox Developer Direct on January 18 following a brand new look at the game in action, where developer Ninja Theory revealed some of the incredible results it's getting out of its first Unreal Engine 5 project. 

Hellblade 2 platforms

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

In the Hellblade 2 gameplay trailer released in 2021, Ninja Theory confirmed that the game will launch on Xbox Series X, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, meaning there is potential for Xbox One owners to be able to play Hellblade 2 via the Cloud Gaming service. As with all Xbox Game Studios releases, this also means that Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 will be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one. 

Will Hellblade 2 be on PS5?

No, Hellblade 2 is not coming to PS5. The first game was originally released on PC and PlayStation 4 in 2017, with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions arriving later down the line. So it's reasonable to ask: will Hellblade 2 be on PS5? 

Sadly, for you PlayStation owners out there, the answer is no. Back at E3 2018, Microsoft announced a series of four studio acquisitions – Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, and crucially, Ninja Theory. As a result, this means Hellblade 2 will be exclusive to Xbox Series X and PC

Hellblade 2 trailer

The most recent Hellblade 2 trailer was screened at The Game Awards 2023, and though it didn't give us a release date, we have some all-new footage to sink our teeth into. 

The trailer shows Senua traversing a dark fantasy world, engaging in melee combat with enemies, dodging fire attacks, and slinking through myriad creepy tunnels. The gorgeous graphics are a testament to the strength of Unreal Engine, and it's sure to look even better thanks to the Xbox Series X.

Back at The Game Awards 2021, Ninja Theory delivered an extended six minute Hellblade 2 trailer. The footage shared is evocative and powerful, showing Senua leading a group attempting, and by all indications, failing to trap a giant. Equally breathtaking and horrifying, we see the plan to set fire and spear the hell out of the huge figure unravel, as it crawls towards Senua, pounding and chewing her group as it goes. We have the return of some familiar elements from Hellblade, most notably the whispered voices swirling around the inside of Senua's head, along with the sound of battle and fire, the audio is intensely effective. 

Hellblade 2 gameplay

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

In terms of Hellblade 2's gameplay, it's still a third-person action-adventure game like its predecessor. We know that Ninja Theory has reworked the combat in Hellblade 2, though what this actually means has yet to be clarified. This does sound promising, since for studio once known for creating fast-paced action games like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Devil May Cry, the first Hellblade was more subdued, with a greater focus on storytelling and inner-turmoil. 

While Hellblade 2 is sounded like an equally narrative-driven experience, Senua's more limited combat mechanics could be due an upgrade. In an interview with Vandal, combat designer Juan Fernández explained that Ninja Theory was 'raising the bar" with respect to Hellblade 2 combat. He noted that development of the first game was completed by fewer than 20 people, and that Ninja Theory has drastically scaled up its production efforts for the sequel – as a result, we should expect the Hellblade 2 combat to have more depth, and for enemies to be more varied. 

Hellblade 2 story

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Ninja Theory has spilled more on Hellblade 2's story in a recent Xbox Developer Direct, describing Senua as a "beacon of hope" in the sequel. Having made peace with her personal demons at the end of Hellblade 1, Hellblade 2 sees a newly self-assured Senua setting out to confront the Viking marauders on their home turf: Iceland. She no longer sees her psychological condition as a curse, but as an ally in the battle for vengeance.

Hellblade 1 introduced us to a very different Senua, armed with the skull of her lover Dillon, desperate to reclaim his soul from Helheim and the goddess Hela. Through the course of the game we are shown flashes of back story, the relationships with Senua's parents, her psychological struggles, as well as her village being destroyed by Norse raiders. At the climax we see Senua accepting her condition, embracing who she is; this positions us for her adventures in Hellblade 2, where she is able to take the fight outside her own mind by working with the voices in her head instead of against them.

Hellblade 2 Unreal Engine 5

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Very excitingly for Xbox Series X owners is the fact that Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 is one of the first games for the consoles being built in Unreal Engine 5. It's another indicator that Ninja Theory aren't holding anything back for this sequel, and are going all out to create an adventure worthy of the new generation. Clearing up any doubts about its ambition, Ninja Theory founder Tameem Antoniades said that Hellblade 2 will make its 2017 predecessor "look like an indie game". 

That's a bold claim, but everything we have seen of Hellblade 2 in Unreal Engine 5 has been impressive. The landscapes look deeply detailed, the lighting and audio design is phenomenal, and the work Ninja Theory is doing with Senua's updated character model, as it strides closer to photorealism, is worth paying attention to.

Hellblade 2 development

Hellblade 2

(Image credit: Ninja Theory)

Ninja theory has been transparent about the Hellblade 2 development cycle, which it is working on alongside the experimental Project Mara. From providing updates throughout its production to giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at its development – it's why we understand if it takes Ninja Theory a little bit of time to deliver this one. 

In the developer update shared in June 2021, Ninja Theory mentioned that it was "building real costumes and scanning them in''. And then, later in September 2021, the studio shared a tweet detailing its photogrammetry efforts – showing those costumes being set aflame! Attention to detail like this, scanning in burnt and damaged costumes indicate that this is all going to look very authentic. 

Senua herself, actor Melina Juergens has given us even more detail, in a video of behind-the-scenes footage showing the grueling and intense combat training she's been undergoing. In the original, the combat was relatively simple, so this is an encouraging sign that we're getting an expanded and elaborate combat system. Hellblade 2 has been confirmed to be set in the stunning landscape of Iceland, and to create the required clouds to accompany those dramatic landscapes, Ninja Theory gave us a glimpse of the cloud forming technology they're using to provide that foreboding atmosphere. 

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Check out the coolest upcoming Xbox exclusives to keep on your radar in 2024, from Hellblade 2 to 33 Immortals.

Kevin Scully is a freelance writer and illustrator, twitch affiliate who plays all kinds of video games, and can often be found here at GamesRadar+ digging into upcoming releases.

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