Ever since Ninja Theory and Xbox first unveiled Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga, the gaming community has been holding its breath. One of the biggest surprise-release hits, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, was a breath of fresh air.
For one, Ninja Theory proved that they are capable of exceptionally well-made AAA-level games without the backing of a publisher. Hellblade was quickly slotted into the "AAA Indie" category.
After major success with games like Heavenly Sword and the majorly misunderstood but excellent Devil May Cry, Hellblade was a departure to say the least - both mechanically and in terms of storytelling.
While Ninja Theory successfully earned a ton of goodwill with the first game, there are plenty of reasons why the community should be excited for Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.
Hellblade 2 Senua's Saga: Part-game, part-statement
One of the conversations surrounding the original Hellblade regarding mental health and the stigma attached to it. Players experienced the game through Senua, a Pict warrior, who journeys into Hellheim to recover the soul of her lost lover.
Players dive deep into Senua's troubled psyche, and her battle with psychosis subjects her to voices in her head or "furies" that make her question every bit of her reality.
Hellblade was a deeply immersive game that encouraged more positive conversations around mental health. Even with how significant the game was for the industry, being a major indie title in AAA level production, it was its sensitivity towards mental health that also made it so special.
After the release of Hellblade, Ninja Theory was then acquired by Xbox and Microsoft, which meant Hellblade could just be a first-party exclusive. This is an absolute shocker, since the original game was timed-exclusive for the PS4.
Xbox steps up their game in terms of story-driven, single-player experiences
Hellblade 2:Senua's Saga is reportedly being developed exclusively for the Xbox and PC, which is quite monumental. As a brand, PlayStation pretty much runs the show when it comes to narrative-driven, single-player games. While Xbox has typically always favored the "Games as a service" model.
That kind of branding has become increasingly strong with the introduction of services like the Xbox Game Pass. Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga could just be the outlier and drive players looking for strong, story-driven, single-player games towards the console or Game Pass. This could go a long way towards establishing a new identity for Xbox.
So far, the game doesn't have a release date or a gameplay trailer, but fans are hoping E3 2021 will be where Ninja Theory finally reveals its release date.
The overall presentation of Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga
The original Hellblade proved that video games, as a medium for storytelling, have so much more room to evolve.
The game's sound design creates an immersive experience which few other games match up to. Through innovative gameplay, presentation, and masterful imagery, Hellblade is about one of the most unique experiences one can have in gaming.
The sequel has a lot going for it as well when it comes to presentation. Being backed by Xbox certainly means a bigger budget, which would mean a significant rise in production value.
So far, that seems to be the case in the sequel. The first trailer, which ranks very high among the very best cinematic game trailers of all-time, floored fans with its rather aggressive presentation.
Fans of experimental folk music recognized the song in the trailer to be Heilung, an innovative band that classifies themselves their music as "Amplified History." Their music is largely inspired by Germanic ruinic inscriptions of the Viking Age.
With Hellblade's story deeply rooted in Viking and Celtic culture, Heilung is just about the best band one could've picked to go with the game. It was then briefly announced that Heilung would indeed be providing the original score for Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.