Hellblade 2 Could Help Solve Xbox’s Biggest Problem
Senua is ready for the spotlight.
Xbox gamers are in the midst of a severe drought right now, due to the lack of big-budget exclusives on Microsoft’s console. While Game Pass continues to offer great indie titles and passion projects from developers, the tentpole titles that gamers expect from Xbox have been largely absent over the last two years. With Xbox gearing up for a showcase in June, one title that needs to take the spotlight is Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.
The latest AAA Xbox exclusive to release is Redfall, the vampire shooter from Dishonored developer Arkane Studios. Despite positive previews a few weeks back, reviews have shown the game to be an unfinished, buggy mess.
This compounds a problem that has been building over the last two years, since Halo Infinite launched at the end of 2021. People want to know where the massive exclusives are.
The obvious hope is that Starfield will be the game to deliver that experience in September, and we should get a hopefully extensive look at the game in June during the Starfield Direct. This puts a lot of pressure on one game, but even if Starfield does deliver the question that must be asked is what comes next?
While Xbox owns numerous games studios thanks to a string of acquisitions so many of them are caught up in projects that are rumored to be stuck in development hell. When was the last time we heard anything about Perfect Dark or Fable? The June 11 Xbox Showcase has to give people hope that there will be more to come. That is why it is time ror Senua’s Saga to take center stage.
Developed by Ninja Theory — the makers of the controversial but underrated Devil May Cry remake — Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a surprising marvel of a game that felt AAA despite being published independently by the studio itself. Hellblade follows the titular protagonist Senua on a journey through the nose underworld on a mission to save the soul of her dead lover and was praised for its realistic depiction of mental illness. Close to a year after releasing Hellblade, Ninja Theory was acquired by Microsoft and announced in 2019 that a sequel was in development.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II has been shown off in bits and pieces since its original 2019 announcement. A six-minute-long gameplay trailer was released at the end of 2021 showcasing a fight between Senua, her tribe, and a massive giant. More information hasn’t been shared about the game but it is a promising offering that Xbox has under its umbrella.
Xbox might be thinking the same thing, as a new ad for Game Pass has sparked theorizing that Hellblade II could be coming out this year. The short ad in question focuses on several games already released this year or those with release dates for the remainder of 2023. Amongst titles like Lies of P and Starfield is footage for Senua’s Saga.
While not as flashy as Halo or Starfield on the surface, Hellblade was very well-received and the sequel is set to be a gorgeous follow-up that could reach a massive audience now that Ninja Theory is owned by Microsoft. Releasing it in the back half of 2023 to supplement the exclusive lineup alongside Starfield is the perfect way to signal to Xbox gamers that prestige experiences are still a priority.