Ninja Theory's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was one of 2017's biggest surprises and a genuinely spine-chilling experience, with its terrific performances and an engaging storyline. The game quickly amassed a great fanbase, and expectations ran high for a sequel.
The Game Awards 2019 featured the official announcement trailer for the next game in the series, titled Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. Since then, the developer hasn't released anything substantial regarding the game, except a cinematic screenshot very recently, which has proven to be a matter of concern.
While much isn't known about the development status of Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, there are a few tidbits of information out that can help make an educated guess on the matter, with the first being the release date. The game wasn't supposed to come out as a launch title for the Xbox Series X, although its revel alongside the console may have seemingly suggested otherwise. Hence, the time frame for it suggests that it is still being actively developed, and fans may have a decent wait.
However, it is also known that the project is now in full production. Ninja Theory tweeted last month that its would be shifting most of its workforce towards completing Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, Project Mara, and the Insight Project. Hence, its multiplayer game Bleeding Edge wouldn't receive any content updates going forward.
While much isn't known about the scope of Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, it's clearly getting more resources, and given that the aforementioned trailer was rendered in-engine, a significant amount of work has likely been done. In other words, there's no indication that there's any trouble with development which ironically makes the silence all the stranger.
Despite a bunch of convincing information, the silence regarding the game can be concerning. Why is it that after so much time in development, all that the team has decided to shell out to its fans is a single cinematic screenshot of Hellblade 2? The answer can only be speculative in nature. With the first game, the team decided to start the Insight Project, which is a collaborative effort with neuroscience specialists to study and efficiently depict mental illness in a video game.
The second game is expected to be larger in scope, and thus, could have a lot more elements at play rather than what fans were treated to in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. It is expected that to keep the process of this showcase more efficient and life-like, the Insight Project will need a lot more work. While fans have a little bit of information regarding the game's development itself, almost nothing is known about what the Insight Project beholds, how much of it needs to be developed, and how much the game's development relies on this project.
This seems like best-case scenario; on the other hand, this silence can be taken to many any number of things. Fans can't really be certain of much, which is in and of itself cause for concern. It's not often that games go a full year with such little info, and while COVID-19 likely played its role, it may be best if a little bit more is shown of the next year, even if it turns out to be a 2022 title.
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