Microsoft shares a behind-the-scenes look at 'Senua's Saga: Hellbade II' development

The game has yet to enter full production.

Ninja Theory

It's been nearly two years since Microsoft announced Senua's Saga: Hellblade II at The Game Awards in late 2019. Since then, we've heard little about the sequel to one of 2017's best games. But during the company's second E3 showcase, Microsoft shared an update on the title — only it wasn't your usual progress report.

Instead of a new cinematic trailer or gameplay reveal, Ninja Theory founder Tameem Antoniades detailed some of the work that's been going into the game before it enters full production. For example, he said the studio has sent out art and audio teams to photograph and capture Iceland. Alongside satellite imagery, Ninja Theory plans to use those materials to recreate "large sways" of the country's landscape within the game.

The studio has also been making actual costumes that it's been scanning into the Unreal engine. To make combat "extra real and brutal, actor Melina Juergens has been training for the past two years and "all of our animators have undergone combat training." That's not something you expect your average game developer to say, but then this is Tameem Antoniades we're talking about.

What the montage makes clear is that the scope of Hellblade II will be different from its predecessor. A team of about 20 people made the first game, with Ninja Theory styling the project as an independent AAA game. The work Antoniades described makes Hellblade II sound like a much more ambitious project.