Senua’s Saga isn’t much of a saga (Picture: Ninja Theory/Xbox)
Developer Ninja Theory has confirmed Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will not have a physical release when it launches in May.
With the news that UK retailer GAME is set to end trade-ins in the coming months, the slow decline of physical games feels like it’s suddenly speeding up.
One sign is how some studios are skipping physical launches altogether, to cut costs, such as Alan Wake 2 and, at least at first, Baldur’s Gate 3.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is the next major release which will only be released digitally when it launches on May 21, 2024, priced at $49.99 (a UK price is yet to be confirmed).
The original Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was also a digital-only release, back in 2017, but that was when developer Ninja Theory was still an indie studio and they published it themselves – whereas now they’re owned by Microsoft. Although even then a physical edition arrived a year later.
The news was confirmed by developer Ninja Theory boss, Dom Matthews, in a blog post following Thursday’s Xbox Developer_ Direct. Along with the price, it was also revealed that the sequel will be roughly the same length as the first Hellblade, which spanned around eight hours.
Hellblade 2 is making a splash in 2024 (Picture: Ninja Theory/Microsoft)
‘Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will be a game crafted from the heart – a game similar in length to the first Hellblade, with a focused narrative, and sold digital-only at a price of $49.99 USD,’ Matthews wrote in the post.
Detailing what’s in store in the sequel, he added: ‘And you can once again expect to join Senua in understanding her world through perception puzzles led by her experiences of psychosis, in brutal and visceral combat and in traversal gameplay, this time across the harsh but beautiful landscapes of 10th Century Iceland.
‘Crucially, all these elements are intertwined in a unique visual and audio experience, where everything is in service of Senua’s story. So, you can expect more of the same, but this time with the support to push our ambitions for immersion, fidelity and richness far further than before.’
While shorter, focused games are always welcome, the sequel’s length is surprising considering it was originally announced back in 2019.
It’s unlikely that Ninja Theory would have been able to take this long with the game if they were still independent and it’s probable that Microsoft helped out with the graphics, especially as Hellblade 2 was the first game ever to be shown for the Xbox Series X when it was first revealed.
The prolonged development, however, may have led to increased expectations – perhaps unfairly compounded by the middling reception to recent Xbox exclusives Starfield and Redfall. We’ll have to see if Hellblade 2 can stick the landing when it arrives on Xbox Series X/S and PC on May 21, 2024.
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