Hellblade 2 will ‘push the boundaries’ of facial animation

Ninja Theory surprised us all with a sneak peek of the upcoming Hellblade 2. With a look into Unreal Engine 5, it is set to “push the boundaries.” 

At the GDC 2023, Ninja Theory released a short clip featuring Senua who we know from Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice. However, six years after the prequel, Senua is looking incredibly realistic thanks to the team’s work with Unreal Engine 5. 

Pushing the boundaries for Hellblade 2

As a result, the studio says they will “push the boundaries” of facial animation. This news comes after they have been quite secretive about the Hellblade 2 sequel. Up until now, we knew the game would be coming to PC and Xbox Series X/S but that’s about it.

The showcase which is around one minute long features Senua played by the amazing Melina Juergen. The real-time in-engine demo begins with a capture of Juergen’s face before switching halfway to Senua’s. With this level of detail, it’s hard to see where the two separate. 

Senua delivers a spine-tingling monologue to the camera before the screen bursts into flames. It finally ends with Juergen in her motion capture rig asking “Good? You like it?” We definitely did.

Senua’s development

The Unreal Engine 5 and the MetaHuman framework provide an astonishing amount of detail on the character’s face. This is sure to add even more to Senua’s character, especially as a lot of her battles with psychosis are seen in her animations. 

Additionally, the studio has said that they aim to put most of their focus on the lead character’s performance as well as raising the overall bar for the sequel. With only this short demo, we can already see they have stuck to their word.

Screenshot from the Hellblade 2 trailer
Credit: Ninja Theory

Any more news about Hellblade 2?

Unfortunately not. This has been the first teaser since the original trailer was released in 2019. Ninja Theory have not commented on any other part of the sequel – such as a release date. If we had to guess, we would say sometime in 2024 so you have enough time to play the prequel if you haven’t already.

However, head of Xbox Phil Spencer recently revealed he took a trip to the studio to “review” the sequel. He left feeling “inspired” by what he saw which made fans even more excited to see what Ninja Theory has up their sleeves.

Are you excited for Hellblade 2? Let us know across our social media platforms.