Details on Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II have been slim ever since developer Ninja Theory revealed the sequel at the 2019 Game Awards, but Senua actress Melina Juergens has begun posting behind-the-scenes videos detailing how she began preparing and training for the follow-up game. Jeurgens began a new series on YouTube titled Diary of a Digital Hooman, and in the second episode she discussed how Ninja Theory wanted Hellblade II to be more realistic than the first game.
“The director, Tameem Antoniades, and I were discussing that maybe I should learn to do all of my own stunts and learn how to sword fight. Be like a proper warrior. For starters, we did some research on sword fighting and different courses. We stumbled across this screen combat academy near London and it sounded really good. We contacted them and booked me in for one of their courses, and I was in for a shock.”
According to Jeurgens, her training resulted in her learning different fighting styles and systems. This was made even more challenging for her, as she suffers from a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia and had to slowly work on increasing her fitness to get into fighting shape. Along with her partner, who makes a living as a professional fighter, Jeurgens endured and also picked up several MMA techniques that she began incorporating into her weapons training. Jeurgens is only a part-time actress and works as the video editor for Ninja Theory between all of her training.
It’s a fascinating look into the creative process that goes into the creation and the evolution of a video game character, made even more real by the game’s focus on respectfully exploring mental illness in order to craft a unique story. Even the character animators were given combat training so that they could be used as stand-in enemy characters for Jeurgens to accurately react to.
While it has no release date just yet, Hellblade 2 will arrive on Xbox Series X|S and PC and Ninja Theory’s team has doubled in size since it was acquired by Microsoft. Until then you can gaze at this solitary image from the game that shows Senua as part of a “cinematic lighting experiment.”
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